The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and Founder Taraji P. Henson Expand Partnership with Kate Spade New York to Bring Culturally Competent Mental Health Services to Women at Hampton University

To continue their shared goal of destigmatizing the mental health conversation in the Black community, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and kate spade new york bring the first-of-its-kind “She Care Wellness Pods” to a second HBCU campus this Fall.

NEW YORK, NY (September 13, 2023) This fall, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF) and kate spade new york proudly announce the expansion of their joint program, the “She Care Wellness Pods”, which aims to reach over 25,000 Black women on HBCU campuses with frontline mental wellness care. After a successful inaugural launch at Alabama State University in April of this year, BLHF and kate spade are expanding the initiative to a second HBCU campus location, Hampton University in Virginia.

Through this groundbreaking program for HBCU students, BLHF and kate spade new york, in partnership with trusted Hampton University community resources, bring access to mental health facilities and resources directly to Black women on campus. The multifaceted program features the opening of “She Care Wellness Pods – physical structures installed on campuses that offer a range of services, including:

  • Free mental health therapy sessions for female students experiencing an exacerbation of stress, anxiety and hopelessness.
  • Hangout spaces that allow students to connect with peers or avoid isolation and grief during the school year and vacation periods. 
  • Unique programming including yoga, meditation, art and drama therapy, African dance, nutrition and more, all provided by certified practitioners.
  • Workshops that offer resources and tools for those who suffer with anxiety, sleep deprivation and insomnia.
  • Quiet spaces for silence, rest and respite to reset from daily stressors.

Founded in 2018, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation’s mission is to eradicate the stigma around mental health in the Black community. As a leading Black mental health advocacy group, BLHF provides competent therapy and integrated wellness resources. For kate spade new york, women’s empowerment has been at the forefront of the brand’s purpose for over a decade and remains a core pillar of the brand. This year, kate spade and the kate spade new york Foundation will invest $5 million in programming to further destigmatize the mental health conversation and continue to provide services to women and girls in need. By continuing to expand the “She Care Wellness Pods” initiative, the joint partnership aims to provide 25,000 Black women on HBCU college campuses with frontline mental healthcare.

“When we first had the idea to create the Boris L. Henson Foundation Self-Care Wellness Pods, I knew we had to start with women, and specifically women on HBCU campuses. I can remember through my own experiences with stress and anxiety, not having the adequate support to deal with my issues or the education to name what I was experiencing,” said BLHF Founder, Taraji P. Henson. “Black women, from a very young age, are taught to be strong and dismiss their own suffering,  tending to the needs of family and community often at the expense of their own well-being. The She Care Wellness pods seek to change this narrative,” says BLHF Executive Director, Tracie Jade. “Our shared vision and partnership with kate spade new york has been vital in promoting conversations and offering support to students to take care of their mental health, starting with our successful launch of She Care Wellness pods at Alabama State University. We are proud to open our second installment at Hampton University this fall,” Henson stated.   

“At kate spade new york, we believe that mental health is foundational to women’s empowerment, and recognize that it has long been under-acknowledged, underfunded, and stigmatized.  We are committed to increasing accessibility of mental health resources to women and girls around the globe through our social impact work and trusted partners in this space,” said kate spade new york CEO and Brand President, Liz Fraser. “We are proud to expand our partnership with Taraji, Tracie and The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. By offering space and resources dedicated to mental health, together we can create a positive difference for young women on HBCU campuses and in their communities.”

“The health and wellbeing of our Hampton University community is of the utmost importance,” Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams expressed. “We take a holistic approach to education and, as such, we are honored to partner with the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and kate spade new york on the She Care Wellness Pods, positioning our students with additional resources for mental wellness, helping to prioritize the importance of mental health within our communities.

“Hampton University is proud to be a recipient of the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation’s Wellness Pods,” said Kristie Norwood, Ph.D., director, HU Student Counseling Center. “One out of five adults are affected by mental health diagnoses and 39% of college students experience a significant mental health issue. It is our mission, at the HU Student Counseling Center, to  help normalize therapy within the Black community, and to educate our students on the importance of self-care and mental health awareness. The Wellness Pods will be part of a multi-faceted approach to ensuring the health and wellness of our students.”

Each She Care Wellness Pod is designed to create an environment that stimulates joy, peace and serenity through intentional design and color selection. The mural is a reflection of each campuses’ unique identity, from the perspective of the student body.  One student is selected by each campus leadership team to design the mural that is painted on the outside of the containers.  The intention of the mural is to reflect the diversity of women and intersecting identities within the local study body.

“The piece I have created reflects the importance of watering yourself based upon what your body and mind need,” said Hampton University student and mural artist T’Kiyah Reeves. “As women, we must prioritize our wellness.  We must treat our minds with the same love, care, compassion and grace we would give to a tangible seedling to support its growth into something beautiful.”

