Celebrating the Power of an HBCU Education and its Impact on 3M’s Culture
Feb 22, 2021

For 3Mers who graduated from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), the impact of their education on the contributions they bring to work are evident. “Both 3M and my HBCU have a strong focus on collaboration, honesty, integrity and a passion for change,” said Braxton Hooks, a Safety & Industrial Business Group (SIBG) sales representative and graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (N.C. A&T) State University. “As a student, there was a strong encouragement to have integrity and to be honest with all people. It is a pleasure to be a part of a corporation that shares these same values.”

“At an HBCU, your value as a young, black mind is highlighted and endorsed,” shared Traneek Logan, an SIBG sales representative at 3M and Tuskegee University graduate. “You do not have to fight for your voice. You’re placed in an environment that welcomes you to stand on your beliefs, be limitless in your goals and embrace your lineage. My time at Tuskegee prepared me as a woman to be comfortable in my skin, understand what I bring to the table, and encouraged my creative and intellectual mind. I see this at 3M as well.”

For James Montague, a 3M data privacy and global travel and expense IT manager, the core values of innovation, perseverance and honesty that he sees at 3M were carried over from his time at Fisk University. “I believe a key success factor is being in an environment where you are comfortable,” he said. “It helps build confidence and offers support that we need as we continue to grow and learn. I felt that at Fisk and have felt it for 30 years at 3M.”

Providing the opportunity to experience these values during college and carry them long into a career is one of the many reasons 3M is partnering with N.C. A&T State University and UNCF (United Negro College Fund).

As part of 3M’s commitment to investing $50 million to address racial opportunity gaps in STEM and skilled trades education, 3M is gifting $2.1 million to N.C. A&T State University in support of their Equity and Education Initiative (E²I) – a new four-year program aimed at increasing the number of African American college graduates securing careers in fields critical to the nation’s workforce. The program will support undergraduate students with tailored resources and assistance as they pursue degrees in business, engineering and other professional disciplines.

“As the nation’s top-ranked public HBCU, we are committed to producing graduates who are fully prepared to address the challenges and economic needs of our world,” said N.C. A&T State University’s Chancellor, Harold L. Martin Sr. “This contribution from 3M is not only an investment in the education of our students, but also a statement about the value of a diverse workforce.”

In addition, 3M and the UNCF opened applications in January for the UNCF 3M Science. Applied to Life. TM  Scholarship Program – a multi-year, need-based scholarship program to support more than 100 students from St. Paul, Minnesota, as they embark on STEM-related studies at HBCUs or at Florida International University (FIU).

It’s scholarships and programs like these that can lead to life-changing experiences and help provide people in underrepresented communities the space to learn, grow and succeed in institutions that have had positive academic outcomes for Black and African American students. According to UNCF, twenty five percent of African American graduates with STEM degrees come from HBCUs, highlighting the importance of such these critical higher education institutions.

For Remi Kent, chief marketing officer with 3M’s Consumer Business Group, leaving her hometown of Atlanta for an education at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) gave her the independence she needed to grow and mature. “Attending FAMU helped me to better know myself as an African American woman and what it felt like to be my whole self everyday,” said Remi. “I strive to bring my full self to work each day and encourage others on my team to do the same.”

At N.C. A&T, Ricky Bennett, a regional distribution leader with 3M’s SIBG, found that being a student athlete taught him the importance of discipline, collaborating and having clear goals. “I think that both 3M and HBCUs are team centered and family oriented. I attended N.C. A&T State University for four years, and have been working for 3M for 13, and have gained lifelong friends and built longstanding relationships by being connected to both.”

Cordell Hardy, vice president of global R&D, credited his time at FAMU with instilling in him an attitude of service. “The only job scholarship recipients were permitted to take was tutoring, so I took on some hours. Over those last two years at FAMU, continuing into graduate school at the University of Minnesota, I started to appreciate the high honor of being a servant. If you're gifted at something, you give it.” That carries over to 3M, where Cordell is a valued member of 3M’s CEO Inclusion Council.

For more information about 3M’s commitment to addressing racial opportunity gaps in STEM and skilled trades education, check out 3M’s Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report at 3M.com/careers.


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