Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Shegun Otulana, a native of Nigeria and a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, founded two start-up companies, one of which he recently sold for $1.2 billion. He and his wife have now donated $1 million to the university to create the Shegun and Mary Otulana Endowed Scholarship. One scholarship will be set aside for an international student, with a preference for students from Nigeria or West Africa. Another scholarship will fund the education of a student from an underrepresented group who plans to major in a STEM discipline.

Historically Black Fayetteville State University in North Carolina has received a three-year, $397,055 grant from the National Science Foundation to support the research project: Exposing Students to the Social Relevance and Trustworthiness of Artificial Intelligence. The grant will fund the work of computer and forensic scientists at the university in collaboration with criminal justice experts to create educational modules that infuse current knowledge of social relevance and trustworthiness of AI into mainstream research and education materials.

Bennett College, a historically Black college for women in Greensboro, North Carolina, announced that The Rolling Jubilee Fund and the Debt Collective were wiping clean the debt owed to the college of all 462 graduates. All told, those debts were worth $1.7 million. The loan forgiveness applied only to money owed the college, not federal student loans.

Historically Black Morris Brown College in Atlanta received a $100,000 grant from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to establish an endowment for scholarships and other operational needs to help bolster the institution’s sustainability. The college recently regained accreditation.

Shaw University, a historically Black educational institution in Raleigh, North Carolina, recevied a $500,000 gant from the National Park Service to rehabilitate and restore Leonard Hall. Built in 1883, the building previously served as the location of the Leonard Medical School. It now serves as the home of the Shaw University School of Divinity and the Center for Racial and Social Justice. Grant funds will be used to repair and replace the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment, systems, and components in the building and upgrade the life safety fire suppression system.

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