As a member of kate spade new york’s Social Impact Council, which was established in January 2022, Taraji P. Henson, has continued her work with the global lifestyle brand to increase mental health resources. Alongside other social impact members, including Sofia Wylie and Jazz Thorton and Latham Thomas and more, the cohort brings unique expertise and work hand-in-hand with kate spade to propel positive change, and encourage more conversation, education and research around the cause.

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and kate spade new york will launch their second “She Care Wellness Pod” at Hampton University, a historically Black university in Hampton, Virginia. The on-campus mental health destination will officially open to Hampton University students on November 2, allowing the community to take advantage of increased mental health resources and access.

About The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation:

Founded in 2018, BLHF has built its reputation on providing trusted referrals and demonstrating a deep understanding of the population health of communities of Color. Through timely and relevant programming and awareness campaigns, BLHF encourages mental wellness, raises awareness of the stigma and the use of stigmatizing language when referring to mental illness, and provides mental health resources to the Black community.

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is charting a new course that encourages Black individuals to own their history, heritage, and collective wounds in empowering, empathic, and transformative ways.

For more information, visit

About kate spade new york:

Since its launch in 1993 with a collection of six essential handbags, Kate Spade New York has always stood for color, wit, optimism, and femininity. Today, it is a global lifestyle brand synonymous with joy, delivering seasonal collections of handbags, ready-to-wear, jewelry, footwear, gifts, home décor and more. Known for its rich heritage and unique brand DNA, Kate Spade New York offers a distinctive point of view, and celebrates communities of women around the globe who live their perfectly imperfect lifestyles. Kate Spade New York is part of the Tapestry house of brands.

About Hampton University:

Rich in history, steeped in tradition, Hampton University is a dynamic, progressive institution of higher education, providing a broad range of technical, liberal arts, and graduate degree programs. In addition to being one of the top historically black universities in the world, Hampton University is a tightly-knit community of learners and educators, representing 49 states and 35 territories and nations.

For more information, visit https://

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Vice President Harris Launches Nationwide “Fight for Our Freedoms College Tour” to Mobilize Students and Young People in the Fight for Their Rights

 At around a dozen schools across at least seven states, the Vice President will bring thousands of students together around the fight for reproductive freedom, common sense gun safety laws, climate action, voting rights, LGBTQ+ equality, and teaching America’s full history. 


WASHINGTON Thursday, September 7, 2023 – As students across the nation return to school, Vice President Kamala Harris will embark on a month-long college tour throughout America to mobilize young people in the ongoing fight for fundamental freedoms and rights. She is set to visit around a dozen campuses in at least seven states as she brings together thousands of students for high-energy, large-scale events. The Vice President’s flurry of “Fight for Our Freedoms College Tour” stops will focus on key issues that disproportionately impact young people across the country – from reproductive freedom and gun safety to climate action, voting rights, LGBTQ+ equality, and book bans.
“This generation is critical to the urgent issues that are at stake right now for our future,” said Vice President Harris. “It is young leaders throughout America who know what the solutions look like and are organizing in their communities to make them a reality. My message to students is clear: We are counting on you, we need you, you are everything.”
Vice President Harris’s “Fight for Our Freedoms College Tour” will include visits to historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, community colleges, apprenticeship programs, and state schools. The Vice President will highlight how the Biden-Harris Administration has delivered for young people, outline the work ahead to protect fundamental freedoms, and hear directly from students who are organizing on the frontlines of these fights. She will also urge attendees to register to vote, use their voice, and stay engaged.
This series of college tour events is a continuation of the Vice President’s recent travel, and comes on the heels of her Summer of Action that included visits to 17 states. Vice President Harris has already been to 11 college campuses this year after traveling to 14 schools in 2022.
The Vice President’s “Fight for Our Freedoms College Tour” includes the following stops:

  1. Hampton University in Hampton, VA on 9/14
  2. North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, NC on 9/15
  3. Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA on 9/26
  4. University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI
  5. College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, NV
  6. Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ

Additional campus visits and details for media to RSVP will be available in the coming days.
A livestream recording of the Vice President’s visit is available by clicking here


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Joy Jefferson Elevates to Chief of Staff

Jefferson’s New Role Makes Her the Eagle-Eye for The President’s Engagement with Key Internal and External Constituent Groups


Hampton, VA (August 9, 2023) – Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams has promoted 28-year higher education veteran, Joy Jefferson, to Chief of Staff. As Chief of Staff, she will act as an advisor and strategic partner to the president and support the university’s executive team in the implementation of the president’s priorities as detailed in the strategic plan. Prior to her promotion, Joy served as Vice President and Executive Assistant to the President.

