Black Male Summit inspires excellence

We have to imbue a new set of goals for our institution, and the first among them is student success built upon an institution-wide commitment to inclusive excellence, said President Luis Proenza when he spoke on Friday about the Gold Standard at the Black Male Summit opening.

The Gold Standard is a campus-wide initiative, the foundation of which is built upon the success of UA students through collaborative and multidisciplinary efforts.


We have to imbue a new set of goals for our institution, and the first among them is student success built upon an institution-wide commitment to inclusive excellence, said President Luis Proenza when he spoke on Friday about the Gold Standard at the Black Male Summit opening.

The Gold Standard is a campus-wide initiative, the foundation of which is built upon the success of UA students through collaborative and multidisciplinary efforts.

Gold is used as a metaphor for excellence, but creating gold in this alchemic, academic setting requires more than a posse of scholars for its realization, but also all those with a stake in the African-American man’s future, which it seems is everyone.

The Black Male Summit this year attracted over 1,100 participants on Friday through Saturday. The event brought participants from as far away as California, gathering leaders, educators, healthcare professionals, college students and high school students, all in the pursuit of combating the quandary of the African-American male.

I have been able to talk to a lot of people in the hallways, sharing experiences, sharing best practices; just the synergy is really a remarkable thing, Henrique Alvim, coordinator of Academic Support Services at the Office of Multicultural Development, said.

Attendees of the summit included Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of California and Black Make Summit veteran Joseph White, entrepreneur and self-made millionaire Farrah Gray and CEO of Urban Prep Academies Tim King.

King, the opening speaker, talked about his institution, his personal experience and the needs of the African-American student. In King’s world, the discussion of where to go to graduate school was the norm for a child at the dinner table. It is in that world that King found that black males need swords and shields.

The sword is this high-quality education based on a rigorous curriculum that will allow students to fight intellectual battles, King said. The shield is that self-confidence, self-possession, and self-awareness that allows the student to defend himself in an unfriendly and hostile world. These swords and shields in my opinion are the essential ingredients for successfully educating a child — any child — but especially Black boys.

Sessions during the conference informed participants of the convoluted life of African-American males and offered remedies to problems in the population. Sessions included themes on romantic relationships, spirituality, the effects of media on the male identity and the impacts of university culture on the black male.

Participants also learned a myriad of skills, such as social and business etiquette, image management, educational techniques, peer mentor strategies and college success tips. Participants could also take part in health screenings sponsored by Summa Hospital. The summit also sponsored a screening of the movie Waiting for Superman and hosted bowling, billiards and video game tournaments.

We’re really excited that we’re going to see the fruits of our labor, and most importantly that we’re beginning to create a culture on this campus for African-American males to see themselves graduating, Fedearia Nicholson, director of the Office of Multicultural Development, said. 

The success of the Black Male Summit and the continued improvement is a testament to The University of Akron’s as a whole, senior Kevin Waklatsi said.


” #1.2158367:1777760029.jpg:Tim King:Tim King (pictured above), CEO of Urban Prep Academies, spoke at the Black Male Summit at The University of Akron this past weekend. King discussed the tools of success for African-American male students. UA President Luis Proenza opened the summit on Friday when he spoke about the Gold Standard.:Scott Horstman”