Category: Langston University

Aniyah Robinson poses next to an HBCU night t-shirt design

Broadcast journalism student earns prestigious Rhoden Fellowship

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Aniyah Robinson is the first Langston University student to become a Rhoden Fellow

by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

Earning the Andscape Rhoden Fellowship is a dream come true for Aniyah Robinson.

A broadcast journalism junior from Wichita, Kansas, Robinson has been interested in sports and sports media since elementary school, and now she has the opportunity to work with ESPN during a yearlong fellowship with Andscape.

“I’m looking forward to being in a space with like-minded individuals and just being able to do stuff that we love,” Robinson said. “And I’m really excited to be able to work with the other fellows this year.”

Andscape, part of the ESPN portfolio and formerly known as The Undefeated, is a Black-led media group dedicated to highlighting and uplifting Black stories. As part of the United Negro College Fund-Disney Corporate Scholars program, Andscape sponsors the Rhoden Fellowship.

Named for award-winning sportswriter William C. Rhoden, the Rhoden Fellowship is a prestigious one-year sports media program for aspiring journalists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The program includes a 10-week summer internship, various professional development opportunities and a $5,000 award.

Aniyah Robinson is Langston University’s first Rhoden Fellow, and her journey to get there has been one filled with hard work and determination.

Little Girl, Big Dream
A young Aniyah Robinson poses in front of NBA player cut-outs with her younger brother and sister.
Robinson (left) has dreamed of working in sports media since she was a child.

Robinson was in fourth grade the first time she told her grandmother, Kim Ross, that she was going to be on ESPN one day.

“I just kind of shoved it off when she was little because she was a kid,” Ross said. “We all thought, ‘Oh, you know, she’s just talking right now. She don’t know what she want to do.’

“Because when you’re a kid you don’t really know,” Ross reasoned. “You’re gonna have 15 different things you’re gonna wanna do by the time you graduate high school.”

But as Robinson got older, Ross realized this goal was more than just a passing childhood interest. Robinson was still talking about it when she was in sixth grade. And in seventh grade. And in eighth grade.

By the time Robinson was a sophomore in high school, Ross had realized working for ESPN really was Robinson’s dream job.

“Even her friends were like, ‘Uh, yeah, Aniyah is going to do this. She wants to do sports. She’s going to be on ESPN someday,’” Ross said. “It’s just something she’s always said, and she’s striving for it.”

Ross knew pursuing this dream would mean earning a college degree, and she always told Robinson to make her education a priority. So Robinson worked hard in high school to get accepted into her dream school: Prairie View A&M University.

Robinson was excited to attend Prairie View, but then her best friend, Kennadi, broke the news to her that she would not go to Texas with Robinson in the fall. Kennadi had been accepted to Langston University, the school where her mother and sisters had gone, and that’s where she wanted to go.

Faced with a choice between her dream school and her dream of going to school with her best friend, Robinson decided to give Dear Langston a chance.

“Langston was closer to home, it was less expensive, and it was just ideal,” Robinson said. “It’s still small, but it’s the perfect size to where we’re all just a big family. So here I am, third year!”

Putting in the Work

When Robinson came to Langston, one of her first classes was with Daniel Thompson, an instructor of communication and the advisor for the LU Gazette, Langston University’s student newspaper. Thomspon said as a freshman, Robinson was a very quiet student. She didn’t talk a lot in class, and he could tell she didn’t quite have her feet under her yet. But that soon changed.

Aniyah Robinson takes a selfie with her best friend Kennadi Graham
Robinson (right) ultimately decided to attend Langston University after her best friend, Kennadi Graham (left), decided to attend LU.

Robinson made a conscious effort to get more involved on campus her sophomore year, and that included getting involved with the student newspaper. She began writing for the Gazette and has risen to the role of managing editor. She will be the editor-in-chief in the fall.

The summer after her sophomore year, Robinson pursued an internship with KSN, a news station in Wichita, and she returned to Langston in the fall with confidence and motivation.

“Doing an internship that early on has such a massive impact on students,” Thompson said. “She came back just more confident and more capable.”

