Pennsylvania’s two historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are at a very important time in their existence.

After two-and-a-half years without a permanent leader at the helm, Lincoln University on Friday confirmed that it was hiring Brenda Allen, Winston Salem State University provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs, as president of the school.

Meanwhile, at the financially struggling Cheyney University, where enrollment has been on a precipitous decline, a task force unanimously forwarded a number of recommendations for the school to the State System of Higher Education.

It called for the 180-year-old institution, according to a story by the Associated Press, to adopt a “significantly revised business model.” Those steps include scaling down the size of its workforce, utilizing some of its 275 acres in a way that can generate revenue and forgoing NCAA sports teams for intramural sports.

The system’s board of governors will discuss and vote on the plan at an upcoming meeting.

The recommendations for Cheyney are hard to swallow, but hopefully these two developments will put our state’s historic Black colleges on more solid footing, because the mission of the HBCU remains strong. While integration opened the doors of more colleges and universities to African-American students, HBCUs still graduate the majority of our nation’s African-American teachers, doctors, judges, engineers, and other scientific and technological professionals, according to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

As Lincoln makes its leadership transition and as Cheyney considers the recommendations put forth by the task force, these institutions will need the support of their college communities — which includes their alumni and others who care about these institutions continuing to serve their vital role in our state.

We wish them luck and progress that will take Pennsylvania’s historically Black colleges and universities toward a bright future.

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