Duke Endowment Awards $35 Million to Johnson C. Smith University

The North Carolina-based Duke Endowment announced Wednesday that it is awarding  $35 million to Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU). The gift, which is slated to fund a $25 million Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM initiative, is believed to be one of the largest donations awarded to a historically Black college or university, officials say.

In addition, $5.5 million will be used to renovate the university’s Duke residence hall, and $4.5 million will fund student scholarships, the Charlotte Observer reported.

“I know there are the Harvards and the Dukes and the Yales,” JCSU president Ronald Carter told the Charlotte Observer. “But you know what, we have a blue ocean that is waiting for Johnson C. Smith University, and the Duke Endowment has made it possible to sail.”

The Duke Endowment has awarded Johnson C. Smith more than $100 million over the years, according to Neil Williams, chair of The Duke Endowment’s board of directors. 

The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that has awarded more than $2.7 billion in grants to support higher education, health care and other projects, the Charlotte Observer reported. The foundation was established in 1924 by businessman James B. Duke, who founded the Duke Energy company and whose family is the namesake for Duke University.