Black & Ivy League (BIL) is a non-profit organization that recently launched to highlight the top leaders and professionals from the elite 107 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The founders of the organization began the project in 2020 by asking the question, “what does ‘black and ivy league’ mean to you?” The responses that they received all referred to black alumni of Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Brown, while HBCUs like Hampton, Howard, Spelman, Florida A&M, North Carolina A&T, or Morehouse were largely overlooked.
While the term “Ivy League” is used to refer to eight private research universities in the Northeastern United States known for their academic excellence, promising career futures, and social elitism, BIL argues that HBCUs should also be recognized on a larger scale. BIL is a network of change-makers and trailblazers impacting the landscape of careers and entrepreneurship. Its mission is to create awareness and honor the elite alumni from HBCUs, which the organization believes are breeding grounds for excellence in character and community.
To achieve this goal, BIL has launched an annual list of the top 20 professionals from HBCUs, honoring the wealth of talent and education from these elite institutions. The process involves editors and subject matter experts shortlisting applicants based on a variety of factors, which are then shared with a five-judge panel who select the final 20 honorees. These factors include innovation, social impact, community involvement, and career/business potential.
The list will feature 20 honorees across five categories, accepting and reviewing only 20 applications from each category per year. The judges will honor two current HBCU graduate students and two HBCU alums out of the 100 applicants. BIL believes that connection is key and aims to provide a platform for leaders and professionals from 107 elite HBCUs.
The organization’s mission is to promote professional development, social and economic change, educational impact, and civic engagement in communities.
BIL has received an outpouring of support from current students and alumni. To learn more about the organization or to apply, visit their website at www.blackandivyleague.com.