Congratulations to Drake University’s John Dee Bright College graduate, Abena Imhotep

Black Iowa News would like to congratulate all the graduates of 2023 — and one special graduate we wrote about in 2021.

In the fall of 2021, Black Iowa News published the two-part series: ‘Unfastening the Gates’ about Drake University’s John Dee Bright College, which offers two-year associate’s degrees with guaranteed admission to Drake’s bachelor’s degree programs.

The program prioritizes students’ strengths and potential over typical admissions requirements.

Black Iowa News featured Abena Imhotep, one of the degree program’s inaugural cohort of students, who at one time felt Drake wasn’t a place people like her belonged. Today, Imhotep graduated from the program and will remain at Drake to pursue her bachelor’s degree.

Abena, we salute you and all of the 2023 graduates.

Drake University’s John Dee Bright College graduate Abena Imhotep on graduation day. Photo courtesy of Imhotep.

Bright College is named for a Black 1952 Drake graduate, who holds 20 records in three varsity sports, said Bright College Dean Craig Owens, in the series. Bright was viciously attacked during a football game in 1951, which sparked national outrage and raised awareness about the racism felt by Black athletes. He was poised to become the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles’ first Black player, but instead he moved to Canada, played football professionally and worked as a teacher, coach and school administrator, according to Drake. He died in 1983.

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