Mayor Mike Purzycki proclaims September as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Month in Wilmington

Wilmington Launches Its Second Annual “Celebration of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Month” in September

Image courtesy of Delaware News, First State Update

Mayor Mike Purzycki and City staff and partners look to build on the 120 on-the-spot college acceptances and The Chemours Company’s commitment to $400,000 in scholarships from last year.

Mayor Mike Purzycki today proclaimed September as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Month in Wilmington. For the second year in a row, Wilmington will host a week-long series of events, from Sunday, September 16 through Saturday, September 22, to promote awareness among local students and their families about the importance of HBCUs.

The Mayor said the goal of HBCU Week, which features the annual College Fair and Financial Aid Seminar, is to engage the City’s HBCU alumni and to introduce high school juniors and seniors to the missions, proud legacies and future opportunities offered by these institutions of higher learning.

“Last year’s efforts to promote HBCUs to local students exceeded all expectations,” said Mayor Purzycki. “The HBCUs jumped at the chance to meet and engage with local students at the City’s College Fair, and the students themselves embraced the opportunity to attend college. Little did we know that the 2017 program would produce 120 on-the-spot college admissions and more than $400,000 in college scholarships. Now, we are ready to produce even more success stories in 2018 by sending more young people to college.”

The City is hoping to exceed last year’s inaugural HBCU Program, which brought more than 700 students to Wilmington so they could meet face-to-face with their choice of ten HBCU colleges and universities. 120 of those students received on-the-spot college acceptance. In addition, The Chemours Company, a global chemistry company headquartered in downtown Wilmington, committed $400,000 in scholarships for students pursuing STEM fields of study at HBCUs. Chemours awarded its first scholarship to Iyana Cain, a four-year $40,000 scholarship to study chemistry at Delaware State University. In addition, Joseph Lindsey received a full four-year scholarship to Lincoln University.

Wilmington’s 2018 HBCU commemoration will kick off with a church service at Bethel AME Church on Sunday, September 16 beginning at 10:30 a.m.  Other events include a Community Day, an HBCU Happy Hour, and a “My HBCU Experience” Panel Discussion at The Delaware Contemporary featuring Philadelphia 76er Robert Covington, who is a graduate of Tennessee State University, an HBCU. The highlight of the week will be the College Fair and Financial Aid Seminar at the Chase Center on the Riverfront on Friday, September 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participating HBCUs will again be offering scholarships as well as on-the-spot admission to qualifying students. The week will conclude on Saturday, September 22 with the first-ever Wilmington HBCU Battle of the Bands at Frawley Stadium at 3 p.m. (Doors open at 2 p.m.)

Thanks to the generosity of The Chemours Company, the Mayor’s Office will distribute $400,000 in scholarship money over the next few years to ten Wilmington students who attend the HBCU College Fair and commit to an HBCU to study science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

“At Chemours we believe that everyone should have access and the opportunity to engage in studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math,” said Chemours President and CEO, Mark Vergnano. “We call this idea STEM for All. These scholarships reflect our commitment to building a more inclusive, diverse, talented, and effective future workforce, not only for our company, but for the local industry right here in Wilmington.”

The Mayor also thanked New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer today for a $10,000 contribution from the County government on behalf of County residents to support the HBCU program.

Mayor Purzycki said HBCUs play a big role in the management of City government because seven members of his administration are HBCU graduates. They include the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Tanny Washington (Norfolk State University), Special Assistant to the Mayor, Ashley Christopher (Howard University), Cultural Affairs Assistant, Tonya Richardson (Hampton University), Community Referral Specialist, Earl Cooper (Morehouse College), Commissioner of the Department of Licenses and Inspections, Jeff Starkey (Hampton University), Director of the Department of Human Resources, Charlotte Barnes (Delaware State University) and Special Events Coordinator, Tiffany Christopher (Howard University).

The following is a summary of the 2018 HBCU events planned for September 16 through 22:
HBCU Church Service
Where: Bethel AME Church, 504 North Walnut St.
When: Sunday, September 16, 2018, from 10:30 a.m.  – 12:30 p.m.

* Community Day
Where: Eastside of Wilmington
When: Tuesday, September 18, 2018, from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

* HBCU Happy Hour
Where: Bull Bay Caribbean Cuisine, 900 North Orange Street
When: Wednesday, September 19, 2018, from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

* “My HBCU Experience” Panel Discussion
Where: The Delaware Contemporary, 200 South Madison Street
When: Thursday, September 20, 2018, from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

* City of Wilmington HBCU College Fair
Where: The Chase Center on the Riverfront, 815 Justison Street
When: Friday, September 21, 2018, from 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
*Schools attending thus far include Delaware State University, Bowie State University, Lincoln University, Coppin State University, Virginia State University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Norfolk State University, Cheyney University

* City of Wilmington HBCU Battle of the Bands
Where: Daniel S. Frawley Stadium, 801 Shipyard Drive
When: Saturday, September 22, 2018, from 3:00 p.m. (Doors open at 2 p.m.)
*Schools attending thus far include Delaware State University, Bowie State University, Lincoln University, and Hampton University

If you have questions about the Wilmington HBCU 2018 College Program, please contact Ashley Christopher at ( or 302.576.2110, or Earl Cooper at (  or 302.576.2133. For a complete schedule of events, visit:

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