NASHVILLE, TN.—Thursday, June 16, 2016: Nashville-based advocacy initiative HBCUstory announces its partnership with the historic Paul Quinn College for its fourth annual HBCUstory Symposium on Oct. 31- Nov. 1, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. The two-day research and cultural symposium, annually convenes Historically Black College and University (HBCU) presidents, researchers, administrators, faculty members, students, and alumni from across the nation.

This year’s symposium, themed, “The Will + The Way: HBCUs Reaffirming Their Mission, Redefining Their Vision,” challenges HBCU stakeholders to tell the story of HBCU successes, to learn from their missteps, and to create new plans that serve as blueprints towards a rich, compelling future. Now represents a prime opportunity to refashion the place of HBCUs as leaders among the nation’s higher education landscape—given that our institutions can very well be academically competitive, culturally vibrant, and more fiscally solvent.

Offering open-access to academicians and practitioners, the symposium is the first of its kind for the nation’s HBCUs. The symposium’s collection of scholarly research and case studies outline the historic and contemporary value of HBCUs, and convenes expert voices in areas of history; information science; STEM; fundraising and development; partnerships and mergers, student persistence and retention; diversity and inclusion (LBGTQ, women studies); as well as athletics and wellness.

“Paul Quinn College’s transformation under the leadership of Dr. Michael J. Sorrell exemplifies what is possible when solvent, servant leadership leverages the power of an HBCU to positively impact its community environs and beyond,” explained convenor and HBCUstory executive editor Dr. Crystal A. deGregory. “This small, but mighty college is leading the way in building on tradition, and leveraging innovation to leave an indelible mark on the HBCU community.

“Bringing this year’s convening to the Quinnite Nation was natural choice,” she continued. “We’re excited about the opportunity to bring similarly-minded scholars to such a nurturing community at a time when the deployment and implementation of interesting new forward-reaching ideas are critical.”


The 2016 symposium will also feature the presentation of the Storyteller of the Year Legend and Storyteller of the Year Legacy awards, which recognize preservationists and architects of the HBCU experience. This year’s posthumous award recipients will include: Talladega College alumna and Shaw University Professor Emerita Vivian McCotta Merrick Sansom, former South Carolina State University president and Florida A&M University and Tuskegee University alumnus and White House Initiative on HBCUs Executive Director George Cooper, North Carolina A&T State University alumnus and former Jackson State University and Tennessee State University President James A. Hefner,  “First Lady of Grambling Football” and Leland College alumna Doris Mott Robinson, educator, civil rights activist and Tuskegee University alumna Amelia Boynton Robinson, psychiatrist, activist, author and Howard University College of Medicine alumna Francis Cress Welsing, Florida A&M University School of Business and Industry founder and Dean Sybil Mobley, civic activist, alumna, “First Fan” and First Lady of Xavier University Blanche Macdonald Francis, Paul Quinn College professor and Prairie View A&M University alumnus Weldon Judd Walton, master teacher and Clark College alumna Marva Collins, and civil rights activist, politician, professor, and Morehouse College alumnus and Julian Bond.

Expanded to two days to meet the growing demands of the HBCU community, the annual symposium has been held in Nashville, Tennessee and in Washington, D.C. Noted presenters include Spelman College and Bennett College for Women President Emerita Johnnetta B. Cole, Paul Quinn College President Micheal J. Sorrell, then-White House Initiative on HBCUs Deputy Director Ivory Toldson, HBCU Digest Founding Editor Jarrett L. Carter Sr., and Dr. Beverly Wright, executive director of Dillard University’s Deep South Center for Environmental Justice.

More information about the convening’s registration and call for papers is now open online via the HBCUstory’s new and expanded website at

For more information contact: Crystal A. deGregory, Ph.D., executive editor via telephone at 615.601.1866 or email at

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A historian and storyteller whose research interests include black higher education and college student activism, DR. CRYSTAL A. deGREGORY is a research fellow at Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Historic Preservation in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. A graduate of the historic Fisk, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee State universities, she is a passionate Historically Black College and University (HBCU) advocate, convener of the HBCUstory Symposium, and editor-in-chief of The Journal of HBCU Research + Culture. Follow her online at @HBCUstorian.