The Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind global innovation and learning hub for historically Black colleges and universities, was created this past summer to support HBCU students and faculty through a robust virtual platform, a physical campus in the historic Atlanta University Center, as well as on-campus activations at partner institutions. The Propel Center, which is supported by $25 million grants from Apple, Inc. and Southern Company, aims to provide HBCU students with virtual and physical pathways for propelling their leadership development, entrepreneurial endeavors, and community impact.
The Propel Center is designed to provide innovative curricula, advanced technology support, unprecedented career and leadership opportunities, strategic resources, preparation, and access across the Black collegiate community to support their work in producing the next generation of leaders who will champion equity, justice, and entrepreneurship. Among the available curriculum options will be mobile app development, agricultural technologies, augmented reality, social justice, and entertainment arts, along with career preparation and entrepreneurship tracks.
The center has named Gene Wade as chief executive officer. Wade most recently served as founder and CEO of Honors Pathway in Oakland, California, a social venture that enables low-income students to attend their first year of college at no cost while receiving over 500 hours of in-person coaching and mentoring.
“I’ve dedicated my career to building innovative education solutions, business models, and technology platforms that directly address the preparation challenges facing African American and low-income students,” says Wade. “Propel represents a unique opportunity to continue this work, and help radically transform how we prepare students to lead and participate in the innovation economy.”
Wade is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School.