Known as an “Angel” to some and “Mr. Rowe” to others, Dr. Alan H. Rowe has redirected the lives of thousands of youth by motivating them to pursue higher education as president and founder of the United College Action Network Inc. (U-CAN).
A California-based nonprofit organization, the U-CAN Foundation provides guidance to students who wish to enrollment at a four-year Historically Black College or University (HBCU).
Dr. Rowe feels that students need love, nurturing, and mentoring in order to succeed, all of which are fundamentals that U-CAN has promoted since its inception in 1988.
Every year U-CAN sponsors the Historically Black College Recruitment Fair. A series of four-day recruitment fairs at high schools throughout California’s Sacramento Valley and Bay Area, the events usually draw over 35 HBCUs, with some even accepting students on the spot.
Student turnout at the annual fairs has risen sharply from 312 in 1999 to 1,443 in 2004.
As a parallel,the scholarship amounts have also increased, jumping from $1.8 million in 1999 to $3.1 million in 2004.
“The fair gets bigger and better each year,” said Dr. Rowe.
Nora Taylor, GSU Director of Admissions and Recruitment said, “U-CAN is an excellent program and something very striking about it is that Alan Rowe believes in taking students to the source (colleges) as well as in getting the source to the students.”
And to that extent, Grambling recruiters are currently in California attending the fairs.
“This program is definitely on target and another great thing is that Rowe keeps up with his ‘kids’,” Taylor noted.
One student who gained a full athletic scholarship to an HBCU said, “Mr. Rowe doesn’t just get you into school, he gets you money too.”
Over the past five years 1,750 U-CAN students have been accepted to HBCU’s across the nation and have been offered $14.7 million in scholarships.
Dr. Rowe specifically targets HBCUs because, “Any college can educate your mind, but it is also important to encounter morals and values. Traditionally, HBCUs have educated the whole person and they have been honored in their doing.”
After sending his own son to an HBCU, Rowe said he became convinced that the social and academic environment offered at such colleges nurtures African-American students in a special way.
` “It is critical that our kids have the exposure to these universities so they can experience firsthand what educated African-Americans can achieve.”
If your university has one of “Rowe’s kids” he said, “You know you got a good one.”
Currently, Grambling enrolls 175 of “Rowe’s kids.”
Referring to his work as a “significantly gratifying labor of love,”