A household name to Hampton, Joy has served as Vice President for External Relations, Associate Vice President for Development, Assistant Vice President for Development, and Director of University Relations under the Harvey administration. Her responsibilities included the overall leadership and supervision of the Offices of Alumni Affairs, the Annual Fund, and University Relations, Marketing & Communications, and service on the President’s Administrative Council. Her impact spans across the Chesapeake Bay, having served as the associate vice president for alumni relations and executive director of the Old Dominion University Alumni Association. At ODU, Joy led the cultivation of a community of more than 165,000 alumni throughout the United States and around the world. She also held an early-career position as Director of Development at North Carolina State University.

“Mrs. Jefferson is undeniably fit to lead as our Chief of Staff. Her wit, wisdom, and candor accent her impact and contribute to the vitality of our university,” said President Williams.

Joy currently serves on the Hampton Roads Center Owners Association Board of Directors. She is a former member of the Virginia Peninsula YMCA Board of Directors, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities State Board of Directors, the An Achievable Dream, Inc. Board of Directors, and Relay for Life Virginia Peninsula Executive Committee. 

Joy shared, “Our network is strong. We become greater as we nurture relationships and partnerships with a mutual heart for Hampton and our global community. I am glad to partner with President Williams in supporting our leaders and forging ahead in our pursuit of a greater Hampton.”

A native of Hampton Roads, Joy is a 1986 graduate of Hampton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Arts.


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HU President to Host U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday, September 14


Hampton, VA (Friday, September 8, 2023) – Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams is pleased to announce that U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the HU campus on Thursday, September 14, as the first stop on the newly announced “Fight For Our Freedoms College Tour.”

“This generation is critical to the urgent issues that are at stake right now for our future,” Vice President Harris said in a statement. Vice President Harris is expected to visit a broad range of 11 campuses across the country to discuss such issues as gun violence, the cost of higher education, and the climate crisis with students.

“It is an honor to welcome Vice President Kamala Harris to our ‘Home By the Sea,’” said President Williams. “The excitement across our campus is palpable, and we are grateful for Vice President Harris’ focus on higher education and our students. The bright minds and student leaders of character at Hampton and other institutions are our future.”

Vice President Harris’ visit marks the first White House campus appearance during President Williams’ administration. Williams has entered his second year at the helm of HU with a tremendous surge in student enrollment and a focus on campus modernization as HU delivers the #1 student experience in America. 

About Hampton University

Founded in 1868, Hampton University has been the Standard of Excellence in higher education for over 150 years. Rich in history and tradition, Hampton University is recognized as one of the top historically black colleges and universities in the world, providing a broad range of technical, liberal arts and graduate degree programs. HU is a tightly-knit community of learners and educators representing 49 states and 35 territories nations.

For more information, contact the HU University Relations Office, Richelle Payne at 484.908.9987 or Sarita Scott, at 757.927.7232.


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Hampton University President Appoints Industry Leader Apryl D. Roberts as Director of Protocol and Special Events

Roberts’ Leadership Will Heighten University Event Production and Maximize Hampton’s Competitive Edge


Hampton, VA (August 11, 2023) – Underpinning the pursuit to enhance stakeholder engagement, Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams has appointed Apryl D. Roberts to the Office of the President as Director of Protocol and Special Events. She will oversee the planning, management, and delivery of a portfolio of events and drive counsel on procedural and diplomatic protocol for high-profile visitors to the University. Ms. Roberts will be a conduit for executing successful university events – equipping faculty and staff with an event planning toolkit, a suite of web-based resources, and a series of workshops to build confidence and mastery of new media.

With over 20 years of experience, Roberts is an industry leader in live event production & design and experiential marketing, leading such projects as the Mid-Atlantic Film Festival, Taste of Hampton Roads, Hope Celebrity Weekend, Kam Cares (Bam Bam’s Spring Jam) Celebrity Weekend and served as a Senior Producer for Pharrell Williams’ Mighty Dream Festival. Her work has been featured in publications such as American Express Open Forum, YFS Magazine, The Knot, and Munaluchi Bride. She recently served as the President of the Hampton Roads Chapter of the International Live Events Association (ILEA) where she advanced the local scene by creating an inclusive community dedicated to elevating professionals engaged in live events.

President Williams shared, “The timing of Ms. Roberts’ appointment could not be better. She has the expertise and footprint to elevate our processes and experiences that will open doors and fill rooms.”

Roberts has rendered dynamic results for corporations, non-profit organizations, celebrities, brands, and television production teams alongside partnerships with marketing agencies to procure pre-screenings of television shows and movies such as “A Birth of a Nation.” 

She has received industry recognition from The International Live Events Association (ILEA), World Wide Women Group (WWWG), and Still Hope Foundation. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Old Dominion University.

