Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Dr. Penn

Historically Black Virginia State University is receiving a $500,000 donation from the niece of Otelia Roberta Shields Howard, who served the university for more than two decades as a professor, advisor, and charter member of two organizations on campus. Audrey Penn, now 88 years old, decided to make the donation after hearing that Virginia State renamed a building in honor of her aunt. Dr. Penn is a neurologist and the first Black woman to become acting director of a branch of the National Institute of Health. She also taught at Columbia University.

Morgan State University, the historically Black educational institution in Baltimore, received a $1 million grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support the Lifeways of Hope project of the Center for Religion and Cities at the university. With the funding, the center will develop three collaborative-learning initiatives: a Listening Lab, Museum Co-Lab, and Curricula Lab. The labs will be used to inspire critical approaches to dismantling unjust physical and social infrastructures by encouraging deep listening, collaborative work, and other practices or lifeways of hope.

Historically Black Drake State Community and Technical College in Huntsville, Alabama, received a $2,413,182 grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce that will be used to provide access to laptops with broadband access, home broadband access for anchor community members, streamline access to Drake State’s student support resources and online courses, and democratize access to postsecondary education and careers in computer science information systems, cybersecurity, and cyber defense.

The Atlanta University Center Consortium was awarded a $500,000 grant from Genentech to address the underrepresentation of Black students pursuing graduate degrees in engineering. This pilot dual-degree program will enhance AUCC’s pre-engineering curriculum by 1) exposing Black students to skills and competencies needed to succeed in graduate school; 2) creating summer experiences with Georgia Tech to provide pre-engineering students from the AUCC with research experiences, exposure to graduate-level engineering classes, and success strategies to support student retention and on-time graduation; 3) expanding AUCC faculty laboratories providing research opportunities for pre-engineering students; and 4) hiring staff to oversee the initiative. Originally formed in 1929, the Consortium is a nonprofit organization that operates on behalf of its historically Black member institutions: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College.

The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara received a three-year grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation to fund a new fellowship program that aims to address the underrepresentation of minorities in physics, especially theoretical physics. This program specifically targets physics and astronomy faculty at teaching-intensive U.S. colleges and universities designated as minority-serving institutions who will come to the Kavli Institute to participate in research. The grant will fund the fellows’ travel and accommodations for six to eight weeks, in addition to a stipend.

Historically Black Delaware State University has been awarded a $488,200 grant from the U.S. Army that will enable the university to acquire a Raman Microscopy System to enhance its material and device characterization capabilities. The system will be used to accomplish research goals and support various ongoing projects the university is conducting on behalf of the Defense Department.


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