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.

Simmons University in Boston received a Laura Bush 21st Century Early Career Development Grant of $140,834 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The grant will fund research into the experience and use of academic libraries by African American undergraduate students. The grant program is under the direction of Rebecca Davis, an assistant director of the School of Library and Information Science at the university. Dr. Davis received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master of library science degree from the University of Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in communication and information from the University of Tennessee.

Historically Black Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, received a five-year, $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund the university’s TRiO Student Support Services program. The program is geared to increase retention and graduation rates for at-risk students.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to examine any barriers that may exist for gastrointestinal cancer patients to access quality cancer surgery in Alabama and Mississippi. The goal is to eliminate racial health disparities in cancer care. One of the principal investigators is Selwyn M. Vickers, dean of the university’s medical school.

Tulane University in New Orleans received a grant from the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation to assist in designing new uses for some Louisiana mid-20th-century African American schools that were abandoned in the wake of school desegregation. The grant, the biennial Richard L. Blinder Award, will allow researchers to work with alumni of the schools in designing reuse strategies for the buildings, which were originally constructed as last-ditch efforts to protect segregation by providing “separate but equal” facilities for Black students.

Historically Black Hampton University in Virginia received a $199,834 grant from the National Science Foundation to revamp the delivery method and environment for organic chemistry courses on campus. The goal of the project is to improve the success rate in terms of the quality and quantity of STEM majors in organic chemistry classes at the university through various methods such as new technology and peer-to-peer interaction. The program is under the direction of Vincent de Paul Nzuwah Nziko, an assistant professor of chemistry at the university.

Elizabeth City State University, the historically Black educational institution in North Carolina, received a grant of more than $1.8 million from the U.S. Department of Education to fund programs to help first-generation college students succeed.

The University of California, Berkeley received a $24 million donation from Bob and Colleen Haas for a scholarship program that helps first-generation students from diverse backgrounds who enrich the experience for all Berkeley students. The donation will also permanently endow the Haas Scholars Program, which has, for more than 20 years, cultivated cohorts of Berkeley students from diverse backgrounds to focus on a specialized, year-long senior capstone research project. Bob Haas’ great-great-grand uncle, Levi Strauss, founded dry goods wholesaler Levi Strauss & Co. in 1853 in San Francisco.


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