NORFOLK, Va. - A local historically Black university is celebrating a huge gift.
Norfolk State University President Javaune Adams-Gaston announced Tuesday that MacKenzie Scott, writer and philanthropist who was once married to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has donated $40 million to the university. She was named the world's richest woman in September 2020.
This is the largest single-donor gift in the school's 85-year history.
The donation will advance NSU's mission in support of access, student achievement and academic excellence.
“We are pleased to receive this level of support for transforming the curious thoughts of our students into the brightest minds of our world," Adams-Gaston said.
Norfolk State was identified as an institution that has “…strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital."
The university is planning a major capital campaign to fortify its strategies for enhancing its endowment, increasing student scholarship opportunities and pursuing workforce and economic development activities to enhance the lives of the future leaders who attend the school, the City of Norfolk and Hampton Roads as a whole.
Norfolk State is the largest HBCU in Virginia. It is home to one of the highest-rated “Clean Room” research facilities on the eastern seaboard and is strengthening its presence in the research and technological sectors as a place to go for 21st Century initiatives.
Adams-Gaston and the university leadership team recently initiated five new strategic priorities that will serve as guiding principles for the institution, including Student Success; External Engagement and Partnerships; Fundraising and Endowment Growth; Shared Governance and Professional Development; and Institutional Alignment, Operational Excellence, and Strategic Planning.
Scott's donation will impact each of the five strategic areas, making sure that the gift will have a transformational impact on the status of Norfolk State as one of the premier institutions in the country.