A Different World was one of the first portrayals of an HBCU in media that many people ever saw, and even today, it has a special place in the hearts of Black people across the country and beyond. RollingOut reports a story that is certain to play at the nostalgia people have for the show, as two of its stars, Kadeem Hardison and Jasmine Guy, made an appearance in Terrell, Texas, to celebrate with the community and students of Southwestern Christian College. However, their appearance at the small college is only one small part of an interesting story, reports RollingOut.
Guy and Hardison appeared to celebrate Southwestern Christian College’s becoming the grand prize winners of the inaugural Ford HBCU Drive2Greatness contest, which has awarded them with the Ultimate Homecoming Takeover experience worth $150,000. This is a pretty impressive feat, considering they only had 125 students and went up against some of the largest HBCUs in the country.
How did Southwestern Christian College manage to pull this off? “Like Ella Fitzgerald, we go down swinging,” says Dr. Ervin D. Seamster, Jr, the president of Southwestern Christian College, the only historically Black higher education institution associated with Churches of Christ. “First it was fun, a way to galvanize and bring people together who had given up on Southwestern Christian College. Many people have given up on HBCUs. We became very competitive.” Seamster is the senior minister for the 450-member Light of the World Church of Christ in Dallas and assumed the top post at the Terrell, Texas, college in January 2017.
This took place after eight weeks of viral voting from HBCUs. The Ford HBCU Drive2Greatness program kicked off in early September and challenged HBCU students, alumni and supporters to “Rep Your HBCU” on social media in hopes of winning one of four HBCU STEAM donations for their favorite school. CNBC reports that first place runner-up and $50,000 will be awarded to Concordia College Alabama in Selma, Alabama. Second-place winner Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will receive $25,000. Located in Houston, Texas Southern University will be awarded $15,000 as the third-place winner.
Seamster closes, “It was a positive experience. I want to thank Ford for even allowing our school, a small HBCU to participate and giving us a chance to win.”
Story by Ryan Velez