Robinson didn’t just get involved with already existing organizations, though. Langston students are often encouraged to find organizations that reflect their interests and goals, and if they cannot find one, they are encouraged to start one. Robinson did just that, and she said restarting the LU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) has been one of her most memorable achievements at Langston.

Robinson first learned about NABJ when members of the NABJ Tulsa chapter came to speak to one of her classes about the organization. Then one of her friends at the University of Missouri told her about how beneficial the organization had been for her. Robinson decided Langston students should have an opportunity to receive those benefits, too.

“I felt like that’s a good organization to bring to Langston,” Robinson said. “So I worked with Mr. Thompson a lot to get that started, and it’s just been amazing ever since.”

Langston had a chapter of NABJ years ago, but membership fizzled out and the chapter became defunct. Over the years, several students tried to restart the chapter, but all were unsuccessful. Robinson wouldn’t let that deter her, though.

She worked with Thompson to formulate a constitution, recruit students to be consistently involved in the organization, earn the approval of the regional director of NABJ, earn the support of the Tulsa chapter, and receive letters of recommendation from both the Tulsa chapter and regional director to NABJ’s national board.

“Aniyah was able to get the student support and the momentum, and she was diligent enough to push through this new chapter,” Thompson said. “Just the amount of effort and time it took to get that started back up, to get the constitution in order, to get all the documents in order, to set up the meeting with the national association, it was a lot of work.

“She really did that work, and she’s almost entirely responsible for NABJ coming back.”

Between writing for the Gazette, restarting NABJ and maintaining good grades in all her classes, Robinson still found time to pursue an on-campus internship. She became an intern in the Department of Athletics under the supervision of Sports Information Director Kyle Taylor.

A group photo with members of the NABJ
Robinson spent months working to restart the LU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

As an Athletics intern, Robinson helps with anything from game-day live streams to running the football video board. She is a quick learner who’s constantly looking to add skills to her repertoire, and Taylor said Robinson is one of the hardest working interns they have.

That’s why when Taylor received an inquiry for potential Rhoden Fellowship applicants, Robinson was one of the first people he thought of. After requesting more information about what the Fellowship was looking for, he was certain Robinson was the perfect candidate.

“Aniyah really kind of stuck out as a potential candidate because part of what they were looking for was a writing component,” Taylor said. “Aniyah has been a part of the Gazette for a while and she’s written quite a lot, so this seemed really up her alley.”

A Black Woman in Sports Media

ESPN Senior Editor and LU alumnus Eddie Maisonet knew that though Langston University had never had a Rhoden Fellow before, there were tons of students with incredible potential. That’s why he reached out to Director of Alumni Affairs Rachel Belmon and asked if there were any students who stood out as promising potential fellows. Belmon, in turn, reached out to Taylor, and Robinson began her journey to becoming Dear Langston’s first Rhoden Fellow.

Robinson worked with Taylor and Maisonet to prepare her application and prepare for her interview. After months of preparation and waiting, the 2024 UNCF Disney Corporate Scholars were announced in February. Robinson was one of six students selected for the Rhoden Fellowship, which this year happens to be an all-woman cohort.

“This is the first time they’ve had an all-woman cohort,” Robinson said. “So, all of us wanting to work in sports, being Black women, I feel like it’s gonna be just such an awesome experience.”

Robinson will spend the summer in Bristol, Connecticut, as an intern for Andscape. She will work with her fellow interns to cover sports as well as other news and cultural subjects, especially Black culture, and Andscape will take the fellows to various events and experiences as the opportunities arise.

Robinson has wanted to work in sports media since she was a child, and she always knew it would take a lot of hard work and dedication to be successful in such a male-dominated industry. She said her experiences at Langston University have shown her she is capable of anything, and she is excited to continue pursuing her dream of being a Black woman in sports media through the Rhoden Fellowship.

“I feel like often-times Black women are not taken seriously, especially in an industry like sports media,” Robinson said. “It’s really hard for us to move up in the rankings. But it’s really amazing that I’ve been able to see women in the sports industry, especially Black women, come together and support each other, and that is just an amazing thing to now be a part of.”

LU students smile and pose on the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball court after the "Careers in Sports Event with OKC Thunder."

