Benedict College has made history as the first historically Black college and university to offer an undergraduate degree in the growing eSports industry.
Earlier this month, the school expanded on its investment into eSports by announcing a new degree program aimed at preparing students for careers in the virtual field.
“In keeping with Benedict’s strategic plan to offer transformational learning experiences, our innovative Esports Administration curriculum is designed to prepare students to create new applications and to engage in all facets of the industry,” Benedict College Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Janeen Witty, told WIS News 10.
The Columbia, South Carolina-based school is already the first HBCU to host an Esports competition in addition to being the first HBCU with an esports gaming room. Now with their undergraduate degree program, Benedict College will offer minors and certifications in partnership with Blaze Fire Games.
The Blaze Fire partnership also helped the school start its esports club for Madden and NCAA College Football tournaments.
“We are blazing trails,” Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President of Benedict College said.
Benedict is following in the steps of Syracuse University, which also has an eSports team, and Northwood and The Ohio State University who also launched eSports degree programs.
“It is a billion-dollar industry, it’s growing every year, and there is more opportunities, especially for African Americans and people of color in esports,” Dr. Paula Shelby, head of Benedict College’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department, told WACH Fox 57 News.
Matthew Drapeau started as an esports professor at Benedict College last fall and has been helping students embark on careers in esports marketing, broadcasting, and program development.
“You’re learning emotional control, problem-solving skills, as you come up with things, building things, and critical thinking skills, you can learn cybersecurity skills,” Drapeau said.
“We’re here to make a change. We’re here to put black faces in all colors of the scale into esports,” said Kylah Montgomery, a double art major at Benedict College.