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As part of our coverage of historically Black colleges and universities, NewsOne was able to sit down for a conversation with Jeffrey Marcus Eugene, who was profiled in a piece last week celebrating the best and brightest HBCU students.

Eugene was Hampton University’s valedictorian for the graduating class of 2011. As an undergraduate, he majored in biology and graduated with a GPA of 4.059. When he’s not busy earning perfect grades, Eugene says he enjoys reading, running, and writing.

NO: How was your overall experience at Hampton?

My overall experience at Hampton was wonderful. I believe I was able to grow as a man and as a student during my experience. Through Hampton, I was able to do everything I imagined and some things that I did not imagine doing in college. I was involved in leadership positions, extracurricular activities, scientific research, conferences, Honors College, I acted in a musical two years in a row, and community service projects in addition to a diverse and challenging academic curriculum.

NO: How could it have been any better?

Nothing could have been better in my opinion. I was thoroughly pleased with my experience and the academic and social community at Hampton. I would do it all over again, the same way.

NO: Who (or what) was your biggest influence in graduating with such distinction?

I would say my biggest influence in graduating with the distinction of Valedictorian was all the Valedictorians before me at Hampton and all the leaders across the globe that graduated Valedictorian.

NO: Why did you choose an HBCU?

It is tough to say why I chose an HBCU. I originally did not intend to choose an HBCU. But I would say that I am proud to be a graduate of an HBCU. The nurturing environment, the social and intellectual atmosphere created by learning and living among other black students, and the small community that facilitates professional and leadership development are elements of an HBCU that I enjoyed and found helpful.

NO: What are your plans for the future?

In a week, I begin medical school at Morehouse School of Medicine. After obtaining my medical degree, I want to participate in a residency in Family Medicine and work in underserved rural communities. After a few years of practicing, I want to participate in a residency in Preventive Medicine and start a career in medical leadership as a director within a state health department.

NO: What would you say to a recent high school grad who was unsure of choosing between an HBCU or an Ivy League?

I would say to a recent high school graduate to not discredit the opportunities at an HBCU and the distinction of being an HBCU graduate. Ultimately it depends on what the student wants to receive in an undergraduate education. However, the nurturing community that HBCUs offer black students transcends the community created at Ivy Leagues. I believe HBCUs focus on the personal and professional growth of the student in addition to their intellectual growth while an Ivy League may have a greater focus on intellectual growth.

We would like to thank Mr. Eugene for giving us the opportunity to ask him some questions, and wish him good luck in medical school at Morehouse College!


The Best And Brightest HBCU Black Students Of 2011