Tag Archives: norfolk state university

HBCU Money’s 2018 Top 10 HBCU Endowments

The past 365 days for HBCU endowments has seen a lot of press, mainly led by Bennett College’s #StandWithBennett campaign as the school is embattled and was raising money to retain its accreditation and keep the doors open. A constant reminder of the fragility of HBCUs and their financial uncertainty. Economic conditions in the United States have made overall growth in higher education tempered and with it HBCU endowments have been a mixed bag. While the top ten HBCU endowments have five endowments that beat the median increase in endowment market value, only two endowments beat the national average. In comparison the top ten PWI endowments had eight endowments beat the national median average and seven of the ten exceeding the national average.

Over the past 12 months, the top ten HBCU endowments have increased their market value by $134.5 million or an increase of 7.4 percent over last year. There is plenty of argument that HBCUs should not be compared to the largest PWI endowments in behavior and instead to schools that are comparable in their size and scope. This is certainly a valid argument, but at a time when there are more PWIs with $1 billion plus endowments than there are HBCUs, it maybe hard to continue to lean on such an argument. The reason being is that higher education in general is experiencing and going to continue to consolidation and contraction with education alternatives entering the market. Smaller colleges and HBCUs are going to have to be over capitalized and nimble in order to shift to changing market demands and conditions. At the moment, over 90 percent of HBCUs do not have even $100 million endowments leaving them highly vulnerable as we have seen with the closure of a number of HBCUs in recent years and more than just Bennett in current crisis.

This year we included more than just the top ten, but all HBCUs who reported to NACUBO, which is the reporting endowment organization we use to keep our reporting date uniformed.

All values are in millions ($000)

1. Howard University – $688,562 (6.5%)

2. Spelman College – $389,207 (6.3%)

3.  Hampton University – $285,345 (2.2%)

4.  Meharry Medical College – $159,908 (4.1%)

5.  Morehouse College – $145,139 (2.6%)

6.  North Carolina A&T State University  – $63,827 (14.9%)

7.  University of the Virgin Islands – $61,491 (10.7%)

8.  Tennessee State University – $58,697 (5.1%)

9.  Texas Southern University – $58,158 (7.4%)

10.  Virginia State University – $54,479 (6.6%)


Take a look at how an endowment works. Not only scholarships to reduce the student debt burden but research, recruiting talented faculty & students, faculty salaries, and a host of other things can be paid for through a strong endowment. It ultimately is the lifeblood of a college or university to ensure its success generation after generation.

*Note: The change in market value does NOT represent the rate of return for the institution’s investments. Rather, the change in the market value of an endowment from FY2016 to FY2017 reflects the net impact of: 1) withdrawals to fund institutional operations and capital expenses; 2) the payment of endowment management and investment fees; 3) additions from donor gifts and other contributions; and 4) investment gains or losses.

The HBCUpreneur Corner™ – Norfolk State University’s Harold Blackwell & Chestnut Hollow Farms, LLC

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Name: Harold L. Blackwell

Alma Mater: Norfolk State University

Business Name & Description: Chestnut Hollow Farms, LLC grows hydroponic leafy greens (kale, lettuce, spinach, etc.) and culinary herbs in an indoor controlled environment year round in Fairfield County, CT.

What year did you found your company? In late 2011 and we have been going strong ever since.

What has been the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career? The most exciting moment was when we picked up our first grocery store/wholesale account. It was at that moment the realization set in we were onto something great. My most fearful moment was when it became apparent demand started to outstrip our capacity. A great problem to have, but definitely scary.

What made you want to start your own company? I have always had an ‘entrepreneurial bug’ inside of me. I realized early in life that I wanted to call the shots and not take orders. Obviously you still take orders in some form, but when you own your own business you also control your destiny (for the most part). Based on these internal feelings it was a natural progression to incorporate and do what I enjoy as a business.

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Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? The most influential person was not a professor, but a cousin who was also a HBCU graduate. He explained to me about self-employment and how he built his own real estate empire. My conversations with him helped fill in the gaps of what I did not learn in class. To this day, he is a trusted advisor and has given me gems of wisdom ever since.

How do you handle complex problems? My approach is to always take a step back and make sure I understand all of the facts and think of possible solutions. In each solution, I review whether or not I have accounted for all possible factors (pros and/or cons). Then I do simple benefit analysis and choose my solution.

What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? To not delay starting my business because I assumed more money was needed. It was quite the opposite.

What do you believe HBCUs can do to spur more innovation and entrepreneurship while their students are in school either as undergraduate or graduate students? More incubators on campus and partnerships with innovative, private companies looking for the next biggest/best idea.

African American farmland ownership is at an all-time low controlling only 0.4% of America’s farmland. What do you believe HBCUs can do to reverse this trend? I believe HBCUs can help reverse the trend by purchasing farmland and build out beginning/new farmer programs on the purchased farmland. Ideally this would create new African American farmers. The hope would be for these new farmers to eventually move on to purchase additional farmland.

How do you deal with rejection? Constructively. It forces you to rethink your strategy and approach to certain tasks.

When you have down time how do you like to spend it? I spend my down time either reading or doing some farm related activity. I also maintain a day job so these activities serve to relax my mind and spirit.

What was your most memorable HBCU memory? Oh wow, there are so many to choose from! I would have to say graduating. My mother, father, brother, aunt, and some friends were there to show support. One of my proudest days.

