When Paul Quinn College’s President Michael Sorrell first arrived on the HBCU’s campus, the future looked bleak.
Faced with financial mismanagement, threats to its accreditation status and low enrollment numbers, Sorrell dared to do what no other school would.
First, he implemented an “urban work college” model in which students are REQUIRED to work in professionally enriching jobs while enrolled in four years of coursework.
Income from work-study, tuition price cuts and the use of publicly accessible textbooks for classes increased the affordability of attendance.
As if these measures weren’t radical enough, listen to what happened to the football program!
The majority-Black southern Dallas community of Highland Hills (where PQC is located) is a food desert. Meaning there are no grocery stores with quality food for miles.
To address the disparity, PQC forfeited its football program, opting to plant the WE Over Me community farm on its field instead!
The success of the now-thriving campus proves it takes “righteous rage” accompanied by actions that directly challenge the status quo to end generational poverty.
“We decided that it was no longer acceptable to pretend that higher education’s math equation added up [for Black students]. We think that our students deserve to receive two great academic experiences for the reasonable price of one. This is nation building,” Sorrell concludes.