Former Nike Designer Plans To Reopen Michigan's Only HBCU

D'Wayne Edwards

Photo: Getty Images

Enrollment at HBCUs has steadily risen over the last four years and it will continue to rise in the future thanks to a former Nike designer by the name of Dr. D'Wayne Edwards. Edwards recently announced his intention to reopen Lewis College of Business, the only historically Black college in the state of Michigan.

Founded by Violet T. Lewis in Indiana, Lewis College opened its doors in 1928 and moved to Detroit 11 years later. After serving students for nearly eight decades, Lewis College was forced to close its doors. Nearly a decade later, Edwards is hoping to continue Lewis's legacy by reopening the school's doors.

"82 years later, and 14 years since it lost its accreditation as HBCU, I am honored to be resurrecting Violet T. Lewis’s legacy in Detroit,” Edwards said in a press statement obtained by the Metro Times.

Edwards is best known for his work as a Nike and Jordan Brand designer. After giving his talents to Nike and Jordan Brand, Edwards launched his own school called Pensole. The Pensole Footwear Design Academy provides a creative space for talented young minds in the city of Portland. Now, Edwards wants to take his successful academy for high school students and turn it into the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design.

In order to reopen the historically Black institution, Edwards must gain approval from the Michigan Department of Education. Once the school gains approval from the Michigan Department of Education, state legislature must approve the school's designation as an HBCU. Thus far, Edwards and company have garnered the support of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

"As a predominantly Black city, Detroit should have an operating Historically Black College. Not having one has been a hole in our educational landscape for too long," Duggan told the Metro Times.

"To have the first HBCU anywhere to reopen happen in Detroit would be a tremendous demonstration of how our city is coming back as a city of opportunity for people of color."

If state leaders hop on board, the institution will open up in the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education and enrollment is expected to being in December.

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