Gov. Whitmer Signs Bill Re-Establishing Michigan's First Historically Black College
Education News

Gov. Whitmer Signs Bill Re-Establishing Michigan’s First Historically Black College

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla

The highly anticipated wait for the reopening of Michigan’s first HBCU is over. Following the initial announcement in October, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has recently signed House Bill 5447 and 5448 to officially move forward with the opening of its doors, according to a press release statement.

“I am proud to play a part in helping reopen the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design in Detroit,” Whitmer said in a press release. “I am committed to expanding educational opportunities for Michiganders across our state to put Michigan first.”

As a collaborative effort, Dr. D’Wayne Edwards, the founder of Pensole Design Academy in Oregon, teamed up with the College for Creative Studies, Target and the Gilbert Family Foundation to bring the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design back to life, BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported. The Gilbert Family Foundation contributed a  $500 million investment to the city of Detroit, which also helped to drive the initiative into motion.

Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design is slated to open in 2022, on the campus of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. The reopening is a means for future generations of Black creatives, business leaders, designers, and engineers to receive equitable skills and access to jobs opportunities.

As the future president of the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design, Edwards hopes to continue to uphold the legacy of Violet T. Lewis, whom the school was originally named after. 

“Thank you to Governor Whitmer and all of our partners for helping the grandchildren of Violet T. Lewis, Pensole and College for Creative Studies establish an HBCU in the state of Michigan,” said Edwards. “Our goal is to celebrate Violet T. Lewis’ life’s work she established in the city of Detroit in 1939.”

“I want to thank Governor Whitmer for taking action to support this pipeline of underserved  talent alongside the countless partners who have stood up to make this a reality,” said Don Tuski, president of College for Creative Studies.  “We can create generations of equitable access to the skills that will lead to good-paying jobs and create products and services that can define the future.”