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FRANKFORT — A panel discussing the Atwood Institute at Kentucky State University will be featured at the SXSW EDU Conference & Festival in March in Austin, Texas.

Panelists will include Atwood Institute founder and Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II and Atwood Institute Director Dr. Crystal A. deGregory. HBCU Digest Founder Jarrett L. Carter Sr. will moderate.

“Securing a spot on an international stage like SXSW EDU is a huge win for the Atwood Institute and Kentucky State University,” deGregory said. “It is not often that we’re given an opportunity to share our story with this many people in a place and space where it is not typically told. President Brown and I are excited to share both the aspirational goals of the Institute, as well as its place at Kentucky State. “

According to deGregory, the Atwood Institute is an extension of Kentucky State’s vision and the HBCU mission and advances scholarship relevant to the nation’s more than 100 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) by focusing on the delicate condition of Black America and other marginalized populations.

deGregory describes the Atwood Institute as part-talent incubator, part-research hub, part-town square and part-conscience for the HBCU community and is an entry point for discussions about the very best of HBCU culture.

She said the aim of the SXSWedu panel is to impart a working or keen understanding of HBCUs nationwide and to empower attendees to identify and support existing efforts of HBCU advocacy while challenging attendees to create or support the creation of forward-thinking initiatives elsewhere.

The primary audience for the panel, according to deGregory, are higher education professionals interested in the 21st-century leadership role of HBCUs in tackling the most pressing current issues.

Panels for the conference were selected through a crowd-sourcing platform, deGregory said. Community crowd-sourcing made up 30 percent of the selection process.

According to the SXSW EDU website, “the eighth-annual SXSW EDU will return to Austin, March 5-8, 2018, for four days of compelling sessions, in-depth workshops, engaging learning experiences, mentorship, film screenings, startup events, policy discussions, competitions, exhibitions, networking and so much more.”


Kentucky State University, building on its legacy of achievement as a historically black, liberal arts, and 1890 Land Grant University affords access to and prepares a diverse population of traditional and non-traditional students through high-quality undergraduate and select graduate programs. Located in Kentucky, KSU offers associate (two-year) degrees in two disciplines, baccalaureate (four-year) degrees in 24 disciplines, master’s degrees in eight disciplines, and one advanced practice doctorate in nursing. KSU has 129 full-time instructional faculty members and more than 2,000 students.