WILBERFORCE — Central State and Wilberforce universities each received a $500,000 grant from Dominion Energy, the schools announced Wednesday.
The Greene County institutions are among 11 historically black colleges and universities in North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and South Carolina benefiting from the company’s six-year HBCU Promise, which will support endowments, capital projects, operating expenses, and educational programs in clean energy.
“We are pleased to launch this partnership as it will expose our students to the vast energy industry career opportunities,” CSU President Dr. Jack Thomas said in a release. “We are thankful for the investment and are excited to launch this new game-changing initiative that aligns with partnership growth and development.”
The grant to Central State will offer expanded learning opportunities for students as it will launch the Dominion Energy Summer Institute, a 12-week study-internship program, including a four-week classroom component followed by an eight-week internship at Dominion Energy. The intensive experiential work-learning program follows the successful career-development program for Ohio’s banking industry through its rigorous Summer Banking Institute. Central State University has established the Center of Excellence for HBCU Corporate Engagement that will serve as a central hub for student talent development best practices and modeling, as well as a research think tank for the development of higher education strategic corporate programs.
The Dominion Energy grant will also help launch the Dominion Energy Scholarship, an achievement-based scholarship endowment to help students continue their path to graduation, and fund upgrades to IT infrastructure and individual student and classroom technology access for virtual and in-class learning environments.
Wilberforce will use the grant to provide tech support to students, finance STEM scholarships, and launch the university’s inaugural Bayard Rustin Lecture Series on Racial Equality, named in honor of the architect of the historic 1963 civil rights March on Washington. Rustin was a student at Wilberforce in the early 1930s. The Dominion gift has also allowed WU to purchase laptops for all enrolled students and faculty for the fall semester’s remote learning and teaching experience. The school’s academic schedule was adjusted for off-campus study because of concerns about the potential spread of COVID 19.
“We are so grateful to Dominion Energy for this generous donation,” said Natalie Coles, vice president for institutional advancement. “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. We can’t thank you enough.”
In separate releases, Dominion Vice President for Gas Distribution Technical Services Leighton McCoy said Dominion was proud to partner with CSU and WU and was looking forward to uplifting the students and “highlighting their achievements as they pursue excellence and success.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.