Philander Smith College Receives $2.5M, Its Largest Gift Ever

In Summary

The Arkansas HBCU has received anonymous donations, which will significantly help the school’s financial resources.  

Arkansas HBCU Philander Smith College received a $2.5 million gift, which bolsters its financial department as the university ranked in the top 10 most accessible schools for lower-income students.  

The gift is the largest in the school’s 144-year history. School President Roderick Smothers said Wednesday an anonymous donor gifted the donation. 

“This monumental donation will provide tremendous opportunities for our scholars who hail from every walk of life,” Smothers said. “This gesture not only affects the lives of our students but communities across the nation.”  

The university plans to establish and award over 250 scholarships over the next three academic years. Smothers said the scholarships will help students “push through to the finish line” and complete their degrees.  

Related: Black-Owned Tech Nonprofit CodeHouse Gets $1 Million Grant From Google 

The donation has also helped to establish a new initiative, called the Generational Access and Affordability Program.  

According to the state Division of Higher Education, the HBCU enrolled 700 students this past fall. 

Carmen Bradford, the college’s marketing coordinator, said she believes the same anonymous donor in August gave Philander Smith College $250,000, which will also go towards scholarships for students.  

Philander Smith College ranks ninth nationally for its access rate as many of the school’s students come from households earning $46,000 and below, according to a report published last month from the United Negro College Fund’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute.  

“We really want them to graduate without them having to take out so many loans,” Bradford said.  

Bradford said it’s her and the school’s mission for scholarships to advance career paths for students in programs like criminal justice, computer science, social work, business administration, biology and education.  

“We are committed to our mission to graduate academically accomplished students grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better,” Smothers said.  

Related: Harris-Stowe State University Awarded $2 Million From United Health Foundation 

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