Langston University students visit OKC Thunder headquarters

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LANGSTON, Okla. — In an exhilarating blend of education and sportsmanship, over 30 Langston University students had the exclusive opportunity to step into the fast-paced world of professional sports with a career-focused visit to the headquarters of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the freshly crowned No. 1 seed in the NBA’s Western Conference.

As the Thunder gears up for a promising playoff season, students from the School of Business, the Department of Communications, and the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation attended the “Careers in Sports Event with OKC Thunder.” This initiative is part of an ongoing effort to strengthen ties with leading organizations and open new horizons for students.

Professor Ralph Grayson, Chair of the Computer Science and Management Information Systems Departments, spearheaded the event and emphasized the importance of integrating practical experiences with academic learning.

“Our students are not just studying the theory; they are out here, experiencing real-world applications of what we teach,” Professor Grayson said.

LU students sit around a table smiling during the "Careers in Sports Event with OKC Thunder."
Langston University students get a rare opportunity to network with professionals in The Thunder organization.

During the visit, students participated in roundtable discussions, engaged in panel sessions, and enjoyed a comprehensive tour of the Thunder’s arena. They interacted with team executives who discussed various roles within the sports industry, from analytics and event management to health and player development.

Professor Carolyn Ross from the Department of Communications highlighted the transformative nature of the experience.

“Learning about media relations or sports marketing in a classroom is one thing,” Professor Ross said. “It’s another to see those roles in action during the high stakes of NBA playoffs.”

The event provided valuable professional insights and showcased the potential career paths available within the sports industry. Both professors intend to foster this budding relationship, ensuring continued student engagement and learning opportunities.

Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson headshot and the seal of the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents

Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson Appointed Langston University’s 17th President

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LANGSTON, Okla.The Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents announced the appointment of Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson as the seventeenth President of Langston University. Dr. Jackson’s selection follows an extensive eight-month national search that attracted several qualified candidates.

“Dr. Jackson’s appointment underscores her exceptional leadership and vision for our institution. During her tenure as Interim President, Dr. Jackson maintained continuity and stability and managed to build momentum. Her unwavering commitment to Langston’s mission and her ability to navigate critical transitions have been commendable. We are confident that under her guidance, Langston University will excel,” commented Board Chair Joe Hall.

Dr. Jackson served as Vice President for Academic Affairs prior to assuming the role of Interim President in July 2023. Prior to advancing to the Vice Presidency, she also served as the university’s Associate Vice President for Student Success. Dr. Jackson’s association with Langston University began in 2014 as Dean and Professor for the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

Before joining Langston University, she spent 11 years at Louisiana State University in Shreveport as a faculty member, graduate program director, and department chair. Before transitioning to higher education, Dr. Jackson worked as a high school English teacher, assistant principal, and principal in public education.

“I am honored to lead Langston University into its next chapter,” commented Dr. Jackson in response to her appointment. “I love this university and believe in its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Our mission must be focused on empowering students, celebrating student success, and contributing to the betterment of Oklahoma and beyond. Together, we will build upon Langston’s legacy and create a future where excellence knows no bounds.”

“As a proud graduate of Langston University, I wholeheartedly applaud the selection of Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson as our next President. Her admiration for our beloved institution and the excellent job she did as interim President have been truly remarkable. Dr. Jackson’s leadership embodies the spirit of Langston, and I am confident that she will continue to elevate our university to new heights,” commented Sherman Lewis, a distinguished Langston University alumnus and member of the Langston University Presidential Search Committee.

“Our search for a new president attracted an impressive pool of candidates, which is a testament to Langston University’s potential and the importance of its mission. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson on her selection as the next President of Langston University. We appreciate the support of the members of the search committee and the Langston University community as Dr. Jackson leads the university to new heights,” commented A&M Regent Billy Taylor, who chaired the Presidential Search Committee.

About Langston University: Founded in 1897, Langston University is a beacon of educational opportunity, social justice, and community impact. As Oklahoma’s only Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Langston continues to shape the lives of generations of students.

Amber Bradford-Nealy headshot

A New Generation of Healthcare Leaders Emerge from the Soil of Public Education

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OU Health Appoints Amber Nealy as Its First African American Chief Nursing Officer

by Deena V. Thomas, OKCPS Retired Educator and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Educational roots matter.

