Michigan’s Only HBCU To Reopen This Year, First Closed HBCU To Ever Reopen


The New Year is already starting with great news for the HBCU community! As reported by CBS Detroit, Michigan Govenor Gretchen Whitmer signed House bills 5447 and 5448 facillitating the reopening of Lewis College of Business as as the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design. Lewis College, Michigan’s only HBCU, was opened in in 1928 in Indiana by Violet T. Lewis as a secretarial school for Black women. It was relocated to Detroit, Michigan in 1939 and ceased operations in 2013 after successfully educating over 27,000 students.

Pensole Lewis will be located in the College of Creative Studies A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education until the new permanent location is ready. The institution will reopen as “majority tuition-free” with companies covering costs such as tuition payments and living costs. Pensole Lewis also won’t offer traditional degrees.


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Govenor Whitmer said in a statement, “I am proud to play a part in helping reopen the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design in Detroit. I am committed to expanding educational opportunities for Michiganders across our state to put Michigan first.”

The reopening of the HBCU was facilitated by Former Nike Designer Dr. D’Wayne Edwards. Edwards assisted in the design of the Air Jordan shoe. Dr. Edwards secured financial support from Target and the Gilbert Family Foundation for the reopening of the institution. The school is named after Edwards’s footwear design academy based in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Edwards says that he idea was to open the first designed focus HBCU and that he hopes that other HBCUs in the nation embrace Pensole Lewis College.




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