Alcorn State University has received a $25 million gift from American philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott. This gift marks the largest gift from a single donor in the university’s 150-year history.
“This gift is truly transformational, and we are humbled by Ms. Scott’s overwhelming generosity,” said Alcorn President Felecia M. Nave. “The gift will allow the University to enhance its academic offerings and make critical investments to strengthen Alcorn’s mission as the nation’s first public, historically Black, land-grant university.”
The $25 million comes entirely unrestricted, which demonstrates Scott’s game-changing commitment to shift decision-making to the leaders closest to the impactful work being done.
Scott shared the news on her blog post titled, “384 Ways to Help.” The post outlines the extensive process that her team implemented in identifying and selecting the recipients of gifts.
“We do this research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached,” Scott said.
Scott’s team carefully selected 384 organizations that are devoted to helping others and focused on providing real outcomes that come through face-to-face service. Nave, Alcorn’s 20th president and first female president, is an alumna of the university. Her connection allows her to be acutely in tune with Alcorn’s history of service and also committed to an educational standard that will close the opportunity gap.
“As the University embarks on an extensive five-year strategic plan, this gift could not come at a more ideal time,” added Nave. “The University has a long and rich tradition of educating the best and brightest and preparing graduates for a lifetime of success. This extraordinary gift recognizes the institution’s longstanding commitment to providing affordable and equitable educational opportunities,” Nave said.
Alcorn’s leadership team is guided by a student-centered approach to innovative education. This responsive commitment positions Alcorn leadership to make decisions that are truly right for the students they serve. The trust that leadership has established with the student body resulted in 95 percent of its continuing students returning to the Alcorn campus this past fall, despite COVID-19 uncertainty.
The university will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2021. Nave believes the outcomes of this gift have the power to establish Alcorn as a leader among elite HBCUs.
“It is our hope this historic gift will bring further recognition to the remarkable accomplishments and achievements of our resilient students, and the opportunities that the Alcorn experience will continue to provide for generations of graduates in realizing their dreams,” said Nave.