Paul Quinn College hails latest academic victory

March 22, 2011
Dallas Morning News – by Norma Adams-Wade

The never-say-die mentality continues to prevail at Paul Quinn College, and the school rallies with every bit of good news that comes its way.

Paul Quinn was named “HBCU of the Year” Friday at the first gala honoring historically black colleges and universities.

The event at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C., was deemed a rousing success by those who attended. Planners say future ceremonies will be held at a different HBCU campus each year.

The awards recognize schools for their impact in leadership, research, community engagement, journalism, arts and athletics.

Paul Quinn president Michael Sorrell sent out an announcement via email and social media after learning of his school’s victory.

“Tonight, in what some are calling a stunning upset, our very own Paul Quinn College was tabbed … [for the honor],” he wrote. “The committee was particularly moved by our resiliency and tremendous success over the last 18 months.”

An HBCU Digest report on the ceremony said that “many in the audience had never heard of Paul Quinn College” but agreed after hearing Sorrell speak that the Dallas-based college deserved the award.

Paul Quinn was selected over Bowie State University, Florida A&M University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Jackson State University, St. Augustine’s College, Spelman College and Texas Southern University.

According to media reports, Sorrell discussed how Paul Quinn rallied after losing accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and how the school is challenging the ruling in court.

He also summarized other efforts by the college, including demolishing 14 abandoned eyesore buildings; improving fund-raising; restructuring core curricula, and converting a football field to an organic farm with support from PepsiCo Inc. and by reaching out to the nearby community, which is devoid of grocery stores.

“We decided at Paul Quinn College that we are going to stand up. We are going to fight back. We are going to represent our people,” the HBCU Digest quoted Sorrell as saying.

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