HAMPTON, Va. (October 16, 2018) - Two Hampton University students have been named the 2018 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The first Scholar is Jose Thomas, who is a senior, economics major, and leadership studies minor, and from the Commonwealth of Dominica and the second Scholar is Rachel Sutton, junior, and psychology major from Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
“Hampton University takes pride in honoring those who excel and achieve above and beyond what is expected of them. It is our hope that these students will use this recognition as proof that hard work and dedication truly pays off,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey. “As I always say to our students, ‘Dream No Small Dreams.’”
Through a combination of academic achievement, campus leadership and civic engagement, these students were selected among a very talented group. Thomas and Sutton will represent Hampton University and the Initiative as a scholar from one of the finest HBCUs in the country.
“To be recognized as a 2018 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar means validation of consistent hard work and discipline. I feel blessed to be honored and hope to inspire, specifically young women at HBCUs, to work towards their ambitions. I am from the Commonwealth of Dominica, a small island amidst the French Caribbean, and I was able to succeed at an HBCU,” said Thomas. “Recently, my island was devastated by Hurricane Maria and I was able to use this tragedy as motivation to continue being academically disciplined, heavily involved in my campus, and a morally sound leader.”
“It is truly an honor to be appointed as a 2018 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Being recognized as a 2018 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar means having the opportunity to represent my Home by the Sea, Hampton University,” said Sutton. “It also means that I have a larger platform to promote a serious focus on mental health in college students, promote the importance and advancement of HBCUs, and have the opportunity to grow overall as a leader.”
The purpose of this program is to recognize outstanding student leaders and empower them to be advocates for excellence and competitiveness. As an HBCU Competitiveness Scholar, students will:
- Receive public recognition from the U.S. Department of Education and the Initiative via Press Release;
- Be invited to attend the 2018 National HBCU Week Conference workshops designed to help them learn and adopt promising practices in areas such as leadership, professional development, HBCU competitiveness and workforce development;
- Be invited to participate in monthly webinars hosted by the Initiative, and regional events, where appropriate;
- Network with other scholars to showcase individual and/or collective talent across the HBCU community; and
- Receive an acknowledgment letter and or certificate signed by the Initiative’s Executive Director.
The 2018 National HBCU Week Conference took place September 16-19, 2018 in Washington, D.C.