By Jackie Hampton,
Mackenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and one of the richest person’s in the world is sharing her more than $60 billion fortune. According to The Washington Post Scott’s gifts to HBCU’s and other colleges surpasses $800 million.
Tougaloo College and Alcorn State University are two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in Mississippi that are recipients of these gifts.
Tougaloo College received a generous donation of $6 million from Scott. “This is an incredibly exciting time for Tougaloo College,’’ said President Carmen J. Walters.
Sandra Hodge, vice president for institutional advancement said, “This generous gift will allow us to continue and sustain our history of academic excellence and social justice.” She said this type of investment ensures a bright future for the institution to educate the next generation of scholars and leaders.
Miss Tougaloo College Sylvionna Horton said, “Being a small private institution, Tougaloo is sometimes left out of larger mentions with other bigger HBCUs. I am very pleased that Ms. Scott included Tougaloo in her donations.”
Mister Tougaloo College Levell Williams commented, “Especially today, when America is struggling to confront uncomfortable realities of racial inequity, Scott’s donations carry a lot of weight. It reminds us that often the most valuable support is substantiated by tangible resources. It also suggests that even one person’s generosity create opportunities for many others.”
Terriyana Bailey is a senior biology major at Tougaloo. She said, “Tougaloo College is ‘where the moss hangs low and the eagles soar high.’ We are a small, historic HBCU that I believe is very deserving and appreciative of the donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. I often feel that we are overlooked; however, Tougaloo holds so much history and continues to make history today.” Bailey, the former 2019-2020 Tougaloo College NAACP Chapter president, continued by saying, “I know first-hand the positive impact that Tougaloo has on our surrounding communities and the state as a whole. Although I’ll be graduating soon and won’t get to enjoy the outcomes from the donation, I do believe that whatever the school utilizes the funds for, whether it be for new buildings or repairing old ones, it will be for the betterment of current students and those to come. I am so excited for this new journey Tougaloo will embark upon as we move forward with how the funds will be best used. Thank you MacKenzie Scott.”
Alcorn State University received a whopping $25 million. In a news release Alcorn State University President Felecia M. Nave said that the donation from Scott more than doubles the school’s endowment fund. It is the largest single donation that Alcorn has received in its’ 149-year history. Nave said, “A significant number of Alcorn’s students are the first in their families to attend college and Ms. Scott’s pivotal gift in these uncertain times will help ensure that students have access to a life-changing education.”
Morgan Bridgeman, a junior broadcast/mass communications major at Alcorn University said, “I think Mackenzie Scott donating to HBCUs, in particular Alcorn, my HBCU, is a major milestone. I hope this donation advances students’ education at HBCUs even more.” Bridgeman is a contributing writer to the online newspaper, The Campus Chronicle.
Socrates Garrett, a local businessman and graduate of Alcorn, is proud to have been recently inducted into ‘The Hall of Honor’ at his alma mater. He said, “I think it is really significant when someone recognizes the achievements and contributions that HBCUs make in educating and training our youth. Many would not be able to attend a 4-year college without assistance. This generous donation exemplifies that Scott understands the importance of educating our students, many of which are from socially disadvantaged communities, and she could not have chosen a more deserving institution than Alcorn.”
Jerry Domatob, a professor of mass communications at Alcorn said, “During this trying era of Coronavirus assault, several colleges and universities suffer from a paucity of resources. Many grapple with daunting poverty. The current gifts to Alcorn State University and Tougaloo College are thus timely and much needed resources, in an epoch of economic crisis. These funds will not only tackle these challenges but more. MacKenzie Scott’s mighty gift of millions will assist these institutions foster their development.”
Also in Mississippi, Scott donated $9 million to the Mississippi Food Network.