Oakwood University Wins 35th Honda Campus All-Star Challenge

It is the fourth win for the historically Black Seventh-day Adventist institution.

Norman J. Jones, Oakwood University, North American Division, and Adventist Review
Oakwood University Wins 35th Honda Campus All-Star Challenge
The 2024 Honda Campus All-Star Challenge winning team from Oakwood University, coached by Steven Lai Hing, includes Jonathan Gunthrope, Hannah Browning, Janiah Hinds, and Grayson Mejia. [Photo: Oakwood University]

Oakwood University has emerged as the new national champion at the 35th Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) held on April 12. Hosted on the American Honda corporate campus in Torrance, California, the All-Star Challenge is the premier academic competition for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States.

The Alabama-based university defeated 31 other teams to take home the title and a US$100,000 institutional grant. Howard University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College finished in the top four.

This year’s theme for the HCASC was “Live Your Dream.” It was Oakwood University’s 28th appearance at the HCASC and the school’s fourth win.

The winning 2024 team was coached by Steven Lai Hing and led by team captain Jonathan Gunthrope, alongside Hannah Browning, Janiah Hinds, and Grayson Mejia. The team’s dynamic performance, work ethic, drive, and sportsmanship earned them the championship title.

“Winning HCASC in one word? Unbelievable,” Mejia said. “This is my fourth year competing, and I just really can’t believe it happened.”

“Congratulations to the scholars from Oakwood University on their dynamic performance and national championship win at the 2024 Honda Campus All-Star Challenge,” said Yvette Hunsicker, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility and Inclusion and Diversity at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “On behalf of Honda, we applaud all the 35th-anniversary HCASC participants on their exemplary display of HBCU excellence. We also thank all the volunteers and alumni who made this year’s program possible.”

Leslie Pollard, president of Oakwood University, expressed his immense pride in the team’s achievement. “This victory is more than just a win in a competition; it’s a reflection of the dedication, intelligence, and spirit of our students and the supportive community at Oakwood University. We are incredibly proud of our team’s accomplishment and the positive light they have shone on the academic excellence within the HBCU community,” Pollard said.

About Oakwood University

Oakwood University, a historically Black Seventh-day Adventist institution of higher learning, offers high-quality Christian education that emphasizes academic excellence, promotes harmonious development of mind, body, and spirit, and prepares leaders in service for God and humanity. Consistent with its mission statement, Oakwood University is in the business of transforming lives, both now and, more importantly, for eternity.

Oakwood is consistently recognized by national media, business, and educational associations. U.S. News and World Report ranks it perennially among the nation’s “Best Colleges,” both in HBCU and “Regional Colleges/South” categories; the magazine also ranks Oakwood among the top ten HBCUs with highest graduation rates. In its first-ever HBCU ranking, the September 2012, EBONY magazine gave Oakwood’s science program a top rating.

Additionally, Oakwood is the nation’s fifth-ranked producer of undergraduate black applicants to medical schools, according to the Association for American Medical Colleges. The university also has tremendous local impact, hosting, since 1946, the annual Camp Meeting for the South Central Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, a 10-day spiritual/educational/recreational retreat with eight to ten thousand attendees.

The university enjoys a beautiful natural setting on prime acreage and is considered one of the historical landmarks of the city of Huntsville, a cosmopolitan city of approximately 221,000 people located in north-central Alabama.

The original version of this story was posted on the North American Division news site. Norman J. Jones is executive director of integrated marketing and public relations for Oakwood University.

Norman J. Jones, Oakwood University, North American Division, and Adventist Review