Black Shoe Designer Reopens HBCU in Detroit

In Summary

Former Nike Designer Dr. D’Wayne Edwards plans on reopening a Historically Black College and University in Detroit.

Former Nike Designer Dr. D’Wayne Edwards plans to reopen Lewis College of Business, a Detroit Historically Black College and University closed since 2013, The Detroit News reported.

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Lewis College of Business originally opened in 1928 in Indiana by Violet T. Lewis as a secretarial school for Black women. However, the school switched locations to Detroit, Michigan in 1939 and continued operations on the west side of the city for nearly 75 years until it closed. 

Edwards, who helped design the iconic Air Jordans, had a vision for restoring this historic university. He has even secured Target and the Gilbert Family Foundation as investors for the new version of the school.  

“Our goal is to establish the first design-focused HBCU,” Edwards said, adding that it would fulfill a need. He said he hoped the school would be embraced by other HBCUs. 

The school will be renamed to PENSOLE Lewis College of Business and Design when it reopens, named after Edwards’s footwear design academy based in Portland, Oregon.  

PENSOLE Lewis College of Business will also have a partnership with the College of Creative Studies.  

This new school will now have to receive approval from the Michigan Department of Education and the state legislature to be recognized as an HBCU in the state. 

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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has fully gotten behind this new school, believing the lack of HBCUs has left a void in the city.  

“As a predominantly Black city, Detroit should have an operating Historically Black College. Not having one has been a hole in our educational landscape for too long,” Duggan said in a statement. “To have the first HBCU anywhere to reopen happen in Detroit would be a tremendous demonstration of how our city is coming back as a city of opportunity for people of color.” 

The new school will not occupy its original space, but instead, it will be located in the College of Creative Studies A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education until its new permanent location is ready. 

 PENSOLE Lewis College of Business’s goal is to open in March of 2022 and become the launching pad for Black creatives, designers, engineers and business leaders.  

Students can apply for enrollment starting in December.  

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