A child’s first teachers are their parents and grandparents, absorbing deep-rooted instruction in the home, followed by the fundamental academics of teaching and learning, cultivated and nurtured in common education. Lastly, the preparation process to enter the workforce is taught and mentored during the journey toward post-secondary educational attainment.

These pathways led Amber Bradford-Nealy to walk directly into executive nursing leadership, which she says is her God-given purpose.

Her purpose and His plan came to fruition. The University of Oklahoma (OU) Health named Amber Nealy, MSN, R.N., NE-BC, as the inaugural Chief Nursing Officer of Ambulatory and Cancer Services (CNO).

Nealy is the first black to hold this position of CNO at OU Health, earmarking a significant milestone in Black History within the Sooner State.

“In a quote for the organization, I was asked about diversity why it mattered to me, and why does it make a difference. Why does it matter whether or not we have a diverse workforce? I think it matters because Oklahoma City’s Eastside and Spencer community students and the next generation need to see people who look like them in places and spaces where they aspire to be. It is good to know they may have a similar background or upbringing as they have had, so then it lets them know what they aspire to be is not so far off,” Nealy said.

Since December 2020, Nealy served as Director of Nursing at OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center, infusing her knowledge, experience, and relationships, which propelled her into the CNO role.

Nealy has been with OU Health since 2008, starting as a Nurse Partner in the inpatient Adult Medicine Specialty Unit, where she worked as a Clinical RN, Clinical Supervisor, and Clinical Manager. Additionally, Nealy held the position of the Director of Adult Endoscopy.

Nealy has served as the Chair of the Nursing Ancillary and Advisory Council for Epic Implementation, as well as a vast array of other committees. She is a certified Nurse Executive by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Nealy was first introduced to the health field at the Oklahoma University Health Science Center (OUHSC) when she was a junior at Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) Northeast Academy of Health Sciences and Engineering.

“We were the first graduating class of Northeast Academy of Health Sciences and Engineering, completing grades sixth through 12, and many of us referred to the academy as a social experiment of our time,” she laughs. “I remember my teacher, Mrs. Bessie Bryant, bringing us to OUHSC’s student union to attend class a few days a week. I had many great experiences while going through the OUHSC program, which opened up several healthcare opportunities right before my eyes,” Nealy said.

OKCPS Superintendent, Dr. Sean McDaniel heads up the state’s largest school district. He emphasized the most important key driving force is the collective relationship building that takes place in every school.

“Our building leaders, teachers, and staff know our students by name and by need and provide encouragement and counsel, while also connecting them to the resources that will help them on their journey to post-secondary success, whatever that may look like for each student. For students who have the desire to attend college, career tech, enter the workplace, or head to the military, it is imperative that the district offers a variety of resources and opportunities for them to be successful after graduation,” McDaniel said.

After high school graduation, Nealy had planned to attend a community college and seek a nursing degree, which would have been free. Instead, she went in a different direction and headed north to Langston University (LU). She qualified for the full-ride Edwin P. McCabe scholarship, which is awarded to first-time freshmen entering college after high school graduation.

“LU found me! Everything was paid for, my books, my food, my fees, and my room and board. I did not have to come out of pocket for anything, which was so comforting for me. Langston University’s nursing program was competitive and offered a challenging curriculum,” Nealy said.

LU’s interim President, Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson stands firm, saying its School of Nursing and Health Professions is shaped intentionally to exceed the nation’s nursing standards.

“Langston University’s nursing program goes beyond these fundamentals by integrating content that addresses healthcare disparities and seeks to improve health outcomes in underserved populations. Additionally, our program also places a strong emphasis on leadership development, preparing graduates to assume leadership and advocacy roles within a variety of healthcare settings,” Jackson said.

Dr. Teressa Hunter, LU’s Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions, says it is the school’s mission that drives the rigor.

“Langston University’s nursing curriculum is purposefully designed to be rigorous to support our students, so they are equipped to navigate clinical practice and leadership roles with a focus on the best outcomes. It is crucial to teach our students that when faced with challenges, they need to know how to respond positively, and when challenges come, rewards often follow,” Hunter said.

