Wilberforce, Central State get large donations from energy company

An ariel shot of Wilberforce University. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
An ariel shot of Wilberforce University. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

An energy company donated a half million dollars to Wilberforce University and Central State University.

Dominion Energy donated $500,000 to Wilberforce and Central State, as well as to nine other historically black colleges (HBCUs).

Dominion Energy, based in Virginia, made these donations as part of their six-year “HBCU Promise.”

This $25 million agenda supports endowments, capital projects, operating expenses and educational programs that support clean energy at HBCUs in Virginia, Ohio, South Carolina and North Carolina.

“We are so grateful to Dominion Energy for this generous donation,” said Natalie Coles, vice president of institutional advancement, in a media release. “Never in our lifetime have students faced such hardships to attend school. Because of this meaningful gift, Wilberforce students will get the tech support they need to successfully attend classes in safe environments.”

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This is one of the largest donations Wilberforce has received, the university said.

The half million dollar donation to Wilberforce will finance STEM scholarships and the launch of the university’s inaugural Bayard Rustin Lecture Series on Racial Equality. The lecture series will start in the spring semester and is named in honor of the architect of the historic August 1963 civil rights march on Washington. Rustin was a student at Wilberforce in the 1930s.

Dominion’s gift has helped Wilberforce buy laptops for all enrolled students and faculty for the fall semester’s remote learning. The school’s academic schedule was adjusted for off campus study because of concerns about the coronavirus.

Zillah Fluker, the vice president of advancement at Central State, said this donation will help the university prepare students for jobs in the STEM and energy industries.

“This is a great opportunity to expose a different profile to the energy industry,” Fluker said. “A gift of this size allows for so many opportunities and we are so thankful to be included.”

Fluker said this gift, since it was given to other HBCUs, will allow for further collaboration between those HBCUs and “further strengthen the HBCU network.”

“Dominion has supported HBCUs for nearly 40 years,” said Dominion spokeswoman Tracy Oliver. “We recognize the role these institutions play in the advancement of African Americans and the role education plays as an equalizer in society.”