GAFFNEY, S.C. (courtesy limestone.edu) — imestone University was recently awarded a $1.25 million grant from the United States Department of Education that will enable the institution to strengthen its efforts to recruit, retain, and graduate Black American students.
Limestone will receive a $250,000 annual grant for the next five years from the U.S. Department of Education’s Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) Program to fund its new “Real Men Lead” initiative that will enhance Limestone’s capacity to serve more low- and middle-income Black American students, particularly males. With the grant, Limestone will be able to expand those higher education opportunities by encouraging college preparation and student persistence. The PBI grant will also strengthen the financial ability of the institution to serve the academic needs of the students.
“The Department of Education’s investment in Limestone is a testament to our focus on cultivating students’ unique cultural strengths to promote student achievement and sense of well-being,” said Stacey Mason, the University’s Associate Provost for Student Success and the principal investigator for the PBI grant. “Through the PBI grant, we will implement programs that empower our students to overcome barriers, develop personally and professionally, and achieve degree completion.”
The “Real Men Lead” program will provide intentional and focused services designed to improve outcomes for Limestone’s Black American male students in all facets of postsecondary education, including academic preparedness, college etiquette, student engagement, faculty/staff involvement, peer involvement, campus and community leadership, post-graduate planning, and career placement.
Specifically, students in the new program will participate in a robust summer bridge experience, a living-learning community with embedded supplemental instruction and peer mentors, and a leadership academy to strengthen professional skills and engagement in service-learning opportunities.
“Including our on-campus and online program students, the Limestone undergraduate student body resembles South Carolina high school seniors, so our overall demographics met the federal definitions to qualify for the grant,” said University President Dr. Darrell Parker. “We are extremely excited about what this grant will enable us to do to assist our students.”