Culture of Excellence:Collegiate 100 Honored Nationally

Mentoring, academic excellence, personal health and economic empowerment are the areas of focus for young African American students belonging to Armstrong's Collegiate 100, a chapter of The 100 Black Men of Savannah that was recognized by the national organization, 100 Black Men of America, as runner-up Collegiate 100 Chapter of 2011.

It is a big accomplishment for the two-year old chapter at Armstrong with 16 active members.

“This is a huge honor and this recognition speaks to the caliber of the young men we have on campus,” said Armstrong staff member Fernando Foster, who advises the chapter along with Wayne Johnson, associate professor of engineering.

Like the 100 Black Men of Savannah, the Collegiate 100's core mission is to mentor young people in Savannah and help them succeed in school, work and in life. Education, economic success, and leadership development is what they instill in youngsters across the region.

“We see it as our duty to give back to the community especially through mentoring, which is our focus, and we know that there's a need for mentoring in the Savannah community,” said Oluwayomi Adeyemo, immediate past president of the chapter and engineering student who hails from Nigeria.

Adeyemo and current chapter president Kwame Phillips, along with other members of the chapter have for the past year mentored children at West Chatham Middle School, East Broad Elementary, and White Bluff Elementary. They always show up sharply dressed in business attire.

“We speak to them about expectations and the importance of doing their work,” said Adeyemo. “Some of these kids don't often see older men in suits having these conversations with them.”

The Collegiate 100 has also been heavily involved with community service projects throughout the academic year and raised over $5,000 in funds to benefit local organizations, fund scholarships and support their own program initiatives. In addition to these efforts, members also drive themselves to maintain academic excellence.

Johnson, the engineering professor and advisor, instills in chapter members a culture of excellence in all they do.

“We talk to them about steering the ship away from embracing mediocrity and achieving academic excellence as a way to have an impact and be able to change the course in the lives of young people,” he said.

For current president Phillips, getting the national recognition, which includes a $1,500 grant to the chapter, is gratifying. “It shows that hard work, dedication and excellence pays off.”

Both Adeyemo and Phillips will travel to San Francisco, Calif. in June to be recognized during the national conference of 100 Black Men of America.