In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs? Read and be open to ideas that do not necessarily align with your thinking. I believe these factors help you think outside of the proverbial box. Read current events and anything that interests you. Especially books/periodicals related to your industry or a field you wish to become establish a business.

The HBCUpreneur Corner – Norfolk State University’s Ralph Newsome & New Level Investment, LLC


Name: Ralph Newsome II

Alma Mater: Norfolk State University

Business Name & Description: New Level Investment Management, LLC

As an investment company we practice value and growth investing (we coined the term GrowU which is a combination of growth and value). We look for companies with a competitive advantage in their sectors, good financial backing, and good fundamentals, trading at a discount. We also enjoy the benefits of finding growth companies, who grow 20% and more a year. We help investors realize big gains.

What year did you found your company? 2008

What was the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career? Meeting and dating my now wife. In addition to meeting my wife, I also met my two best friends who are also my business partners on other ventures.


What made you want to start your own company? I’ve always had a passion for business and a knack for numbers; I graduated from Norfolk State University with a BS in Accounting, thus I stayed true to my passion. After taking a course in investing in undergrad, I developed a strong liking for financial markets. My curiosity and love grew from there. I thought that I could help educate people about the market while also help them plan for a better financial future.

Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? Tough question: I don’t have one person or a group of people, I will just say the shear experience of college was the most influential aspect to me.

How do you handle complex problems? Strategically. I try to analyze as much as possible to take as much emotions out of my problem solving.

What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? Good question: It’s tough for folks to be financially conscience about their financial wellbeing. Only 9% of blacks invest their funds and/or have savings. In my line of business, I’m already limited to 9% of the African American market of investors or savers so my job is cut out for me; however, I’m up for the challenge.

What do you believe HBCUs can do to spur more innovation and entrepreneurship while their students are in school either as undergraduate or graduate students? Another great question: I think schools should be more influential on promoting entrepreneurship; such as inviting business owners to speak during class sessions or connecting students to do volunteer work for small business owners. Also HBCUs have to become involved in being more fiscal responsible for the students wellbeing. Examples: Don’t allow credit card companies to setup booths in student unions to prey on college kids; explaining the cons of taking out private student loans (Sallie Mae); encourage students to budget, save, and invest!!!! It’s a cycle, if the students are able to maintain more of their wealth, more than likely they will give more back to their school. This will generate more endowment funds for the school to build better facilities, invest in reach and development, and spawn more innovation.

How do you deal with rejection? It is kind of cliché-ish but each rejection is a learning experience. That gives me the motivation to improve on all levels.

When you have down time how do you like to spend it? I’m a gym rat and I try to reach the markets as much as possible. Whether that includes reading financial books, Bloomberg TV, or Yahoo Finance. I eat, sleep, breath finance.

What was your most memorable HBCU memory? Being around so many different people at one time all the time. I will never get that back; I may be around a lot of people say for an event but that will just be for a few hours. College gave me the ability to be around people from different walks of life all the time.

In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs? Absolutely: Work hard and then work some more. Everything and anything can be improved, thus don’t every get complacent. Build a top notch network. Your network = your net worth, thus get out and meet someone. Thank you.

Webometrics’ 2013 Top 20 African Diaspora Colleges & Universities

HBCU Money™ presents the Top 20 ranked African Diaspora colleges and universities. The rankings are based on the world rankings from Webometrics, an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain.


  • 9 of the 20 colleges and universities come from South Africa.
  • African American colleges & universities come in second with 4 of the 20 colleges and universities present on the list.
  • No African Diaspora colleges or universities are present in the top 100 in Webometrics’ world rankings.

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Below are the objective and methodology per the Webometrics website:

Objective: The original aim of the Ranking was to promote Web publication. Supporting Open Access initiatives, electronic access to scientific publications and to other academic material are our primary targets. However web indicators are very useful for ranking purposes too as they are not based on number of visits or page design but on the global performance and visibility of the universities.

Methodology: The Webometrics is the largest academic ranking of Higher Education Institutions. Since 2004 and every six months an independent, objective, free, open scientific exercise is performed by the Cybermetrics Lab (Spanish National Research Council, CSIC) for the providing reliable, multidimensional, updated and useful information about the performance of universities from all over the world based on their web presence and impact.


  1. University of Kwazulu Natal – 381 – South Africa
  2. University of Cape Town – 391 – South Africa
  3. Stellenbosch University – 462 – South Africa
  4. Makerere University – 696 – Uganda
  5. University of the Witwatersrand – 719 – South Africa
  6. University of Pretoria – 746 – South Africa
  7. Howard University – 753 – United States
  8. University of the Western Cape – 834 – South Africa
  9. Obafemi Awolowo University – 1113 – Nigeria
  10. Rhodes University – 1191 – South Africa
  11. Cairo University – 1206 – Egypt
  12. University of Dar Es Salaam – 1419 – Tanzania
  13. Norfolk State University – 1531 – United States
  14. University of South Africa – 1545 – South Africa
  15. Florida A&M University – 1557 – United States
  16. American University in Cairo – 1574 – Egypt
  17. Hampton University – 1581 – United States
  18. University of Nairobi – 1624 – Kenya
  19. Mansoura University – 1699 – Egypt
  20. University of Johannesburg – 1749 – South Africa

Source: Webometrics