HBCU Love: I’m So Glad I Went to Howard U. What About You?

May 18, 2012  |  

There is something about attending a historically black college or university that isn’t always easily summed up in words.  There is something special, reverent that—if you are fortunate enough to have attended and graduated from one—you can’t always explain to someone who explored different higher education options.  Some people doubt the relevance of an “all black” school in a “real world” that is far from all black.  Some dismiss the caliber of education received at HBCUs as sub par.

For those who chose to attend an HBCU when they very easily could have chosen their pick of the litter, you know what others do not.  You know that there is no place that can embrace you, challenge you, love you, frustrate you, prepare you and propel you into destiny quite like the right HBCU.  You, like I, didn’t reserve your alma mater as a back up plan.  You surveyed your myriad options and decided that it, hands down, was the best choice.  When others tout their degrees from other institutions they deem more rigorous and acceptable, you smirk because—without taking anything from their accomplishment—you know the truth…and the truth never needs to be argued.  It stands alone.

There seems to be a kinship shared amongst graduates of historically black institutions.  If you’re out and you come across someone else who graduated from an HBCU, it’s as if there is an immediate commonality, even if he or she attended a different school.  “You went to Spelman?  Man, I went to Hampton.”  And so the conversation goes.  It’s almost like we’re all a part of this overarching fraternity.  Yet, at the same time there is unending rivalry as well.  It is understood that not all HBCUs are created equal.  As such, it is common for alumni to one up each other in a quest to solidify their institution of choice as the best.

I recently attended a fundraiser where another attendee asked what school I graduated from.  When I responded, he followed with a quick, “Ok, so you graduated from the second best HBCU that exists huh?”  Baffled, I asked which institution was considered the best.  He informed me that his alma mater, FAMU, was.  I chuckled because, again, the truth never needs to be argued.

You see, I am a proud graduate of Howard University, the place we alums affectionately refer to as the Mecca.  Like many HBCUs, Howard feels like home.  In fact, as you walk onto the hilly campus, you are greeted by a sign that literally says “Welcome Home.”  You are surrounded by a sea of beautiful blackness.  And while it may seem sometimes that it’s just about looking the part, Howard’s campus is filled with brilliantly beautiful minds.  As you walk through the hallways of Douglas Hall, you are reminded of legends who walked those very halls centuries earlier.  It is difficult to not be humbled by the sheer weight of the importance that such an institution, and other institutions like it, has played in the history of people of the African Diaspora.  It gives me great pride to be associated with such a legacy of excellence.

I recently saw a poster that said that the first African American Supreme Court Justice, African American U.S. Senator, female mayor of a major city, African American female lawyer, African American U.S. governor, African American U.S. Ambassador, African American General in the U.S. Army, and I could go on and on, were all graduates of Howard University.  That is what an HBCU education will get you, for those who were wondering.  To all of my fellow Bison, I send an “awwwww HU” your way.  And to my HBCU companions who didn’t choose Howard, I love you too.  But like Kanye, when he hopped on stage and interrupted Taylor Swift, I submit to you “No disrespect to your school, Howard is the best; in fact, it’s the standard.”  I kid.  Not really.

While I am clearly biased—I unabashedly, indubitably, and unequivocally herald Howard as the best—I am sure that if you are a graduate of a historically black institution that you have a similar pride in your alma mater.  Let’s talk about it.

Are you proud that you attend or have graduated from a historically black institution?  If so, what sets your school apart from the others?

Sheena Bryant is a writer and blogger in Chicago.  Follow her on twitter at @song_of_herself.

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  • Cole P

    ..singing glory Hallelujah, I’m so glad! …Howard = Home.

  • Liz J-Dunn

    I went to Howard and “I’m sooo proud… I went to Howard U!” I LOVE my school… and all HBCUs for that matter, and I also agree 100%… there is no experience that compares to the one you receive at an HBCU.