LU Director of Alumni, Rachel Goff-Belmon, and Nealy have four common bonds. The two are LU graduates, McCabe scholars, members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., (DST), and were classmates during their undergraduate years.

“I served as the President of the Beta Upsilon Chapter of DST for several years in college. This position allowed me to grow my supervisory skills and experience in stewarding others,” Nealy said.

“Soror Nealy’s administration style is to lead by example. She demonstrated this by keeping the chapter in compliance with her organizational skills. She orchestrated the chapter’s efforts to implement programs that align with the sorority’s Five-Point Programmatic Thrust and modeled her commitment to academic excellence through her high graduate point average (GPA),” Belmon said.

Belmon stressed Nealy rendered wholehearted ‘service’ by assisting fellow nursing students while demonstrating a deep understanding of the importance of diversity in the nursing field.

Nealy says OU Health supported her desire to continue as a lifelong learner.

“OU Health as an organization has put in place many programs to pursue higher education and advanced training or advanced certification, which benefit the working adult,” she said.

Nealy completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2009, graduating Magna Summa Laude with, a 3.50 GPA. She earned a Master of Science in Nursing, with a focus on nursing management and leadership, made available by OU Health’s tuition reimbursement program. Currently, Nealy is working on her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), a degree-accelerated program, supported by OU Health partnership in collaboration with the OU College of Nursing, and the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing. Her DNP is a terminal degree, which is scheduled to be conferred in May 2025.

“As an OU Health employee, the program pays for my tuition, books, and fees. Each step has afforded me something different. In terms of the MSN level, I learned a lot about leadership styles and ways of communicating with your team. At the DNP level, we look at problem system-level issues and try to understand how we can improve the organization as a whole. OU Health has invested in me as an individual employee,” Nealy said.

Nealy’s family planted the first seeds into her future long before her birth. Those first seeds were germinated, watered, and fertilized by her parents, as well as the other public educational institutions. Now, those seeds have sprouted and bore fruit to reveal her journey and countless outcomes that are more far-reaching than one can calculate in dollars and cents – Priceless.

However, Nealy says it is the humble, sacrificial contributions of her grandparents. Both grandparents were farmers, the Watts from the all-black township of Boley, and the Bradfords from the small rural town of Mason. They gave all that they had in the selling of land and livestock that kept her grounded.

“My father, the second youngest of 10 children, tells stories of when he was a child and how there was not enough food to eat. His mother would go without eating, so her children would not go hungry. My parents always instilled in us kids that they wanted us to be better and go further than what they had done. I believe that part of my recognition of their humble beginnings is to go further because they have afforded me those opportunities. I can stand on their shoulders,” she said.

Amber Nealy is reaping the harvest, having earned a seat at the bountiful table, where healthcare decisions and policies are shaped and governed.

“From where I sit, I want to be a light,” Nealy said.

Langston University group photo at 2024 K-INBRE Symposium

Two Langston University students earn awards at annual K-INBRE Symposium

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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Two Langston University students took home awards at the annual Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Symposium Jan. 12-14.

Senior crop and soil sciences major Kayla Smith earned a 2nd place Award of Excellence in Oral Presentations for her research on “Impairments in Cerebral Autoregulation and Cerebral Reactivity in Cancer Survivorship.” Junior biology major Daysha Isaac earned an Award of Excellence in Poster Presentations for her research on “Stalk Cell Movement in Drosophila: A model to understanding how migrating cells shape tissues and organs.”

“My experience was fun and also interesting,” Smith said. “It was my first time presenting oral presentations.”

Kayla Smith presenting at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium
Senior crop and soil sciences major Kayla Smith earned a 2nd place Award of Excellence in Oral Presentations at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium. Photo provided by Kayla Smith.

K-INBRE is a collaborative effort of medical and academic institutions in Kansas and Oklahoma to “promote multidisciplinary research networks with a focus on Cell and Developmental Biology,” according to the K-INBRE website. Langston University is the only Oklahoma-based institution partnered with K-INBRE.

