Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU sponsors inaugural Black Male Initiative Summit

The first Black Male Initiative Summit will take place at DU on April 29, at DU’s School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management.

The summit targets black males attending high school or college and the male educators and professionals who work with them. 

According to Tracey Peters, director of the Center for Multicultural Excellence, many topics will be covered during the summit, including the need to provide black males with a sense of community among their peers and mentors, which might make them more likely to complete their degree. 

“Ultimately, we want more black males graduating from high school and college,” she says.

It is not a simple solution. Figures from the National Center for Education Statistics state that in 2008, the graduation rate for black men was 31.4 percent, compared to 43.1 percent for black women.

“The successful matriculation of black male students requires strategic intervention that may fall outside of traditional methods of engaging students,” Peters adds. “We recognize this is an issue not only at DU, but across our nation. We need to increase the awareness and knowledge about the best ways and approaches to successfully graduate black men.”

Nickolas Dawkins, an administrative intern from Thomas Jefferson High School who will attend the summit says: “The crisis facing African-American males in education is deep and requires a sense of urgency and understanding. It is exciting to see DU engage in a conversation aimed at surfacing and examining possible problems and solutions.”

Shaun R. Harper, assistant professor of higher education management at the University of Pennsylvania and author of eight books including: Exceeding Expectations: Black Male Achievers and Insights into College Success, is the keynote speaker.

Harper also will address a special session for women titled “The Forum: How to Support Black Males in Academia.”  The forum is sponsored by the Association of Sisters in Higher Education (ASHE) and the DU Women’s Coalition.

Other speakers include: Gregory Anderson, dean of DU’s Morgridge College of Education; Kyle Speller, the “voice” of the Denver Nuggets; Ryan Ross, executive director of the Education Opportunity Center at the Community College of Denver; and C. Omar Montgomery, director of black student services at the University of Colorado-Denver.

To register for the conference, contact Natley Farris at

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