Building legacy and understanding opportunities available with the US Navy.

To build stronger relationships with students, faculty, administration, and alumni at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), U.S. Navy Recruiting Outreach and Diversity has established the “Divine Nine” Ambassador program.

“Divine Nine” refers to the nine sororities and fraternities that were established by African American students more than a century ago, mainly at HBCUs. These organizations are known collectively as the National Pan-Hellenic Council or the “Divine Nine.”

As part of the new program, the Navy has appointed 19 Active-duty Officers and Reservists—most of whom are HBCU graduates with “Divine Nine” affiliations—to serve as ambassadors, who will attend events at HBCUs to establish deeper connections with current “Divine Nine” members and share information about the exceptional Navy career opportunities available to HBCU graduates.


This past fall, the program leveraged HBCU football games to create customized, on-site activations to authentically engage with campus communities. On Sept. 9 and 10, 2022, at Hampton University in Virginia, “Divine Nine” Ambassadors were on campus to participate in the festivities prior to the football game against Tuskegee University. On Sept. 16 and 17, 2022, “Divine Nine” Ambassadors were in Arlington, Texas, for the football game between Texas Southern University and Southern University at Choctaw Stadium.

“The Navy has always attracted the best and brightest HBCU graduates and “Divine Nine” members to its ranks,” says Commander Dominique “DJ” Jackson, a graduate of Southern University and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. who currently serves as Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Officer for Naval Surface Forces Atlantic. “These officers make incredible contributions to our service and rewrite our history every day. It is important that the current generation of HBCU students and “Divine Nine” members know about this legacy and understand the opportunities that are available to them in today’s Navy.”

Some of the U.S. Navy “Divine Nine” Ambassadors shared their thoughts on the occasion:

“The program is designed to bring exposure and awareness to the diverse opportunities and pathways to success in the Navy,” says U.S. Navy Captain M. J. Wallace, Ph.D., PHR/SHRM-CP, Florida A&M University and Member of Delta Sigma Theta. “As a former enlisted Sailor who rose to the rank of Captain, my role is to represent what success in the Navy looks like. When I first enlisted, I did not see any Black officers and few senior enlisted sailors. I am part of this initiative to let future Navy officers and sailors know that with grit and grace, success is possible.”


“I hope this program will influence the BIPOC community to pursue careers, specifically leadership careers, in the Navy. A lot of college students are unsure of their next steps after graduation. I believe the Navy is a great place to discover oneself, learn great leadership skills and see the world, while gaining valuable experience for a lifelong career,” says U.S. Navy Commander Renee S. Baggot, Ph.D., PMP, North Carolina Central University and Member of Delta Sigma Theta. “I see myself as a walking billboard advertising the art of possibility. As an African American, female, physics Ph.D. recipient, there were very few role models either in the civilian or military communities to model myself. Sometimes just seeing someone who looks like you and has succeeded keeps you going when times get tough. I hope to serve that role for those who come behind me or are thinking of pursuing a Navy career. As a Navy Officer, I have been fortunate to have a variety of experiences that I would not have had otherwise. There are so many opportunities that go missed because of misconceptions or lack of knowledge of what serving our country can provide. I hope that I can act as a conduit to the discovery of Navy career possibilities. It is with great pride that I serve my country and am humbled by the outstanding men and women I am fortunate to work with and lead.”