Howard University Alumni Couple Gives School $5 Million Donation After Protests By Students Over Campus Living Condition

Eddie C. Brown and C. Sylvia Brown, class of ‘61 and ‘62, have recently made an historic donation to Howard University. The couple $5 million donation was to the school’s Graduation Retention Access to Continued Excellence Grant. GRACE, the need-to-base program created in 2014, promises on-time graduation for students who’ve completed their freshman year, Philanthropy News Digest reported.

According to the report, the “program provides a 100 percent match for students who receive the maximum Federal Pell Grant and additional funding for those with an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0.”

Eddie the founder, chair, and CEO of Brown Capital Management, a Baltimore-based asset management firm that is the second oldest Black-owned investment management firm in the world, was compelled to make the donation after remembering a speech he heard.

“I remember a minister of ours said something that we never forgot,” he said. “Those who are blessed should be a blessing to someone, especially those less fortunate. We always remember that. I was blessed to receive my college education debt free, and I think it’s important to offer those less fortunate the opportunity to do so as well.”

The Brown’s donation is the highest ever given by an alumni in the history of the school. Howard University president Wayne A.I. Frederick showed gratitude for the donation. “The GRACE Grant has helped to eliminate financial barriers to education for Howard students, and I am thrilled that the Browns were inspired to commit such a generous gift to this important fund,” he said in a statement.

“My hope is that students will be inspired by their story and generosity and that others in our alumni community will consider the many ways they, too, can impact current and future generations of Howard students,” he added.

Sylvia calls the donation “paying it forward.” I had student loans, and I know how hard that is. Our mantra [is] to give to others and help them at least be able to get an undergraduate degree so they have a good foundation,” she said.

The donation comes amidst the university is going through some on campus turmoil as students hold protests, saying “unlivable” living conditions. Allegations include  mold infestations, as well as rats and insects, The Daily Beast reported.

A meeting was scheduled for earlier this month between students and administration but, staff members were absent from the Tuesday, Oct. 5 conference at the Blackburn student center on campus. Demonstrators coordinated a sit-in that was still in effect as of the Friday, Oct. 15, publishing of the DB article.

“We have mold. People are getting sick, people are getting hospitalized, and there are still students who are homeless. Homeless, as in on the streets. And they’re not being helped,” a junior at the university, who wished to remain anonymous, told the outlet.

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