For Immediate Release
June 14, 2011
Contact Information

Joyce Forchion
T: (305) 626-3624

Zachary Rinkins
T: (305) 626-3624

(BPRW) Florida Memorial University President Invests Close to $40,000 in Black Male High School Graduates

(BLACK PR WIRE) – MIAMI GARDENS, FL (JUNE 14, 2011) – History was made at Florida Memorial University (FMU) when the inaugural High School Black Male Baccalaureate Service was held May 21, 2011. The first of its kind held on a college campus in the U.S., the event, organized by FMU’s Black Male College Explorers Program (BMCEP), celebrated the educational accomplishments of young black males who recently graduated from high school. FMU president, Dr. Henry Lewis, III, offered many honorees an unprecedented $2,000 scholarship to attend the university in the fall.

“You cannot build a university until you build the community,” President Lewis commented. “We are congratulating these gentlemen with this scholarship and encouraging them to come to FMU.”

Eric McWilliams, a graduating senior at Miami Central High School, responded to the president’s generosity with gratitude. “I really appreciate what Florida Memorial University did for us black males,” McWilliams shared. “The $2,000 will definitely help towards my future.”

Local school board reports note only 23% of black male students graduate with a standard high school diploma. Aimed at committing the young men to a college education, honorees may be eligible for BMCEP’s summer dual-enrollment program where attendees stay on campus and take college courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program is a university-wide effort.

“Just graduating from high school sets these gentlemen apart from their peers,” said Mildred Berry, Ph.D., dean of FMU’s School of Education. “They deserve our praise and encouragement.”

Kareem Coney, director of FMU’s Black Male College Explorers Program and creator of the baccalaureate initiative, concluded the recognition was necessary. “I thought it was incumbent of us as black men, at our institution in particular being the only historically black university in South Florida, to take the lead on this issue,” he said. “We want them to leave here today knowing that anything is possible. Set a goal, have a plan and achieve it.”

For more information on the BMCEP, the baccalaureate event, or how to support community initiatives at FMU, please contact Joyce Forchion, director of public affairs, at (305) 626-3624.

About Florida Memorial University:

Florida Memorial University is a private, undergraduate and graduate degree-granting institution located in Miami Gardens, Florida. Florida Memorial’s history and traditions date back to 1879. Its legacy of determination and accomplishment has made it one of Florida’s longest surviving centers of academic excellence. Offering 41 undergraduate degree programs and four graduate degree programs, Florida Memorial is a culturally diverse institution that is committed to transforming lives and helping to create a future for people from many races, ethnicities, countries, religions and socio-economic backgrounds. The university offers its students a promise and a future, and has opened doors to educational opportunities that may have been previously closed for many students. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, the National Association of Schools of Music, and the Council on Social Work Education. Today, Florida Memorial is committed to the pursuit of excellence and continues to educate youth, intellectually and spiritually. Strong moral character, mutual respect, freedom of worship and a commitment to serve are the hallmarks of what it means to be a Florida Memorial Lion. For more information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at (305) 626-3624 or visit