Kelley named 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar

June 13, 2019

Kenton Kelley, one of 44 students named a 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

On Thursday, the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities announced that our very own Kenton Kelley had been named one of the 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars. Kelley, along with 43 others from 34 other historically black institutions received the Initiative's highest student recognition.

Competitiveness Scholars are nominated or endorsed by their institution's president and are recognized for their academic achievement, community involvement, commitment as campus leaders, and entrepreneurial ethos or “go-getter” spirit.

As a student Kelley continues to commit to the institutional motto, enter to learn; depart to serve. The Charleston native continues to maintain academic excellence and serve while embarking on his undergraduate degree in recreation administration. The rising senior has proven himself to be a deserving recipient of such a distinguished honor.

During his first year at Morris, Kelley served as the 2016-2017 Freshman Class President. He went on to serve as a Student Orientation Leader,  President of the Recreation Administration Club and was recently named the Basileus (President) of the Epsilon Lambda Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated.

His meritorious efforts have also extended beyond the classroom. For the past two years, he has traveled to the U.S. Capitol to advocate for the Communities In Schools Program (CIS). This year he was a panelist at the 2019 Milliken Dialogues and Policy Summit where he voiced his appreciation for CIS and its instrumental sound in expounding the voice of hope amongst at-risk youth.  

Most recently he was selected to participate in the summer 2019 Congressional Internship Program through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF). Throughout the eight-week program, Kelley will work in the Office of the Majority Whip alongside Congressman James E. Clyburn. As an intern, he will receive job-shadowing experience, attend educational seminars and social networking events, and collaborate with like-minded individuals through team building projects.

Competitiveness Scholars will receive their recognition at the HBCU week conference during the Initiative's Excellence in Innovation and Competitiveness Awards luncheon ceremony on Sept. 9.

This year's theme is Enhancing HBCU Competitiveness: Student Achievement. Quality Partnerships. Institutional Performance.

Kelley is one of three scholars selected from South Carolina. 


Charleston- Kenton Kelley, Morris College, Sumter, South Carolina
Edgefield- Desmond Rowe, Allen University, Columbia, South Carolina
Pinewood-Sky Harvin, Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina