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‘I Was Stunned’: Big Gifts to Small Colleges From an Unexpected Source

A sister school within the City University of New York system, Lehman College, also received $30 million.

Dr. Munroe said he would use the money in part to set up a fund for programs, scholarships, research and events that would address questions of race and gender equity, economic mobility and the impact of the pandemic, which had left many of his students without adequate food or shelter.

“I think she’s making a very clear statement: The communities that these institutions proudly serve typically are those that don’t have a lot of means, but they have the desire, they have the grit, they have the energy,” he said.

Morgan State University, a historically Black university in Baltimore, said Ms. Scott’s gift of $40 million, the largest single private donation in its history, would double its endowment.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah said it would use its $15 million gift — the largest from a single donor in its history — to help disadvantaged rural adults and students prepare for the work force.

Dr. Simmons said Prairie View A&M, with about 9,000 students, is using $10 million of its share to create the Panther Success Grant Program, to help juniors and seniors who have suffered financially from the pandemic to pay their college bills. The rest of the gift would be allocated to the university’s endowment, raising it to $130 million from $95 million, which would support things like faculty recruitment and undergraduate scholarships.

She noted that she had seen an uptick, though not of this scale, of interest in donating to historically Black colleges in the wake of recent social justice movements.

“For the people who are on the margins who see themselves as forgotten, this kind of gift is an endorsement of the value of what they are doing in striving for education,” she said.

Jack Begg and Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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