HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton University was one of three historically Black colleges and universities that announced Tuesday they’ve each received their largest donation in school history.
Howard University and Xavier University of Louisiana also received major gifts from MacKenzie Scott, an author and ex-wife of billionaire Amazon owner Jeff Bezos. Scott had announced earlier Tuesday she donated $1.7 billion from her fortune to charity, saying ““I pledged to give the majority of my wealth back to the society that helped generate it, [and] to do it thoughtfully.”
Howard, Hampton and Xavier were given $40 million, $30 million and $20 million, respectively.
“This pure act of benevolence is clearly a game changer and it could not have come at a better time,” said Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey. “I speak for the entire Hampton University community when I say we are grateful to Ms. MacKenzie Scott, who has chosen to support us during this unprecedented period of uncertainty.”
Scott said she chose Hampton because the recipients had to “have a track record of effective management and significant impact in their fields.”
“I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror,” Scott said. “Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilization this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable … What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer.”
Harvey says he’s consulted with university leadership on plans for the funding. Options include funding for Hampton’s Proton Therapy Institute, new student scholarships, upgrades to scientific laboratories on campus and more.
“This gift will ensure that Hampton University persists in educating the best and the brightest students in the nation and continues its legacy as THE Standard of Excellence,” the school said in a statement.