The program offers LU students mentored research opportunities as well as opportunities to present their research at events like the annual Symposium. For example, Smith, a second-year K-INBRE participant, worked with researchers at Kansas State University.

This is Isaac’s first year participating in K-INBRE. She was introduced to the program by one of her biology professors, Dr. Kj Abraham, who helped mentor her in presenting her research. She also received advice on the structure and presentation of her research from Dr. Lindsay Davis.

Isaac has enjoyed her time in K-INBRE so far, and she was excited to present her research at the Symposium. She studied the ovarioles present in female fruit flies’ ovaries and tracked mutations and their effects on the stalk cells.

Daysha Isaac presents at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium
Junior biology major Daysha Isaac earned an Award of Excellence in Poster Presentations at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium. Photo provided by Daysha Isaac.

“This information allowed us to apply it to birth defects in infants,” Isaac said. “No way are we trying to cure it but gather more information about cell movement to make a connection. Such birth defects we compared it to were spina bifida and microcephaly.”

Smith is likewise passionate about the research she has helped conduct in K-INBRE, and she is confident her experiences in the program will aid her as she prepares to pursue medical school after graduation.

“I realize that my career goal is actually attainable,” Smith said, “and practice does make perfect.”

Dr Daryl Green


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Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

Langston University hired Dr. Daryl D. Green as the new dean for the School of Business. He began his new position on Jan. 2.

Prior to joining Dear Langston, Dr. Green worked at Oklahoma Baptist University for several years, holding the esteemed Dickinson Chair of Business professorship in the Paul Dickinson School of Business. Dr. Green’s primary research areas are leadership, management, culture and decision-making, and he has taught courses in topics such as system analysis, decision-making, leadership, marketing, project management, social media, strategy, and ballroom and social dancing. His ability to simplify complex concepts in the classroom helped him earn the ACBSP Teaching Excellence Award.

Notably, Dr. Green retired from the Department of Energy in 2016 after more than 27 years in the Environmental Management Program. He managed over 400 projects valued at approximately $100 million.

A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Dr. Green holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Southern University in Louisiana, a master’s degree in organizational management from Tusculum College in Tennessee, and a Doctor of Strategic Leadership degree from Regent University in Virginia. He has also completed several advanced graduate studies and certificates from Southern New Hampshire University and the University of Vermont.

Dr. Green is an accomplished academic and an award-winning speaker and author. His works include the textbooks “Impending Danger,” “Small Business Marketing,” and “Life After Retirement” in addition to numerous articles, which have been cited more than 400 times in well-known academic journals. His insights have been recognized by USA Today, Ebony Magazine and the Associated Press.

“My primary objective is to drive significant growth in our Business School,” Dr. Green said. “Over the next decade, my vision is to welcome 1,000 new students into our program. Innovation, adaptation and strategic thinking are essential to propel us toward this milestone.

“Many of our faculty are already champions of student-centered teaching. We will foster this ethos across the board, tailoring educational experiences to meet the unique requirements of today’s Generation Z students. We aim to provide engaging and practical learning that equips them for success in an ever-changing world.”

Langston University White House HBCU Scholars Lovette Mba and Charina Lancaster pose in front of a banner at the national HBCU conference


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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

Lovette Mba has always been passionate about her community.

The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Mba was raised in a tight-knit Nigerian community in Wichita, Kansas. Her community was a second family, and her communal Aunts and Uncles embraced her, providing opportunities to learn about and participate in Nigerian culture she otherwise may not have had growing up outside Nigeria. These community relationships and experiences were an integral part of Mba’s childhood, and she knows she wouldn’t be the same without them.

“I’m Nigerian American and I grew up in the Nigerian community back in Wichita,” Mba said. “And honestly, I attribute who I am, my qualities, to growing up in that community.”

Mba’s heavy involvement with the community was thanks to her parents. Her parents were entrepreneurs, and they instilled Christian values and disciplined work ethics in their children. They encouraged their kids to find ways to give back, a lesson Mba took to heart.

“Our parents have always instilled in us that it’s about giving back to the community, giving back to others and just basically having a higher sense of service over ourselves,” said Marygrace Mba, Lovette’s older sister. “So growing up, we were always involved in something, whether it was our church, whether it was our community, whether it was just a one-day volunteer thing. Whatever it was, we were always willing to do it because that’s just what we learned.” 

