June 23, 2020

Two Cheyney University Students Selected as 2020 White House HBCU Competitiveness Scholars

Two Cheyney University Students Selected as 2020 White House HBCU Competitiveness Scholars

(CHEYNEY, PA – June 23, 2020) – Two Cheyney University of Pennsylvania students were recently selected by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars – the initiative’s highest student recognition.

Kiyana Roberts, a rising senior, and Kevin Mwangi, a rising sophomore, join 42 other students from 33 HBCUs that will be part of the 2020-2021 cohort of Competitiveness Scholars. They were selected to join this elite list for their determination, resilience and commitment to excellence inside the classroom and out, which they continued to present and achieve even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Kiyana and Kevin are exceptional, distinguished students that maintain a high-level of academic performance while providing outstanding leadership through their roles on and off campus,” said Cheyney University President Aaron A. Walton. “They are dedicated to learning, improving the communities around them, and creating a successful path forward that helps all students achieve their goals.”

“We are extremely proud of Kiyana and Kevin and know they will apply their knowledge and skills to help lead important national discussions on behalf of Cheyney University.”

Throughout the upcoming academic year, Roberts and Mwangi will take part in virtual events hosted by federal and non-federal organizations where they will explore and exchange ideas, and share best practices around leadership, professional development and career pathways.

Roberts, who is from Jersey City, NJ, is majoring in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management and minoring in Recreation and Leisure Management. She is a first-generation college student and the oldest of four children. Along with being a Humphreys Scholar, she has been involved in Cheyney athletics, volunteer roles, campus jobs and several leadership positions throughout her college experience.

She was recently the 47th Miss Cheyney University for the 2019-20 academic year, President and Vice President of the Cheyney University Chapter of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH), and Keystone Honors Council Secretary. She will also be serving as the Vice Chair on the NSMH National Board and the Marketing Director on the Student Government Association at Cheyney. Her goal is to become a regional manager for a multinational hotel company, eventually operating entire hotel chains.

“As a representative of the oldest HBCU in the nation and the only student from New Jersey to be selected, I will wear this bade with honor,” said Roberts. “I look forward to joining a cohort of phenomenal individuals as we utilize our unique skills to ensure HBCUs and their students are well represented in higher education across the nation. Cheyney University has taught me to live a life of high achievement and it has allowed me to reach great heights of performance and success.”

Mwangi, who is from Easton, PA, is majoring in Business Administration Management. He is a member of Cheyney University’s Keystone Honors Academy, which seeks to graduate students who are academically accomplished, visionary leaders and responsible citizens. During his first year, he was involved in several service projects on campus and in the extended community.

In today’s world of constant change and developments unfolding, Mwangi sees the importance of knowing who you are, what you stand for, and what you believe in. His aspirations are to make an impact on a grand scale through his businesses, resources, voice and abilities. His goal is to become a philanthropist to make the world and society a better place.

“Being a Cheyney University student is an experience that is special and unique,” said Mwangi. “I believe being at the first HBCU provides you with all the opportunities and resources at your disposal. Representing an HBCU Competitiveness Scholar is an opportunity I am grateful to God for, my family and the administration of Cheyney University that has supported me throughout the process.”

Scholars were chosen based on their academic achievements, campus and civic involvement, and entrepreneurial ethos. Comprised of undergraduate, graduate, professional students, and international students from various academic backgrounds, the 2020 scholars were selected from among several highly distinguished HBCU students. In addition, each recognized scholar was nominated and endorsed by their institution president, which itself is a prestigious acknowledgement.

Competitiveness Scholars typically assemble during the annual National HBCU Week Conference. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, scholars will not be able to convene in Washington, D.C., for the National Recognition Program in the fall. Plans are underway for an online recognition and virtual campaign to ensure the scholars receive their acknowledgement during the 2020 Virtual HBCU Week Conference.


About Cheyney – Founded in 1837, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is the nation’s oldest historically Black institution of higher education. Building on this legacy, the vision for Cheyney is to become the premier model for academic excellence, character development, and social responsibility among not only

Historically Black Colleges and Universities, but in all of American higher education. The campus is located on 275 acres straddling Delaware and Chester Counties. Read more at www.cheyney.edu.