  • Pingback: Like You Went to Yale, But You Probably Went to Howard…HBCU Love: I’m So Glad I Went to Howard U. What About You? | songofherself()

  • ShiraSunshine

    Ahhh HU!!!! ūüėČ I freakin love my school! No one will ever understand the bond… Unless you’ve experienced it for yourself.

  • Delbocaray46

    Yeah, “YOU KNOW!”

  • HOWARD UNIVERSITY – Providing Leadership for America and the Global Community since 1867

  • Leytia

    HU! 2W! I’M SO GLAD! HOWARD UNIVERSITY 1997!

  • MorenitaSpelmanite

    Sorry Bisons, you need to check again. Spelman has been number 1 for some consecutive years now. #GoBackAndCheckTheRankings

  • S. Dale

    Aggie Pride!!!!! North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University!!!

  • Domreed25

    I loved my department but Howard was an awful experience.  I attended Morgan State for undergrad and it was excellent.  

  • BlueDevil09

    Dillard University…DU!!!!! Shout out to my Blue Devils!!….forever guide alma mater!!!

  • I go to MORGAN ¬†STATE UNIVERSITY …WE ARE THE BEARS WE DONT TAKE NO MESS GET MAD IN A MINUTE ….AND STOMP YOU IN YOUR CHEST!!! WHAT DID YOU SAY!!

  • Johnny3597

    It looks as though i am the first Morehouse man to post to this article‚ĶI must say it was a great article that highlighted a lot of the attributes which I cherished from my illustrious alma mater. Im sure my superman sisters would agree that you can’t beat SpelHouse as far as being the best or most known

    • Johnny3597

      superman sisters, not superman….spelcheck got me once again

  • Summer

    HU!!! I am a proud graduate of Howard University–The Mecca. So glad I attended this school and glad I was part of the HBCU experience. As the author wrote you can’t explain an HBCU experience. It is like no other. When I get people who try to discredit my HBCU education, because ¬†as they say, it is not like the real world, I laugh internally. They just don’t understand, will never understand and I feel bad that they don’t understand.¬†

  • POPUP2726

    i just want to see THEE I LOVE MY DEAR OLE COLLEGE HOME JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY!!

  • CA Pullen

    I am a proud graduate on NC Central University, Eagle Pride Amplified!¬† But I am proud of all the HBCUs¬† we, as HBCUs alumnni, I know people are going to get upset about it but sorry, we NEED to support these HBCUs with our money.¬† These institution need our financial support,now more than ever.¬† These schools can compete with mainstream universities with a quality education and graduate can compete with them for any jobs.¬† I have come across people that graduate from mainstream schools and are still seeking employment.¬† They go through the same stuff just like HBCUs and have problems just like us but the difference is you don’t always hear about it.¬† I support all HBCUs! ¬†

  • Chassidy

    My alma mater, South Carolina State University, is the only public HBCU in the state of South Carolina, and one of few universities in South Carolina where graduates of the Education program  are certified to teach in South Carolina (just because you graduate with a degree in education does not mean that you are certified to teach). I absolutely LOVE  the fact that I was able to attend a university that supported me and allowed me to travel and become exposed to different cultures. I will also be continuously grateful for my opportunities because my education was FREE. I  LOVE my HBCU!

  • FromUR2UB

    Fun post….kind of like reading gameday cheers.¬† My daughters went to an HBCU.¬† One graduated from there, while the other transferred to a state school to keep her tuition costs down, and graduated from there.¬† The HBCU was a good experience for¬†each of them.

  • I am so proud that I went to Howard University. Being white (yes, that
    is right- i am white)  and knowing I went to an HBCU and not just any
    HBCU but the best, really set standards, in my mind, that I can achieve
    just about anything. Prior to Howard I want to a 2 year college and to
    Arizona State and neither of them had the same kinship and comradery as
    attending Howard and when you meet a fellow Bison. I am truely thankful
    for the education and experience that Howard gave me, though frustrating
    at times, I dont think I would have gotten the same education and
    experiences at another university then I did at Howard.

  • FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL UNIVERSITY. That is all. ūüėȬ†

  • wveronica7

    Proud Tennessee State University grad!!! Yes the REAL TSU ūüėČ

  • Brwnation

    You pretty much hit the nail on the head, Bison! You know!!!!

  • Marsha N. Wilson Photography

    HHHHUUUUUU! YYOOOOUUUU KNNOOOWWW! THAT’S what sets my school apart. ;o) It is still surreal that I attended (and graduated from–c/o 2011) the illustrious Howard University. To be honest, I didn’t know probably MORE than half about Howard’s legacy until I attended the university. What I DID know was that I was supposed to attend Howard University and I went with my spirit. I’m so glad I did. There is nothing like an HBCU experience. I have attended other colleges and visited other colleges, and I can confidently say that they didn’t even measure up to Howard. Yes, the fashions, but the intellectual conversations that were held amongst the students on The Yard; holding public prayers & protests on campus and around D.C.; hosting powerful panel discussions; supporting our cohorts; conversing with some of the most dynamic professors this country has seen; jump roping, dancing, BUMPING music, laying out on the grass and chillin’ on the steps of Fine Arts (a proud Fine Arts student I am, indeed) for at least the first 2 weeks of spring… You have to live it to understand how extraordinarily life shifting and developing the encounter is. Ohhh, I’m so glad. . . . .

  • Yes HU!!!! <3

  • DoinMe

    LOVESSS my HBCUs! Nothing like the experience. It’s truly A Different World.

  • I’m a proud Alumni of The Unsinkable Albany State University! I wouldn’t trade my HBCU experience in for the world. Being apart of the band was a really big part of my college experience, shout out to MRSB! lol I had family members trying to push me to apply to UGA or Ga Tech but I always knew I wanted to attend an HBCU and I’m glad I chose to attend an HBCU. Even in our rivalry we still show love because no matter what school you went to, the colors or the mascot we all had something in common and it’s that we are all apart of the HBCU family.

  • Smilely

    Proud FAMUAN!! The rattlers will always Strike! Strike! and Strike again!!!:)

  • H.U. You Knoooow. I love my HBCU. This article was like a breath of fresh air to read. It is true, people underestimate HBCUs…they say we are no longer relevant. They just don’t know that it is one thing to attend a PWI and stand out as a token black person but try standing out in a group of brilliant individuals who look just like you. That my friends is a challenge. As a current Howard student, I know that I walk in the footprints of GIANTS and I strive everyday to contribute to Howard’s rich legacy.Much love to all my fellow Bison and HBCUs.¬†

  • HU_Alum1

    I’m so glad I went to Howard U! Howard is simply the Best, I wouldn’t trade my HBCU experience for anything else.

  • Lilfinch01

    I am a proud alumni of the REAL HU!! Howard University! I mother graduated from Hampton Institute!!! Hampton did not always have the university at the end! So can we just settle that already???  Naw much love to anyone who has attended and/or graduated from an HBCU!!!  

  • Skyy Daniels

    It’s all about The Howard Experience! I walked away with more than an education.I gained an even greater love and PRIDE for my culture. It broadened my scope in directions that I never knew existed. I ¬†learned to appreciate the struggle. On graduation day, the weight of all my LEGENDARY alum that came before me showed up on that YARD that day and I will forever smile extremely hard and poke out my chest when asked what school I attended. I AM A BISON BABY!!! HU!! You KNOW!! *Leadership For the Global Community*

  • Ladyc

    Hey Tuskegee University. Need I say more. Probably the most famous.

  • Moni love

    HOWARD the real HU you know . I wish I finished but decided to transfer else where and earned my Bachelors. HBCU’s are great I enjoyed my time at Howard. I met one of my best friends there it was a great experience

  • Tougaloo Eagle Queen

    Proud Tougalooian!!!!!

  • Ajokid

    Proud SPELMAN Alumna checking in!!!

  • Erika Fergerson

    Proud graduate of the GREAT Bethune – Cookman University!!!¬†Getting an HBCU education is something that I will cherish and hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.¬† Before college I mostly attended¬†predominantly white or hispanic schools, and¬†rarely we would speak about African-American history and the great accomplishments that our history¬†has made. I¬†fell in love with my Alma Mater when I visited the campus for the first time and I knew BCC; now BCU, (I was a part of the 2008¬† graduate class when the name was switched to¬†BCU)¬†was my college home.¬†LET’S GO WILDCATS!!!

  • Tjac33

    I am a PROUD GRADUATE of Bethune Cookman College….before it became a University!! I wouldn’t trade those memories for NOTHING best 4 years of my life!! B C C WOOP WOOP B C C WOOP WOOP

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    ¬†I resent having went to Howard. I wish that I could have started there as a freshman but having transferred in after graduating from a two year school was a bad move and waste of time. I spent an entire year there never getting a single class that I need always having to “try again next semester” because something was wrong on admin side and a dean who could have cared less about her students in CPNAHS. Howard was not WHAT you knew for me, it was WHO you and what were you letters. . .

    • Moni love

      you are right though i had some good and bad at Howard but that made me learn it is who you know because the real world is like that.

      • April

        Congrats grads and I am glad that you have school pride. I would have to say my experience is similiar to the one above. I went to Howard for a year but it was 11 years ago. The administration had and probably still has sh#t for brains. It is like pulling teeth for those people to help you. I had to call multiple times, I even had to go down there FROM NJ, for a refund check. I mean really after talking to their incompetent staff for at least 2 weeks about not receiving my check, I still had to go down there to get the check! My counselor acted like I was a bother. Everytime I walked in to the building I would want to say “Listen b#tc*h my money is paying for this sh^t^y school and your salary. You will help me and help me NOW!”Plus Howard is located in one of the WORST areas in DC. Howard could give less than a D^MN about their student’s safety. There are many local crackheads roaming the campus. I was attacked while there and ended up suing Howard for 1 million dolllars. Plus to be honest, blk people cannot help you. We would have employees, (not owners) of big name corporations come and talk to us (the students). Then at the end of the presentations they would say not to contact them because basically they had no pull in the company and can’t help anyone get anywhere. What the¬†Hell you talking to us for? If you can’t help us, go back to pushing papers. Overall, I would advise any and every one to avoid Howard or any blk school. They cannot help you and are bootleg.

        • Mls2698

          Wow! Did you win the case against them? I think I know the answer, but want to know anyway.

          • April

            yes i did. we settled for a high six figures.

    • Rochelle

      Congrats grads and I am glad that you have school pride. I would have to say my experience is similiar to the one above. I went to Howard for a year but it was 11 years ago. The administration had and probably still has s**t for brains. It is like pulling teeth for those people to help you. I had to call multiple times, I even had to go down there FROM NJ, for a refund check. I mean really after talking to their incompetent staff for at least 2 weeks about not receiving my check, I still had to go down there to get the check! My counselor acted like I was a bother. Everytime I walked in to the building I would want to say “Listen b***h my money is paying for this sh***y school and your salary. You will help me and help me NOW!”Plus Howard is located in one of the WORST areas in DC. Howard could give less than a DAMN about their student’s safety. There are many local crackheads roaming the campus. I was attacked while there and ended up suing Howard for 1 million dolllars. Plus to be honest, blk people cannot help you. We would have employees, (not owners) of big name corporations come and talk to us (the students). Then at the end of the presentations they would say not to contact them because basically they had no pull in the company and can’t help anyone get anywhere. What the f**k you talking to us for? If you can’t help us, go back to pushing papers. Overall, I would advise any and every one to avoid Howard or any blk school. They cannot help you and are bootleg.

    • ShiraSunshine

      Lol you have to know how to work the system!!! You should’ve asked somebody… I studied nursing in CPNAHS and I ALWAYS got the classes I needed.

      • Ms_Sunshine9898

         exactly. i said screw the system my final semester since it always came to who you knew. . .