In high school, Mba joined Destination Innovation Inc., an organization that gives young people the tools and knowledge needed to become leaders in their communities through civic engagement, entrepreneurship and juvenile justice reform. This energized Mba, and she realized that’s what she wanted to do with her life: find ways to promote economic development in communities of color. 

This is a task easier said than done, and Mba knew her first step would be to further her education. She knew she wanted to attend a Historically Black College or University, but her parents wanted her to stay close to home. This posed a problem because Kansas has no HBCUs.

“I dreamed of going to an HBCU,” Mba said. “But they’re all so far away. My parents didn’t want me to go out of state, so I made a deal with them: if I could get a full ride somewhere, then they’ve got to let me go.” 

So she did. Mba came to Langston University in 2020 as a business management major with an Edwin P. McCabe Scholarship, which paid for her tuition, room and board, and a textbook stipend.  

And then Dear Langston became her new community. 

Despite starting college at the beginning of the pandemic, Mba was determined to make the most out of her time in school. She created her own fun and made friends through social distancing, and she took advantage of every opportunity to get involved once the covid restrictions lessened. She joined multiple organizations, participated in the Student Government Association and started the African Student Association.

“My main goal coming to Langston was to build community with like-minded people,” Mba said. “And I feel like I’ve been able to do that these past three years.” 

Mba loves to look for opportunities and take advantage when they appear. That’s what she was doing while scrolling through LinkedIn one night when she stumbled across the application for the White House HBCU Scholar program. 

Since 2014, the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities has recognized exceptional HBCU students who have excelled in the areas of academic achievement, civic and campus engagement, and entrepreneurial ethos. While reading about the program, Mba realized it aligned with her goals and could help her pursue her passion for economic development. 

“That’s really what I’m passionate about: economic development, community revitalization,” Mba said. “I really felt like it was God leading me to this opportunity, so I applied.” 

Mba waited months after submitting her application with no word on whether she was accepted. Then, the White House published a press release naming the 2023-24 White House HBCU Scholars, and her name was on the list. 

She was ecstatic.  

She had not only been recognized on a national level for her hard work, but she would be given tools and opportunities to learn more about economic development and how utilize it to help people. Since July, the program has given her mentorship opportunities and the chance to attend the National HBCU Week Conference in Virginia, and she will also participate in a hackathon sponsored by NASA.

As a White House HBCU Scholar, Mba’s goal has been to learn as much as she can and try to apply that knowledge to Langston University and the City of Langston. She wants to create an incubation program for student entrepreneurs to invest in their businesses and allow them to reinvest in the City of Langston. 

“There are so many student entrepreneurs on our campus,” Mba said. “I truly feel that Langston, the City of Langston, needs transformation, and that can only happen from our student body on a more economic level, like promoting the entrepreneurs on campus.”

As she works to try to establish this program, she is also making plans for her own future. She is considering earning a graduate degree in either urban planning or business administration, but she also hopes to work with a program in Wichita that promotes community revitalization through economic development. 

Whatever she chooses, it will put her one step closer to achieving her goals. 

“I picture myself going into communities of color and transforming them culturally, economically and creatively,” Mba said. “That’s just always been my dream, to go into communities of color and just transform them for the better, to be able to bring more business opportunities there and allow the community to really circulate their dollars and be able to invest in businesses that are also investing in them.”

Aerial shot of the Langston University Langston Campus


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From The Office of the President

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:

On behalf of the entire Langston University community, we are saddened and disturbed by the recent violence enacted on the campuses of Morgan State University and Bowie State University in Maryland as both institutions celebrated their homecomings. These senseless incidents take a toll on our collective communities and shared experience as Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

As we prepare for our own Homecoming celebration at Langston University, we want to take the time to remind and reassure our community of the resources and protocols in place. The University has security cameras throughout the grounds and in campus buildings which are routinely monitored and reviewed. There will be an increased presence of law enforcement and security for all Homecoming activities.

In an effort to ensure the well-being of the campus, we ask that everyone please practice these steps to sustain safety on campus:

— If you see something, say something. Our University community should feel empowered to report any suspicious or threatening behavior immediately so that the appropriate officials may respond.

