North Carolina Central University and five other prestigious institutions each have been awarded $20,000 grants from the Lumina Foundation to participate in Lumina’s Institutional Excellence for Black Male Student Success project. North Carolina Central University will use the grant to support its Centennial Scholars Program, an initiative designed to increase the retention and graduation rates of African-American male students.
Centennial Scholars is a comprehensive living-learning community whose goal is to produce skilled, knowledgeable African-American male citizens who understand the importance of academic readiness and community responsibility and can contribute to their own and society’s economic and social well-being, program officials said. The cohort program is intended to provide support and enrichment to selected incoming freshmen as they advance through their studies at NCCU. It was established in 2009 under the leadership of Dr. Kevin D. Rome, vice chancellor of student affairs and enrollment management.
Rome has set high expectations for NCCU’s program. “My goal is to have African-American males who can hold their own against any males coming from anywhere in the world,” he said in a recent interview.
The Lumina program is a two-year initiative aimed at improving the persistence, engagement and outcomes of black undergraduate men on their campuses. Other campuses that received the award include Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Illinois at Chicago and UCLA.