Black Excellence continues to expand as D’Wayne Edwards announced plans to reopen Michigan’s only historically black college and university next year in Detroit.
Edwards is the founder of the PENSOLE Design Academy in Portland, Oregon, and is behind the draft proposal for state authorization to recognize Lewis College of Business as Michigan’s only HBCU.
It is an impressive task worth accomplishing since Detroit has undergone a resurgence with companies and new opportunities taking root in the city over the last few years. If approved by the state, it would give one of the largest Black cities in the country the “first designed-focused HBCU.”
According to Detroit News, Lewis College of Business closed in 2013. The reopened school would be known as the PENSOLE Lewis College of Business and Design. It would be the nation’s only HBCU to reopen after closing, Edwards said.
College for Creative Studies President Don Tuski would help the school to exist as a joint venture under the CCS’ accreditation.
In a world where HBCUs have a range of offerings, Edwards said PENSOLE Lewis College of Business and Design would focus on design. “This is a need we have,” he said during a speech outside the original site of the college. “We’re going to do this together.”
Instead of operating like a traditional college, PENSOLE Lewis College would offer certification programs where the school works with brands to sculpt courses to meet their respective needs. For students interested in obtaining a degree, the option to “stack” classes at CCS would enable them to earn a diploma.
PENSOLE Lewis College would also operate “majority tuition-free,” according to Edwards. Brands would pay for students’ tuition and housing, and in return, create a pipeline of talented minds ready to work. Current program sponsors include brands like Asics, Adidas, New Balance, Nike, and a few other shoe and clothing companies.
With specific courses expected to be announced later in the fall, the PENSOLE Lewis College will be housed at CCS’ A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education on Milwaukee Avenue in Detroit. Enrollment for the new school is expected to kick off in December, with classes to begin in March 2022.