Allen University’s Desmond Rowe, a senior social science major, was selected as a 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar, by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The 21-year old Edgefield, SC native is among 44 scholars representing 34 HBCUs from across the country.
The 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars program - the initiative’s highest student recognition - selects students based on their academic achievement, campus and civic involvement and entrepreneurial aspirations. Over a one-year term, the Competitiveness Scholars will learn and share proven and promising practices that support individual and institutional achievement, with the goal of strengthening prospects for career and life success.
“Learning that I was named a scholar was very surreal for me. I just really did not believe that a small-town country boy like me would receive such an honor,” said Rowe. “I am beyond grateful for this opportunity, and through this experience, I know that anything is possible,” he continued.
Rowe and his twin, Destinee, who also attends Allen, are first-generation college students. While his parents and older siblings did not have the opportunity to attend college, Rowe says his parents encouraged him and his sister to pursue college degrees. Their gentle nudges motivated him to excel academically. He maintains a 4.0 GPA and serves as the current state chapter president of the Pi Gamma Mu, the oldest and most prominent interdisciplinary social science honor society.
The social science major, whose concentration is in human services, plans to become a mental health counselor and eventually own and operate a youth mentoring center, an aspiration he hopes to achieve following completion of graduate school.
“As a 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar, I will have the opportunity to meet other students and professionals with whom I hope to build lasting relationships. I’m looking forward to these networking opportunities, as well as developing my leadership skills and gaining more knowledge about entrepreneurship,” said Rowe.
Rowe and his cohorts will convene during the 2019 National HBCU Week Conference, Sept. 8-11 in Washington, D.C. They will participate in workshops designed to strengthen their leadership, wealth creation and management and civic engagement. Emphasis will also focus on personal and professional development in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Rowe is one of three students from South Carolina HBCUs selected to participate, and he shares this recognition with 21 other scholars who represent UNCF members institutions.