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Top 10 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Successes of 2011

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This post is co-authored with Nelson Bowman III, the director of development at Prairie View A&M University and co-author (with Marybeth Gasman) of A Guide to Fundraising at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: An All Campus Approach.

In honor of the New Year approaching, we thought we would put together a list of the Top 10 Black College Successes of the past year. There have been many, but these stand out in terms of innovation, boldness, and impact.

1. Johnson C. Smith University received a $35 million gift from the Duke Endowment. The gift supports scholarships, science-related project, and capital improvements on the campus. This gift is one of the largest gifts ever made to an HBCU and represents the largest gift to the institution from the Duke Endowment.

2. Philander Smith College hosted a 'Sex Week' focused on HIV/AIDS, STDs, sexual harassment, and relationships. With this event, the institution tackled issues that are sometimes glossed over on some HBCU campuses.

3. Xavier University of Louisiana ranked first nationally in the number of African American students earning undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry and physics, outpacing every other institution in the nation.

4. Paul Quinn College students participated in multiple student protests against the expansion of a landfill near their campus. They asked the question: "Why does the city want to expand a landfill near our campus, yet we can't get a grocery store within 6 miles?" The Paul Quinn students are role models for students everywhere.

5. Spelman College held the Audre Lourde Historically Black College and University Summit, which focused on LGBT issues within African-American and HBCU communities. The event was supported and embraced by Spelman's president Beverly Daniel Tatum and was attended by representatives from HBCUs across the nation. In holding this event, Spelman has led the way for more HBCUs to create supportive environments for LGBT students.

6. Morgan State University was awarded a $1.8 million federal grant to create an Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence. The institution is now offering degrees related to vital national security issues.

7. Claflin University experienced an increase of 24 percent in its leadership gifts ($1000+) with 203 donors giving more than $804,000. They are an HBCU fundraising role model.

8. Kentucky State University launched a partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which includes "courses and a curriculum designed to educate students about fair housing and how to advocate on behalf of others." It also includes internships and opportunities to help the federal government to monitor fair housing practices. This partnership complements the institution's deep commitment to civic engagement.

9. Cheyney University of Pennsylvania hosted the Summer Leadership Development Institute, which focused on empowering boys "to live in greatness as well-adjusted citizens, professionals, and contributors to their community." They are working hard to change the lives of African American boys and men.

10. Fayetteville State University opened a Center for Defense and Homeland Security in collaboration with the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the Office of Homeland Security. The Center focuses on supporting "mitigation and recovery of natural and man-made catastrophic disasters within the United States." Fayetteville State is preparing students to tackle our nation's toughest challenges.

As mentioned above, these are just a few of the successes of HBCUs; please feel free to add more in the comments section of this blog post.