Hennessy joined forces with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to create a fellowship for graduate students who attend HBCUs.

The Hennessy Fellows program will award scholarships and professional development resources to 10 deserving graduate students, according to a press release. Over a decade, Hennessy will provide $10 million to fund the initiative.

The program will also look to help students who are often overlooked by financial aid programs.

"The issue of financial aid is not only limited to undergraduate students on our HBCU campuses. Limited resources for graduate students also lead to student drop off," said Dr. David Wilson, the president of Morgan State University, one of the schools participating in the program.

“Hennessy's initiative will be a lifeline of support providing more opportunities for graduate students that are often forgotten."

Only 8.6% of Fortune 500 executives were Black in 2018. Hennessy Senior Vice President Giles Woodyer hopes the program will diversify the corporate world.

"Continuing a heritage of support and celebration of the African American community that began over one hundred years ago, Hennessy is excited to partner with TMCF to help ensure more diversity in leadership roles," said Woodyer. "The immediate goal of the Hennessy Fellows program is to create a pipeline of highly qualified talent over the next 10 years and help prepare these future leaders for success."

TMCF President and CEO Dr. Harry L. Williams called the program a “major game-changer.”

“The next 10 years, there’s going to be a pipeline to get them in major corporate slots,” he said in a promotional video. “These students will be connected with Hennessy. To have that brand attached to you, it’s amazing what that signifies.”

The program will provide more than scholarship money. Planned services include individualized executive coaching, an annual scholarship award, a stipend for other costs, a chance to compete for a community grant and access to online forums and professional development events.

Interested graduate students must be at least 21 years of age and possess a 3.25 GPA or higher. Scholars cannot have a full-time job while they are enrolled in the program.

Hennessy Fellows is currently accepting applications for the fall 2019 semester.

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