  • LOVEHBCU

    Howard University. The Mecca. There is no better. #BISONPRIDE

  • Nibayaneloci86

    Hampton University. The Standard of Excellence!!! ūüôā

    HU ’08

  • Sheenareid96

    I am a proud graduate of THE 1st HBCU… Lincoln University… LU… LINCOLN PRIDE!!!!

    • Nibayaneloci86

      I thought the first was Wilberforce?? hmmmm ::sideeye:: lol

      • lupride85

        LINCOLN PRIDE …. founded in 1854.¬† Go Lions!!!¬†¬†I Love my alma mater.

    • Yup

       i thought the first was jackson state lol

  • DJ ShawnTouch

    Shout out to Morgan State University, Morganite Bears

  • Awwwwwwww HU!!!!

  • Alize31_99

    Proud¬†Graduate of Florida Memorial University. It truly was a great a experience.¬† I’m so happy of my Lions and Lioness go Orange White and BluEEEEEEEEEEE. Shout out to all the HBCUs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • aint scared of no bully

    Proud alumnus of THE Grambling State University & it WAS THE BEST EXPERIENCE!!!

  • Bhowell82

    I’m a proud graduate of the GREAT Bethune – Cookman University!! Being at an HBCU that has such a rich legacy like BCU taught me so much about me as an individual that I don’t think I would have learned if I would have gone to another type of school!! I bleed Maroon and Gold!!

  • Erika

    Proud Spelmanite!

    • Ms. Jay

      Hello! My fellow Spelman Sister!!

  • shelshel

    I wanted to go to a HBC but in Ohio there is only one which is Central State and I decided to stay at my University instead. It makes me sad to see a “pond” of black beauties. But I’m not going to leave just because I want to be around more black students. But I can imagine all the fun you guys/gals have at these HBC ūüôĀ¬† <~ lol

    • Skyy Daniels

      Wilberforce is there..

    • LolaB23

      I attended Central State University I have three degrees now… its a small school but a great school my best friends came from their¬†I dont understand how people know about central but do not know about wilberforce or vice versa¬†both schools¬†are literally across the street from each other both schools use to be one school

    • Lover1

       wilberforce is in ohio that is also anHBCU

  • HU!!!!! YOU KNOW!!!…..Howard that is. Very proud Senior Clinical Lab Science major from NY. But i love all my HBCU people…..even those from HIU….Hampton. ūüôā but its still all love

  • CAU PANTHER

    I loved going to an HBCU… Clark Atlanta University.

    • Snbrown622

      Awwww Yeah! CAU!  I love my alma mater!

  • Rpugh

    HU!!!! You KNOW!!!!

  • immaguest

    I went to the REAL HU – Hampton! Is that little beef still going on between Howard and Hampton? I’m proud of my Hamptonian¬†roots but I’m also proud that I had the opportunity to graduate from an HBCU, period. I think there is a kinship there because of the cultural activities that you may not find on non-HBCU campuses.
    Much love to Howard and all HBCUs!

    • S_jfort

      I’m sorry, you mean the Insitute? LOL, yes that little rivalry is still alive, but we love all our HBCU brethen, whether you attending the one, the only, the best and brightest Howard University or Hampton Institute!

      • Nibayaneloci86

        Hampton University u meant to say right???…all this inferior HU hate, im not feeling it lol

        • K_arose

          lol. ¬†Nope…I’m pretty sure Hampton was known as Institute before ever being known as ‘University’, so while it IS a Real HU, its definitely not the original…like Howard. ūüėČ

          • HUPride!

            Well…we always show it on the field who the real HU is! Hamptonian’s Stand UP!!

    • Amoniquek

      Check the dates hon; HOWARD is the REAL HU. As you were…

      • Nibayaneloci86

        We’re the best HU so its cool. And if dates are what you guys are basing this tired & old ‘real hu’ status upon….Hollins University was est in 1842 and Harvard was est in 1636 among probably a million other universities with initials that include H & U. So who exactly is the real HU? Hmmm? #thatisall ūüôā

        Hampton University: The Standard of Excellence!