By AFRO Staff
Bowie State University, Maryland’s oldest HBCU, will start a new tradition this week as the campus prepares for the installation of Aminta Hawkins Breaux, the first woman president in the campus’ 153-year history.
“I am very proud and honored to be the first. I see great opportunity as woman and as an African-American woman at the helm,” Breaux told the AFRO. “First and foremost, I have the opportunity to inspire other young women to aspire to senior leadership roles. Women continue to lag behind in the statistics for senior executive positions in higher education, among Fortune 500 companies and in boardrooms across the country.”
Breaux joined the Bowie Bulldogs as president in July 2017. She hails from Pennsylvania with a background in fundraising, alumni engagement, external relations and student and academic affairs. Breaux served as both vice president for advancement and student affairs at Millersville University in Lancaster County, Pa.
Breaux jumped right into the job of securing the campus’ existing partnerships and establishing new ones to fuel Bowie’s growth. The campus has experienced a surge in enrollment in recent years and currently leads Maryland’s HBCU’s in graduation rates, according to the latest report from the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
“As the demographics change and technology broadens our scope to a global community, it’s incumbent upon BSU to continually strive to meet those changing needs for the diversity of learners as well as for the diversity of the workforce,” Breaux said.
In the months since she has taken the reins of leadership at Bowie, Breaux has developed “Racing to Excellence,” a vision statement outlining her plans to expand the academic and co-curricular success of Bowie’s student population, while securing the viability of the institution and capitalizing on its strategic location between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Breaux wants to build on the vitality and international diversity of the region as the campus grows in stature.
“We have a growing population of international students that hail from Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, and we are seeking to expand our international student population for the value that our students and we all gain through the inclusion of diversity of cultures, perspectives and thought,” she said.
Breaux will continue to honor Bowie’s legacy as the state’s first historically Black college while reaching out to new populations who Breaux believes want to experience the close-knit, welcoming campus community founded in 1865 as a school in Baltimore before moving to the wooded tract of land it now occupies in Prince George’s County in the early 20th century.
“It is because of our early beginnings that we recognize as a culture the need to provide access to those who aspire to higher education,” she said. “There is a home here for all students eager for the race to excellence.”
Bowie State is hosting a weeklong celebration for Breaux’s installation starting Sunday, April 8 with a gospel concert featuring Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music.
April 9: President Breaux will join students at Whitehall Elementary School to thank community partners.
April 10: Bowie State University’s 153rd Annual Founders Day, featuring Yohance Maqubela, son of activist Dick Gregory, will begin at 10 a.m. At 7 p.m., an Inaugural Dance Concert will feature performances by students from BSU, the Paula Brown Performing Arts Center and Center for Visual and Performing Arts at Suitland High School.
April 12: The Installation Ceremony will commence at 11 a.m. in the Leonidas S. James Physical Education Complex, followed by the Racing to Excellence Scholarship Gala at 7 p.m. at Camelot by Martin’s in Upper Marlboro, Md.