But perhaps the biggest, and most consequential misnomer placed on HBCUs is the idea that they offer a lower quality, second-class education. Dr. Smith simply retorts, “I would beg to differ,” before laying out example after example of why the notion is incorrect, starting with the success rate of Langston’s various doctorate and graduate programs.
“We offer a Doctorate of physical therapy degree and when our students graduate, they have to pass the same national exam that students have to pass within predominantly white institutions,” noted Dr. Smith. “In that particular program, we have many years in a row of 100 percent passage on the first try for our students.”
Beyond the academics, it’s the life beyond the classroom that HBCU alumni tend to recount the most. The vibrant campus life, the brotherhood and sisterhood of Greek organizations along with the lifelong friendships created are all reasons why thousands of alumni return to HBCUs during the fall semester to attend homecoming. Langston’s event draws alumni from all over the country back to its campus to experience the festivities and celebrations of Black achievement.
“I love going back for homecoming … anytime I do go back, it’s just a great experience. It’s like being at home,” said White. “The atmosphere is electric, you see old friends, you meet new friends, old professors and you’re just constantly reminiscing, laughing and just thinking about the good old days.”