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NEW YORK, May 13, 2020 – Like most academic institutions around the country, Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been forced to cancel or postpone graduation ceremonies due to the COVID-19 outbreak. To celebrate the achievements of more than 27,000 students, Black leaders and 78 schools are joining forces virtually during the “Show Me Your Walk HBCU Edition” commencement event presented by Chase on May 16 at 2:00 pm ET.
President Barack Obama will share a special message during the event. Hosted by Kevin Hart, guest appearances for the 2-hour event will include Steve Harvey, Chase Consumer Banking CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett, Ariel Investments Co-CEO and President Mellody Hobson, National Urban League president, Marc Morial, and academic leaders from participating HBCUs. Other participants include Chris Paul, Vince Carter, Debbie Allen and Vivica Fox.
The virtual commencement will also include performances by Anthony Hamilton, Wyclef Jean, and other musical guests—as well as a drumline mash-up featuring Doug E. Fresh.
The 2-hour event will be live-streamed on Chase’s YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn channels, as well as HBCU Connect’s Facebook page and Essence Studios. More information is available on chase.com/hbcustudent, including a list of participating schools.
During the event, HBCUs will showcase and highlight past and current graduates, including Class of 2020 students from Howard University, Delaware State, Paul Quinn College, Florida Memorial College and Texas Southern Law Center.
“Every student graduating in the Class of 2020 deserves to celebrate this moment—they earned it, even more so during a challenging year for our country and the world. We are showing up for them because we recognize they are our now and our future, and the way forward is full of opportunity,” said Duckett.
The idea for hosting a virtual commencement ceremony for HBCU students was conceived by Dr. Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College (PQC) and member of the ABP Advisory Council. Additional organizers for the event include Howard University, The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the NBA. Essence is supporting the event as a live streaming partner.
“As a result of COVID-19, our students have been robbed of a moment that they and their families have earned,” Sorrell said. “I am so grateful that this coalition of partners stepped up to answer the call of the HBCU community and stand in the gap for our students and their families.”
JPMorgan Chase is supporting “Show Me Your Walk HBCU Edition” through its Advancing Black Pathways (ABP) initiative, created to help black communities close historical achievement gaps in three key areas: wealth creation, educational outcomes and career success. Support for HBCUs is a core focus for JPMorgan Chase because of the vital role they continue to play in helping African Americans forge pathways to long-term success. The first HBCUs were founded before the Civil War, and these institutions educated generations of African Americans during a period when other colleges and universities would not.
Today, HBCUs produce 70% of African American doctors and dentists, 50% of black lawyers and 80% of black judges. HBCU graduates can also expect work-life earnings of $130 billion—an additional $927,000 per graduate, 56 percent more than they could expect to earn without their HBCU degrees or certificates, according to UNCF.
“Historically Black Colleges and Universities remain a critical resource in educating our young people and putting them on a path to lasting and rewarding careers,” said Sekou Kaalund, the Head of ABP. “Here at JPMorgan Chase, we are firmly committed to supporting HBCUs and helping them continue a tradition of excellence that has helped generations of black people achieve academic and professional success.
Coach Keldrick McKinney is a native of Dallas, Texas who enters his third year as the Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach at Paul Quinn College. After serving one year as Associate Head Coach under the leadership of Coach Maurice West; Coach McKinney was given the opportunity by Paul Quinn’s legendary Athletic Director James “Zip” Summers.
The program has quickly grown from 3 to now 25 student athletes under the leadership of Coach McKinney. In the second year of competing at the Red River Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships, the Paul Quinn Tigers placed two athletes in the Top 10.
Coach McKinney received his bachelor’s in Kinesiology from Prairie View A&M University. After graduation he then opened a training facility where he trained hundreds of athletes. This provided the background and experience for Coach to thrive at the next level. Coach McKinney’s student-athletes not only excel on the track but also in the classroom as well. Coach McKinney’s team maintains over a 3.0 gpa.
Coach Michael Delgado has been coaching at the collegiate level since 2009. He began his coaching career at Howard Payne University, shortly after starting his time there as a collegiate soccer player. He began as a student coach and after graduating with a degree in Spanish Education, became an assistant.
In 2015, Coach Delgado moved back to Dallas to form the Men’s and Women’s Soccer program at Paul Quinn College as the assistant coach and became the head coach of the Women’s team in 2017. From 2015-2021 he was also the Men’s assistant coach.
In 2021, Coach Delgado took over the Men’s program and led the team as the #3 seed (highest in school history) to the USCAA National Championship for the 3rd year in a row, with a 3rd place finish.
Coach Delgado is a Dallas native and graduated from Mesquite Poteet High School as a district MVP & All-State. He holds his Master’s degree from Concordia University in Coaching & Athletic Administration. He resides in the campus neighborhood of Highland Hills and lives daily by his motto, #AlwaysRefuse2Lose.
Brandon Espinosa starts his fourth season as Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Paul Quinn College.
Last season, Coach Espinosa and the Tigers had a historic 19 game turnaround from the previous year going from 7-25 to 26-2 (12-2 RRAC). Coach Espinosa led the 2021-2022 Tigers to the school’s first USCAA Men’s Division I National Championship and the 3rd overall national championship in school history. The Tigers also won the Red River Athletic Conference West (RRAC) regular season title for the first time since joining the conference in 1998. The Tigers finished the 2021-2022 season with the most RRAC wins and highest winning percentage in a season in program history.
The Tigers were the No. 1 seed at USCAA Nationals and had a dominant showing with 3 double digits wins. The championship game featured seven ties and ten lead changes. After trailing by four at half, 38-34, Bryant & Stratton led 67-65 with 6:33 left in the game. Henry Hampton hit a jumper a minute later to give Paul Quinn the lead to highlight a 10-0 run to seal the victory for the Tigers. Ja’Mare Redus led PQC with 18 points while Hampton finished with 17. Spencer McElway added 12, Ja’Mere Redus came off the bench and scored 11, and Steven Tynes chipped in seven points and nine assists.
While the team’s collective efforts were the deciding factor in their success, several outstanding individuals led them both on and off the court. Coach Brandon Espinosa was recognized as the USCAA National Coach of the Year. In addition, senior forward Spencer McElway was selected as a USCAA 1st Team All American, USCAA All Tournament Team and RRAC 2nd Team All Conference. Sophomore forward Trevoin Shaw was voted USCAA 1st Team All American, USCAA All Tournament Team and RRAC 1st Team All Conference. Sophomore guard Ja’mare Redus received USCAA Tournament MVP as well as USCAA 2nd Team All American Honors. Sophomore guard Torron Mingo Jr. earned the USCAA Academic All American award. Junior guard Caleb Thompson received the RRAC Champions of Character award.
During his first season with Paul Quinn, Espinosa led the Tigers to the most conference victories since 2012-2013. In addition, PQC had two players receive RRAC All Conference honors; Spencer McElway was 1st Team All RRAC and Mateo Escheik received 2nd Team All RRAC honors. McElway also joined the schools 1000-point club.
Espinosa also serves as the Director of EYBL and 17U Head Coach for Drive Nation which was founded by former NBA All-Star Jermaine O’Neal. This summer Drive Nation qualified for the 2021 Nike Peach Jam and currently has the most ESPN Top 100 ranked players in the country.
Espinosa has held coaching positions at Bossier Parish Community College, Ranger College and with the Dallas Mavericks NBA G-League affiliate, Texas Legends.
Espinosa is a native of Houston, Texas. He played collegiately for Dallas Christian College, where in 2010 they won the ACCA National Championship. Espinosa earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2011.
Paul Quinn did not compete in 2020-2021 due to Covid-19.
Camille Smith is in her first season at Paul Quinn College.
Smith was hired in early March and her most recent position was as an Assistant Coach for the WNBA Dallas Wings.
Prior to coaching, Smith played professionally for 10 seasons internationally and 12 seasons in the WNBA before retiring in 2019. Smith was drafted to the San Antonio Silver Stars in the 2007 WNBA Draft as the 17th Overall pick. Amid the start of the 2008 WNBA season, Smith was selected in the Atlanta Dream dispersal draft before being traded to the Seattle Storm where Smith played and won a championship in 2010! In 2015 Smith was traded to the Connecticut Sun, then to the Phoenix Mercury in 2017, where she finished her career.
Internationally, Smith played on multiple teams in Israel (2015 Israel League Champion) and China. She also played in Turkey, Limassol, Cyrpus, Ragusa, Sicily (2016 Cup Champion), Lebanon (2017 Arab Cup Champion), Montpelier, France, and Venice, Italy (2018 Euro Cup runner-up).
As a former student-athlete at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Camille graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in interpersonal communications. A four-time All-ACC selection, she finished her college career with over 1,700 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists, and 250 steals. As a senior, Camille averaged 13.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game along with 99 steals to help the Tar Heels reach the Final Four. Camille is ranked among the top 20 all-time scorers at UNC and was named Honorable Mention All-American by the Associated Press following her junior year. She averaged 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds as a junior. As a sophomore, Camille averaged 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in the ACC tournament, including a 23-point game against Duke in the finals. In 2004, she was named ACC Rookie of the Year and was the only freshman selected as a finalist for Kodak All-American honor. Camille became the first Tar Heel to be named first-team All-ACC as a freshman.
In high school, Camille was named Associated Press NC Player of the Year and NC Miss Basketball (Class 3A; 2003). Camille was also awarded State Player of the Year by the Charlotte Observer and NC Gatorade Player of the Year (2002 and 2003). In 2001, Camille shared AP Player of the Year honors at Carver High School and helped her team finish with a 30-0 record and State Championship. Camille is a three-time All-State Selection and averaged 20.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game during her senior year. She holds the record of 2,168 career points during her high school career, was a McDonald’s High School All-American, and played in the 2002 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival. Camille was also named Piedmont Triad All-Conference, four years in a row, and Piedmont Triad Conference Player of the Year, three years in a row.
Camille Smith & her husband Jeremis Smith are happily married & live in the Historical Stop 6 Community.
Coach Patrick Gonzalez is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. He has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with emphasis in Criminal Justice from Texas Wesleyan University. He also has a M.Ed. in Sports Administration from Concordia University in Austin, Texas. He has coached volleyball for over thirteen years. He has coached on the high school, club, and collegiate level.
He currently coaches for 360 Volleyball Club in Arlington, Texas. Coach Gonzalez brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Paul Quinn College volleyball program. He served as the women’s assistant volleyball coach at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee for five seasons. While at Fisk University, Coach Gonzalez served as an Admissions Counselor and Director of International Student Services in the Office of Student Engagement. He has also worked at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and served as the Associate Director of Minority Outreach in the Office of Admissions. He most recently was selected into the Big XII Reach & Teach Volleyball Diversity Program.