When Thurgood Marshall became the first African-American to serve as United States Supreme Court Justice, gracing the bench from 1967 to 1991, he represented the very best of what Black colleges and universities offer to the world. He started his college career at Lincoln University, the first Black college to have a degree-granting program, and got his graduate studies/ law degree from Howard University. So when Hennessy took the initiative to do a give back to the Black community, they thought to partner with this organization that is represented by this icon to stamp this extraordinary movement, intended to empower the next great Black mind.

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Hennessy and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) has the desire to recruit HBCU students to sign-up for the second Cohort application window for the Hennessy Fellows program.

To help with the recruiting process, Hennessy and TMCF have enlisted Queens rapper and top lyricist, Nas. Nas aka ‘The Voice of Hennessy’ to speak to how powerful this fund is and how students can be a part of its efforts.


Announced earlier this year, the Hennessy Fellows program is a first-of-its-kind multi-million-dollar investment in Black students from HBCUs. This announcement spotlights the second annual selection for the million-dollar initiative aimed at graduate HBCU students for the inaugural communion. 

Nas breaks it down this way.:

“Hennessy’s mantra is all about pushing the limits of one’s potential and breaking down barriers. ‘Never stop. Never settle,’ is more than a slogan. It is the creative engine driving our partnership and the motivational compass directing me to push for new limits every day – in the studio, on the stage, and in business. Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s mission of “changing the world… one leader at a time” is right in line with pushing those same boundaries. As a partner with Hennessy, I’m proud to lend my voice to encourage enrollment in the Hennessy Fellows Program, a new graduate program created for students who want to blaze their own trails and pursue their dreams, regardless of the challenges.”

Hennessy has committed $10 million dollars over the next 10 years to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) – the preeminent national organization dedicated to promoting educational excellence among students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Following a thorough application process, the Hennessy Fellows program selects ten high-achieving, high-potential graduate students per year and offers them a one-of-a-kind opportunity.

Recipients will be awarded financial assistance towards collegiate graduate-level education programs, as well as curated corporate development experiences, including training forums and networking to enhance the exchange of ideas and provide direct exposure to the inter-relatedness of corporate, social and economic systems.

Hennessy Fellows will accept applications through December 31st, 2019. The 10 selected Fellows for Cohort II will be announced early next year to receive benefits ahead of the Fall 2020 term.

The program is open to students enrolled in accredited HBCU or PBI Graduate programs, and offers the following: Scholarship up to $20,000 per academic year and receive $10,000 annual stipend for other educational expenses.

There is also an opportunity to compete for a community-related project grant up to $10,000. They will receive 1:1 executive coaching and access to online training forums, networking events, and professional advancement experiences. They will participate in programming that will support the development of leadership and soft skills via exclusive opportunities and experiences and attend an immersive boot camp in the summer of 2020.

Hennessy’s partnership with TMCF adds to the brand’s long history of supporting the African American community in the U.S., dating back to the late 1800s. Hennessy’s leadership at the time was among the founders of what would ultimately become the National Urban League, paving the road for Hennessy’s involvement as first corporate sponsor of milestone organizations like the NAACP and Tuskegee Institute. 

The program is now accepting applicants for Fall 2020 at tmcf.org/our-programs through December 31st, with additional program info detailed below.