Fair provides look at historically black colleges Student recruitment part of anti-violence conference

November 17, 1996|By Gary Cohn | Gary Cohn,SUN STAFF

Sherria Owens is a 16-year-old junior at Western High School with a dream of becoming a cardiovascular surgeon. Yesterday she went to listen to, and question, representatives from some of the nation's most distinguished historically black colleges at a College Fair at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The College Fair was part of a four-day national conference in Baltimore on Family and Community Violence Prevention. It is sponsored in part by a group of 19 historically black universities and colleges, including Morgan State University.

Yesterday's College Fair was intended to inform high school students in Baltimore about opportunities at historically black colleges and universities at a time when those schools are becoming increasingly involved in efforts to reduce family and community violence.

The conference, which began yesterday and will run through Tuesday, is bringing together experts and students from around the country to discuss ways to prevent violence. Participants are presenting research papers and exchanging information on topics ranging from violence against the elderly to the role of black churches in reducing violence.

The College Fair was intended to attract Baltimore's best and brightest high school students, but only about two dozen students attended yesterday's session.

"We are disappointed there weren't more," said Kenneth C. Christmon, director of admissions at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio. But, he added, a single student such as Sherria, the Western High junior, made his journey worthwhile.

"We're going to call her and do everything it takes to get her into our school," he said. "She's articulate, intelligent, focused. This young lady knows what she wants to do. She made it worth the trip."

As she made her way around the room, talking to representatives of different schools yesterday, Sherria asked question after question. "What is the ratio of students to faculty?" she asked a representative from Xavier University of Louisiana. "Do you have an out-of-state tuition fee?"

Sherria and several other students said they liked the personal touches and relatively small sizes of the historically black colleges, though Sherria stressed she hadn't made up her mind where to apply.

"I don't want to limit myself to a one-race college," said Sherria, who is interested in Towson State University as well as Wilberforce.

Another Western High student, senior Nicole Davis, 17, said she hopes to attend Tougaloo College, near Jackson, Miss.

"I just always wanted to go to a historically black college. I'd feel more comfortable," Nicole said.

Pub Date: 11/17/96

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