My Perspective: The Impact of HBCUs

In celebration of Black History Month, several Honda leaders who attended HBCUs are sharing their experiences and discussing Honda’s support for these institutions. Nina Bryson, marketing manager for American Honda Motor Co. power equipment division, shares her perspective as a graduate of Prairie View A&M University, in Prairie View, Texas.

I grew up in a small town in South Carolina and graduated from high school with some of the same people who were in my kindergarten class. As a result, I wanted to go away to college and have an opportunity to meet new people. The idea of going to an HBCU to experience more of my culture with students who looked like me, and who came from a variety of places around the world, was a dream come true.

HBCUs provide more African American history education than is routinely taught in public universities. Knowing our history and being able to understand our contributions to society instilled a greater sense of pride in me. In addition, HBCUs train students to overcome the adversity they may experience after graduation due to racism and discrimination. They provide students with tools to thrive in various environments.

HBCUs tend to be smaller universities with the chance for students to have a more personal relationship with the faculty. I was the direct beneficiary of first-hand relationships with my professors and advisors. They knew my name, my goals and they actively assisted me in achieving them. My advisors taught me professionalism and introduced me to their own contacts at Fortune 500 companies. Attending Prairie View A&M University helped launch my career in the automotive industry.

Attending Prairie View A&M was one of the best decisions of my life. I made lifelong friends, met like-minded people from various backgrounds, learned academia and life lessons from professors who truly cared about my success. I walked away with a stronger sense of self.

One additional benefit was joining Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I love my sorority and the powerful, amazing women we represent. I have made life-long bonds through Delta Sigma Theta and it’s so much more than an organization that I joined – it’s personal. Delta represents my sisterhood – a unique tie that binds us, an automatic trust. 

Delta Sigma Theta was founded on January 13, 1913 with a mission to promote academic excellence and service to those in need. Today, Delta has over 1,000 chapters in the United States, Germany, Canada, Japan, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Republic of Korea. Delta has over 200,000 members worldwide and continues to make positive changes in every area where we exist and I’m so proud of the work Delta is doing.

The contribution HBCUs make to higher education and society is invaluable in the pride they instill and the fruit they bear. I am proud to work for a company with such strong and longstanding support for these vital institutions, through such programs at the Honda Battle of the Bands, Honda Campus All Star Challenge and through its affiliation with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

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