May 18th, 1:00-5:00PM

The Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity invites you to our book launch event for “Vital and Valuable: The Relevance of HBCUs to American Life and Education,” by James V. Koch and Omari H. Swinton (Columbia University Press, 2023).

We will be joined by leaders and faculty from HBCU institutions and entities including: Howard University, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central, University of New Orleans, Spelman College, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, UNCF, and more. Among our discussants, we also look forward to welcoming Dr. Clarence D. Armbrister, President of Johnson C. Smith University.

Participants will gather at the Washington Duke Inn to hear various panel discussions regarding HBCU institutions, including considerations of their history and impact, assessment and performance of these institutions, and visions for their future.

About the book (on shelves now!):

“Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are a crucial element of higher education in the United States. As of 2021, there were more than 100 HBCUs, with a total enrollment of approximately 300,000 students. Many of the most famed figures in African American history attended HBCUs, and the alumni of these institutions have a strong track record of upward mobility and professional attainment. However, the value and contributions of HBCUs are too often overlooked and underappreciated.

In Vital and Valuable, two distinguished economists provide a groundbreaking analysis of HBCUs. James V. Koch and Omari H. Swinton give a balanced assessment of the performance of HBCUs, examining metrics such as admissions and enrollment trends, graduation and retention rates, administrative expenses, spending on intercollegiate athletics, and student debt. They emphasize the distinctive features that make HBCUs what they are, considering whom they serve and how, while contextualizing these institutions within the landscape of American higher education.

Based on this analysis, Koch and Swinton offer actionable policy recommendations that can help HBCUs build on their successes and address their weaknesses. They stress that empirical data on educational outcomes is essential to effective leadership of individual institutions as well as policy decisions that affect HBCUs. Vital and Valuable is essential reading for policy makers and experts in the field of higher education as well as a broader public interested in understanding the contributions of HBCUs.”