Guided Tour

Edward Waters College Seal

The Edward Waters College campus is set in Florida’s largest city, the city with the largest land area in the contiguous United States, Jacksonville, FL.  Privately operated, associated with African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and providing degrees in 8 academic programs, Edward Waters epitomizes the liberal arts college. Located in a residential neighborhood on both sides of a commercial street, Edward Waters College (EWC) distinguishes itself from its surroundings using both street signs and street art.

EWC Street Sign 20150515_121707

From the first few minutes on the campus it easy to tell that the people are warm and welcoming.  Staff from the admissions house to academics, from the FAME (Focused Academic Motivating Excellence) Program to billing, from the residence halls to the print shop, everyone seems happy to be at Edward Waters.  The tour guide was knowledgeable, personable, and took us around to every nook and cranny of the campus, including the spots where she used to hang out as an undergraduate; moreover, the guide introduced us to amazing administrators on the campus who were filled to the brim with HBCU love.  The hospitality and intimacy the campus offers is second to none, even as a tour group my small crew of three ended were constantly waving, laughing, and hugging almost everyone we passed on the campus.

It seems that it would be difficult not to have a good time at EWC. The yard is full of student organizations’ plots and barbecue grills, the campus center has a sprawling first floor with an indoor workout facility and smoothie shop, and the residence halls look accommodating and comfortable.

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A beautiful campus fountain sits between the Lee-Cousins Building housing the Office of the President and the Henry Y. Tookes Building, home of information technology.

EWC Fountain

In a seamless “Town and Gown” partnership between Edward Waters College and the city of Jacksonville, the EWC criminal justice department shares a building with a Sheriff’s Office substation. EWC has a long, positive history and relationship with law enforcement.  The Edward Waters College President Nathan Glover was Jacksonville’s first Black sheriff.  Leveraging President Glover’s expertise and connections, the school opened the joint Criminal Justice Center – Sheriff’s Office substation in 2013.  Criminal justice and forensic science students at EWC now a site on-campus where they may shadow, intern, and be recruited to work full-time in positions aligned with their education and career goals.

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Jacksonville is a large coastal city with plenty to do in town and great places to eat–I am partial to The Potter’s House Soul Food Bistro, shout out to our tour guide for the suggestion.  The Edward Waters College campus feels full of student activities and organizations, feels altogether warm and inviting…and it’s Florida, so it stays warm.  I like it. I love it. EWC.

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Southern University Lab School SU old library20141217_145127 Southern University Law Center Southern University Services Building

Baton Rouge, Louisiana home to the 512 acre, 6700+ students, Historically Black land-grant university Southern University. Advances in engineering and nursing academic programs, success in the Southwestern athletic conference, and hosting one of the few law schools of any HBCU have led to the sustainability of Southern University among the most well-known Black colleges.  Southern University and A&M College has traditionally been one of the largest Historically Black Colleges facilitating academic programs throughout the state of Louisiana that draw students mostly from its home parish of East Baton Rouge, and also from other states such as Texas, California, Georgia, Illinois, and Mississippi. Southern University Baton Rouge’s unique role as the main campus of a multiple university system, Southern is the only Historically Black university system in the United States, also adds to the institutions reputation and renown.  Contributing to Southern’s popularity among African American communities, the Human Jukebox and SU Dancing Dolls have wowed crowds and inspired budding performing artists together since 1969.

20141217_145950 Mural at Southern University

The Campus is full of art, from sculptures in the middle of campus and a jaguar guarding the library to the symbolic Red Stick overlooking the Mississippi River, culture is alive and well at Southern University.  In terms of culture and history, a interesting fact I learned driving to Southern is that part of the Mississippi River that borders the campus is called the Mulatto Bend.  If that was not enough, the area directly across the river from Southern University is an area deemed Free Negro Point.  Southern is a unique place indeed, one definitely worth a visit.

Southern University Benches Mulatto Bend Free Negro Point Crevasse


Southern University Law Center

Southern University student union

Southern University student union


Statue of mascot in front of library

Southern Basketball arena

Southern Basketball arena

SImmons College of Kentucky The Birthplace of Black Higher Education in KentuckyHistory of Simmons University, the predecessor of SCKEntrance to the Simmons College of Kentucky Library

Visit to Simmons College of Kentucky. Simmons caught my attention because it recently gained regional accreditation. As an accredited institution for higher learning, Simmons College of Kentucky students are now able to participate in federal financial aid programs and the institution itself may begin receiving special funding from the federal Strengthening Institutions initiative (Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965).

Simmons College of Kentucky (SCK) has a very intimate main campus with two multipurpose buildings located in the historic downtown district of Louisville Kentucky. According to our tour guide Darryl, also known as DJ, the college is set in the middle of our community. By our community,  DJ was referencing the public housing community directly across the street from the front of the campus. Simmons physically and operationally connects to Louisville’s Black neighborhoods through formal and informal means. From random cookouts outside of Parrish Hall to public viewings of the gallery of Simmons history, the community is frequently invited and seemingly always welcome on Simmons College’s campus.

After showing us around the campus, DJ told us about his experiences at Simmons and how he hopes to enhance his prison ministry after completing his degrees in religious studies. When he’s not giving campus tours or leading projects with the newly formed Student Government Association, DJ can be found telling people around west Louisville about the college on Kentucky and 7th Street, where they are doing good for the ‘hood.

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