Clark Atlanta University Partners with Propel Center, a New Global HBCU Headquarters for Innovation

01/13/2021

ATLANTA, GA (January 13, 2021) - Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is proud to announce its partnership with Propel Center, a new global campus headquartered in Atlanta that will support innovative learning and development for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide. Clark Atlanta University will collaborate with Propel Center and the entire HBCU community to bring leadership and career development programming to its students. 

Propel Center was imagined and designed by Ed Farm, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing education through technology — with Apple and Southern Company supporting the project as founding partners. The Propel Center is designed to connect HBCU students to technology curriculum, cultural thought leaders, entrepreneurship skills development, and accelerator programs, with a focus on social justice and equity. 

The first-of-its-kind initiative will serve as a hub for all 100+ HBCUs, and is designed to connect students and faculty from across the community and provide them with the knowledge, skills, tools and resources necessary to transform our nation’s talent pipeline and workforce. Curriculum options will include AI and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creativity, career preparation, and entrepreneurship tracks. 

“Propel represents the most inclusive, game changing and collaborative partnership that I have witnessed within my 17 years as both college and university president. Propel will provide HBCU student-scholars across the country access to cutting-edge technology, resources, and programming to be globally competitive across multidisciplinary disciplines and career trajectories said, CAU President and Chair of the Atlanta University Center Consortium Council of Presidents George T. French Jr. Additionally, French noted, “Propel will serve HBCUs across the country in an unprecedented collaborative. This multi-million-dollar public-private partnership will serve as exemplar, with reverberations affecting generations.” 

Students from participating schools will access Propel Center’s online digital learning platform from anywhere, and will also have access to the 50,000 square-foot Propel Center headquarters in Atlanta, equipped with state-of-the-art lecture halls, learning labs, and on-site living for a scholars-in-residence program. 

“The HBCU community is a tremendous engine of Black creativity, entrepreneurship, and inclusive opportunity,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. "We are thrilled to join with partners and community stakeholders to support the Propel Center and be part of this groundbreaking new global hub for HBCU innovation and learning, devoted to helping faculty create best-in-class curriculum and ensuring students have access to cutting-edge skills.” 

“We know inequities exist in our society, and it’s up to each of us to be more intentional in our efforts to make a difference and bridge the gap,” said Tom A. Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. “We know more must be done, and the establishment of the Propel Center is another important demonstration of Southern Company fulfilling our commitment to move our communities to a more equitable future. Partnering with Apple in this initiative is an exciting way to connect future leaders with these critical resources.” 

“These investments are critical as we begin to truly scale Black innovation ecosystems,” said Anthony Oni, chairman, Ed Farm. “By leveraging technology and partnerships to connect students with unique learning opportunities, we can lift up the talent that already exists at these institutions of higher learning and accelerate their development. In doing so, we will have a hand in shaping the workforce of the future — and the leaders of tomorrow.” 

Additional information on Propel Center can be found at PropelCenter.org. 

About Clark Atlanta University 

Clark Atlanta University was formed with the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College, both of which hold unique places in the annals of African-American history. Atlanta University, established in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, was the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African-Americans. Clark College, established four years later in 1869, was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African-American student population. Today, with nearly 4,000 students, CAU is the largest of the four institutions (CAU, Morehouse College, Spelman College and Morehouse School of Medicine) that comprise the Atlanta University Center Consortium. It is also the largest of the 37-member UNCF institutions. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson; American civil rights activist, poet and song writer, (Lift Every Voice and Sing “The Black National Anthem”; Ralph David Abernathy Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit www.cau.edu.