— Download the free Campus Shield app to use in case of emergency or to make an anonymous report through photo or video directly to LUPD. You can find the app in the App Store or on Google Play for Android. Download the app directly onto your mobile device and select “Langston University” from the installation menu. The app allows for immediate emergency calling and provides an easy means of reporting suspicious behavior or activity directly to LUPD.

— Take note of the Blue Light call boxes located around campus. The call boxes can be used to place an emergency call to LUPD for immediate assistance at any time.

— Be mindful of who we allow or bring onto our campus locations. Too often, acts of violence are perpetrated by visitors who have no sense of responsibility to an institution or its members’ shared values.

— Do not engage with individuals who seek to threaten the safety of our campus community. No good will come from attempting to engage with individuals who intend to do harm. Please report any incidents immediately to LUPD.

— Model the behavior we wish to see as we celebrate our Homecoming. Homecoming at Langston University is a cherished celebration for so many and this year, we want you to be “ALL IN”. We ask that all members of our community conduct themselves with pride and respect for others.

To be clear, violence will not be condoned or tolerated. Please report any suspicious activity, no matter how minor, to LUPD immediately. Our sworn and certified police force is here to protect and serve. Together, we can continue to ensure that Langston University is a safe place for our community to live, learn, and thrive.

Thank you for your continued support and love of Langston University. Together, we look forward to a safe and successful Homecoming celebration!


Ruth Ray Jackson, Ph.D.
Interim President

Nathanael Rakestraw Edwards
Student Government Association President

NBCU Academy Next Level Summit graphic


Release Provided By

by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University encourages any high school or college students interested in journalism or media to attend the NBCU Academy Next Level Summit for free on Oct. 19.

“Next Level Summit: Know Your Audience” is a free virtual learning opportunity which is open to the public, and Langston would like to encourage anyone with an interest in a career in media to attend. The summit will discuss ways for journalists, marketing professionals, public relations specialists and other media industry members to identify and connect with an audience while providing attendees with an opportunity to connect with top industry professionals.

The summit will be hosted by the NBCU Academy, a free online education program for developing skills and advancing careers in journalism, media and technology from Comcast NBCUniversal and NBCU News Group. Langston University is an academic partner of the NBCU Academy.

Langston’s academic partnership with the NBCU Academy is part of its broader efforts to improve and enrich its broadcast journalism program. These efforts began in earnest with the donation of the new Langston OKC campus from Griffin Media.
The new campus, once the KWTV News 9 building, will soon be the new home of the broadcast journalism program. The donation included a full-service news station which will give Langston students a better understanding of what it’s like to work in a professional broadcast newsroom.

Not long after announcing the donation from Griffin Media, Langston announced its new partnership with NBCU Academy. Langston is one of 45 schools who are academic partners with NBCU Academy, and it’s the only university in Oklahoma with this partnership. In addition to the academic partnership, Langston received a $250,000 grant from NBCU Academy.

The NBCU Academy academic partnership offers several virtual and in-person educational and mentoring opportunities to Langston journalism students, including events like the Next Level Summit.

You can register for the Next Level Summit: Know Your Audience at


Release Provided By

by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University’s School of Nursing and Health Professions is pleased to announce one of its hallmark programs will be available online starting this spring.

The new online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is available to registered nurses (RN’s) looking to further their careers in nursing. The program can be completed in 9 or 12 months, depending on the student’s preferred class schedule.
For more than 40 years, Langston University has been home to one of the best accredited nursing programs in Oklahoma. Under the direction of Dr. Teressa Hunter, the dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions, the program has continued to grow.

The online BSN degree is available to students admitted to the Langston University main campus, the Langston University Tulsa campus or the Langston University Ardmore site.

The Langston University Tulsa campus is now accepting applications for the Spring 2024 semester. The early admission deadline is Oct. 16.

For more information about the online RN to BSN program, please contact a Langston University Nursing advisor at one of the three sites:

Langston/ Main Campus: 405-466-3415
Tulsa Campus: 918-877-8123
Ardmore Site: 580-319-0317