Ms. Apryl Roberts said, “Great experiences are measured by execution and I am committed to delivering the best to the Hampton University community. I am honored to join the President’s Office and drive new strategies to elevate Hampton excellence!”


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Hampton University Scores Tech Visionary and Double Ivy League Alumnus, Adebisi Oladipupo, Sc.D. as Vice President of Information Technology

Dr. Oladipupo’s Expertise in Technology and Innovation Will Accelerate Hampton to the Frontlines of Cutting-Edge Research and Best-in-Class Social and Academic Experiences.


Hampton, VA (August 17, 2023) – Hampton University is upholding its commitment to commissioning the brightest minds for its greatest works with the appointment of Dr. Adebisi Oladipupo as Vice President of Information Technology.

With a sterling track record of harnessing technology to drive societal impact, he is poised to reshape the technological landscape, equipping the university with the tools to pioneer breakthroughs that will resonate far beyond the confines of campus. Prior to joining the Hampton University family, he closed in on a decade of service at Morgan State University as the Vice President for Technology & CIO after a marveled 14 years of service at Norfolk State University as the inaugural Vice President for Research & Technology and Chief Information Officer. A returning influence on the Hampton U community, he made an early-career progression for 13 years through the ranks to become the Assistant Dean of the School of Engineering & Technology.

Oladipupo earned his Doctor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Materials Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics (Materials Science) from the University of Ife, Nigeria. He also holds a certificate in Higher Education Management from Harvard University and is a recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Technology and Communications Leadership award.

“As we discover the possibilities of technological evolution and higher education, Dr. Adebisi Oladipupo emerges as an inspirational force, propelling Hampton University into the vanguard of innovation. We are grateful to have him on board.” said President Williams.

An acclaimed technologist, Dr. Oladipupo brings a wealth of knowledge to his new role. He is a certified mobile application developer and a certified IT service management professional (ITIL). He has designed, developed, and implemented computer applications for self-paced learning and distance learning as a faculty.  He is a published co-author of three engineering textbooks in Computer-Aided Design and has served as a technical reviewer for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Commerce. He has consulted for tech giants IBM, Lucent Technologies, and Motorola, Inc. in pervasive computing, wireless navigation systems, and mobile smart agent development. He was one of 26 scientists and engineers selected nationwide to serve as a member of an inaugural NSF Advisory Board on cyberinfrastructure.

“My mission as the VP for IT is to use technology to empower Hampton University to achieve its goals by providing innovative solutions that are secure, reliable, and efficient,” said Dr. Oladipupo. “Being back at Hampton gives me the feeling of a prodigal son who is warmly and lovingly welcomed back home. This is where I started my career and glad to be back at our Home by the Sea.”


Hampton University Scores Tech Visionary and Double Ivy League Alumnus, Adebisi Oladipupo, Sc.D. as Vice President of Information Technology Read More »

U.S. Department of Education Awards Hampton University Upward Bound $1,487,995 to Identify and Provide Services for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds

Grant Targets First-Generation College Students to Progress through the Academic Pipeline to Postbaccalaureate Programs

Hampton, Va. (August 1, 2023) – The U.S. Department of Education announced that the Hampton University Upward Bound Program has been awarded $1,487,995 from 2022 to 2027 to plan, develop and carry out community-based services for students in overcoming economic obstacles.

The program has completed the first year of another five-year grant cycle and held a graduation ceremony to celebrate the academic achievements, college acceptances, and scholarship awards of 17 program participants of An Achievable Dream, Denbigh, Heritage, Warwick and Phoebus High Schools.

“The goal is to increase the number of students who enroll in and graduate from college,” said Dr. Barbara Inman, vice president for administrative services. “This program is in concert with the new strategic plan to increase community outreach and engagement.” It provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits.

Since 2017 Hampton University Upward Bound has served over 200 Scholars with a 99% high school graduation rate where over 70% of graduates have enrolled in post-secondary educational institutions. “These results have implications for significant increases in lifetime earnings which affect community and economic development in the Hampton Roads area,” said Dean of Student Achievement, Mr. Mikael Davis.

Upward Bound participants excelled despite challenges presented because of the Covid crisis. “We have worked to draw out their unique talents as we share Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams’ belief that, ‘. . . people do best in organizations where they feel valued, where they feel empowered, and where they feel that what they do makes a difference,’”said Upward Bound Director, Dr. Gregg Suzanne Ferguson.

During the summer, the program operates a six-week Summer Academy on the university campus.  For more information, about the Upward Bound program at Hampton University, visit:  Upward Bound — Home – HU Office of Student Affairs ( 


U.S. Department of Education Awards Hampton University Upward Bound $1,487,995 to Identify and Provide Services for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds Read More »