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‘A Different World’ Cast Takes on Effort to Increase Enrollment at Norfolk State, an HBCU

A DIFFERENT WORLD -- Pictured: (back row, l-r) Glynn Turman as Col. Bradford 'Brad' Taylor, Dawnn Lewis as Jaleesa Vinson Taylor, Lou Myers as Vernon Gaines, Charnele Brown as Kimberly 'Kim' Reese (front row) Kadeem Hardison as Dwayne Cleophus Wayne, Jasmine Guy as Whitley Marion Gilbert Wayne, Darryl M. Bell as Ronald 'Ron' Johnson, Cree Summer as Winifred 'Freddie' Brooks

After more than 20 years since graduation, “A Different World” is going back to an HBCU campus.

In a sharp move for recruitment and social buzz by Norfolk State University, the cast will participate in an upcoming registration fair and college tour on April 16. Not to mention, it is the first time the cast has ever visited a university.

Titled, “It IS A Different World: College Changes EVERYTHING!,” the event is for high schoolers, NSU students and staff — with hosts Kadeem Hardison (Dwayne), Jasmine Guy (Whitley), Cree Summer (Freddie), Charnele Brown (Kim) and Darryl Bell (Ron). It includes a discussion with the cast on the significance of pursuing a good education in the Black community and the incomparable value of attending historically black colleges and universities.

While reportedly educational in nature, with campus tours and discussions on collegiate development from application process to graduation with NSU students and staff, hosting the cast of one Black culture’s iconic sitcoms can guarantee some laughs and entertainment.

After all, it will foster a wave of curious young Black men and women who want to use college as their way to higher achievement.

But some HBCUs are suffering. Atlanta’s Morris Brown College, which is more than a century old, had multiple financial setbacks and lost its accreditation as well as its student base. Now, it is slowly rebuilding its leadership board and on the way to bringing back quality education to the institution.

Plus, lack of student vitality deters those who wish to study at Black colleges, and it also leads to less funding to maintain the institution — which could be harmful for a Black community whose students, research explains, benefit greatly from receiving an education around those who look like them.

NSU’s all-day event, which is sponsored by SunTrust Bank, will benefit the ACCESS College Foundation and Norfolk State’s Honors College.

The registration and campus tour are free and open to the public and will begin at 9 a.m.

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