By Stacy M. Brown,
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent,
(NNPA NEWSWIRE) – In a grand celebration of HBCU excellence, the 2023 Toyota HBCU New York Classic kicks off a week-long extravaganza from Sept. 12-16. The event, billed as the world’s largest HBCU homecoming and one that celebrates HBCU culture, promises various activities beyond the football field, aiming to immerse attendees in the vibrant tapestry of historically Black colleges and universities.
Classic President Albert Williams and other organizers were enthusiastic about the big week.
“We can’t wait to celebrate HBCU football and culture for a full week this fall,” Williams, the president of 1105 Sports, which produces the Classic, said during an appearance on the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s “Let It Be Known” show. “Bringing the game to the New York area allows us to expose youth in New York, New Jersey and beyond to HBCUs and the bigger HBCU community. Our goal is to showcase the HBCU culture and life experience through a full week of events. We want fans, students and alumni from all HBCUs to come out and participate.”
The week’s pinnacle is the showdown between Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) rivals Albany State and Morehouse College. Both teams are gearing up to launch their season with hopes of clinching the SIAC championship, with the introduction of a new divisional format adding an extra layer of excitement. The game will be aired live on CNBC, Peacock and the NBC Sports App on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 3 p.m. EST.
Tuesday, Sept. 12
• Mayor’s Kickoff Lunch, 12–2 p.m. ET
Mayor Eric Adams, Morehouse College President David A. Thomas and Albany State President Marion Ross Fedrick will officially launch the 2023 HBCU New York Classic at Sylvia’s in Harlem, N.Y. This exclusive event sets the tone for an extraordinary week.
• NYC High School Education Day, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. ET
High school sophomores, juniors, seniors and community college students are encouraged to attend. Admissions representatives from Morehouse College and Albany State University will be on hand at the Borough of Manhattan Community College to illuminate the importance of higher education and unveil the exciting programs and experiences HBCUs offer.
Wednesday, Sept. 13
• NJ High School Education Day, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. ET
A similar event will take place at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, with admissions offices from both Morehouse College and Albany State University providing insights into the invaluable opportunities presented by HBCUs.
Thursday, Sept. 14
• “HBCU Inspired” + The Great Debate at the Apollo, 7 – 10 p.m. ET (Doors open at 6 p.m. ET)
Marking the 35th anniversary of Spike Lee’s “School Daze” and “A Different World,” cast members will share their journeys and how HBCUs played a pivotal role. Notable personalities, including Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison and Darryl M. Bell, are scheduled to attend. Additionally, a spirited debate between Rutgers and Morehouse College on affirmative action promises to ignite intellectual sparks.
Friday, Sept. 15
• Greek Step Show, 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. ET (Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ET)
The Divine Nine takes center stage at the New Jersey Institute of Technology for a dazzling performance. This ticketed event guarantees an evening of high-energy entertainment.
Saturday, Sept. 16 (Game Day)
• Yardfest, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The MetLife Stadium’s parking lot transforms into a vibrant tailgate experience. Attendees can revel in full-service tents, offering everything from game tickets to exclusive field and press conference access. HBCU enthusiasts, fraternities, sororities, fans, students and alumni are all invited to partake in the festivities.
• Career Expo, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Lot F of MetLife Stadium will be the site of a career fair featuring major companies like the New York Jets, Wells Fargo, Johnson & Johnson and MetLife, offering upcoming and recent graduates, career seekers and switchers fresh opportunities. This event is open to all, emphasizing the inclusive spirit of HBCUs.
“Our mission is to amplify HBCUs and folks that have been positive in the African-American community,” Williams said. “You don’t have to be an HBCU graduate or African American as long as you’re doing something positive for the African-American community.”
Williams said the event transcends football. He called it a cultural immersion, “a chance to experience what HBCU students and graduates live daily.”
This article was originally published by the NNPA Newswire.