Claflin Senior Creates Speaking Tour To Share His Passion and Support for HBCUs

Senior brings HBCU experience to NYC

Dennis Richmond (center in gray shirt)

Claflin University senior Dennis Richmond takes tremendous pride in where he is currently enrolled as well as other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Richmond’s passionate support for HBCUs was the catalyst for a project he started two years ago — The New York City HBCU Initiative. The project includes a speaking tour which provides Richmond an opportunity to express why HBCUs are important and relevant on the landscape of higher education.

The evolution of Richmond’s project began in December 2014 when he called several local high schools to ask if he could speak to seniors about the importance of college. After getting a positive response from students and administrators, one speech to a small group of high schoolers turned into a full-fledged volunteer organization. During his 2016–17 tour, Richmond has spoken to more than 1,000 students from New York City and communities in Westchester, N.Y. about scholarships, internships and the HBCU culture.

“I think we do a disservice when we don’t tell students about their college options,” said Richmond in an interview with The Journal News. “The students I speak to respond to me because my message is genuine. There’s no overhead, I don’t have a boss, and I’m not backed up by a corporation.”

Richmond, a native of Yonkers, N.Y., is majoring in African-American studies and education. He has received numerous scholarships as a result of his outstanding achievements in the classroom and in research since his arrival to Claflin. Included is a $25,000 UNCF scholarship in 2015 as a Target Rising Star. Richmond was honored at the 36th annual “UNCF: An Evening of Stars,” which aired on BET networks.

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