The institution is the first historically Black college to jump into the esports space.
As esports has quickly risen among gamers worldwide, even with space opening for the sporting category in the 2024 Olympics, many colleges are following suit, academically. With an esports team at Syracuse University and esports majors at universities like Northwood and The Ohio State University, Benedict College is the first HBCU to step into the academic esports field. “It is a billion-dollar industry, it’s growing every year, and there is more opportunities, especially for African Americans and people of color in esports,” said Dr. Paula Shelby, head of Benedict College’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department, to WACH Fox 57 News.
Benedict, located in Columbia, SC, is the first HBCU to host an Esports competition in addition to being the first HBCU to have an esports gaming room, undergraduate degree, minor, and certifications, which will be in partnership with Blaze Fire Games. They also partnered with Blaze Fire to start the college’s esports club, and for Madden and NCAA College Football tournaments.
“In keeping with Benedict’s strategic plan to offer transformational learning experiences, our innovative Esports Administration curriculum is designed to prepare students to create new applications and to engage in all facets of the industry,” said Dr. Janeen Witty, Benedict College Vice President of Academic Affairs, to WIS News 10.