Award Recognizing HBCU Global Leadership Presented at Inaugural HBCU Africa Homecoming Summit
Morgan State University’s President David Wilson, Ed.D. traveled to Accra, Ghana this past summer to attend the inaugural HBCU Africa Homecoming Summit where he was awarded the distinguished honor of the Transcendent Order of the African Eagle Award. Hosted by African Diaspora Nation (ADN) and the African Union, the first-of-its-kind conference brought diverse stakeholders together to expand opportunities for Africans to attend historically black colleges and/or universities (HBCUs), explore strategic collaborations for faculty and student exchanges, and to foster closer relationships between HBCUs and Africa by facilitating partnerships that lead to HBCUs establishing footprints on the continent. The three-day event – themed “Reclaiming Our Oneness; Unveiling Our Promise” – featured a Global Impact Awards Gala, recruitment fair for local high school and college students, a global think tank meeting on HBCU Sustainability, and an outdoor celebration.
The ‘African Eagle Award’ was presented to Dr. Wilson during a traditional ceremony hosted by the Chief of Ashanti, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, in recognition for his visionary and inspired leadership in HBCU global engagement and impact. The festive occasion featured drums, dancing, singing and the reading of a special poem performed by a highly respected royal poet. While being wrapped with symbolic mantle made from a 60-year-old Kente Cloth woven in protest of black oppression, Dr. Wilson, who was not given a middle name at birth, was bestowed with one “Kwabena” which translates to male child born on Tuesday.
“It was an honor and beyond humbling to receive an award of this stature,” Dr. Wilson said. “This is the highest honor I have received in my life. The symbolism was powerful!”
As Morgan’s 10th inaugurated president, Dr. Wilson has sustained a historic momentum of progress and advancement including the elevation of Morgan to an R2 classified high research doctoral university, capital development spurring more than $750 million in new facilities and infrastructure, increased retention and graduation rates and a continuation of Morgan’s lead among HBCUs in producing Fulbright scholars with 149 grantees in 44 countries.
The Transcendent order of the African Eagle award is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual and is planned to become an annual award for presidents of HBCUs who continuously dedicate their life to improve and expand their HBCUs. The awards name was inspired by a short story titled, “The Eagle That Will Not Fly,” written by Dr. James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey, who is the first citizen of the Gold Coast to attend an HBCU in the United States. Dr. Wilson’s long-standing work in higher education and his leadership at Morgan served as a guiding force for being the first recipient of this award, in addition to his global vision for forging strategic partnerships and collaborations between HBCUs and African educational institutions.
Dr. Wilson was one of five awarded at this special ceremony. Included among which was Dr. Yacob Astatke, vice president for International Affairs at Morgan State University, who received the ‘Order of the Master Teacher’ Award.
Congratulations to Dr. David Kwabena Wilson for receiving this monumental award, and for his continued leadership not only at Morgan State University but around the world!