David and Nicole Tepper will contribute $250,000 to aid deserving Johnson C. Smith University students as they overcome financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the University announced Wednesday afternoon..
All of the funds will be used to help students return for the 2020-21 academic year whose families have been negatively impacted by loss of jobs due to the ongoing pandemic and would not have had the financial resources to return to school. Not only will the contribution help those students, it will also prevent a decrease in enrollment for JCSU as the University navigates the operational challenges in higher education at this time.
“We are elated the Teppers chose to invest in the students at Johnson C. Smith University,” JCSU President Clarence. D. Armbrister said. “The donation to the University affirms their commitment to minority students in the Charlotte community and beyond. The continued success of historically Black universities like JCSU is at a critical point. Partnerships like this are essential to sustaining HBCUs which are educating the next generation of leaders in the workplace and in the community.”
“With COVID-19’s significantly disproportionate impact on people of color, these scholarship funds could not have been donated at a better time for our students.”
The donation to JCSU comes on the heels of the announcement of a $567,000 donation spread over three years to the University of South Carolina that will provide four-year scholarships worth $10,000 a year for “Tepper Scholars” in the University’s Department of Sport and Entertainment Management. The Nicole and David Tepper Scholars Program will provide for a cohort of four incoming freshmen each year; in addition to tuition help, the students will gain access to additional enrichment opportunities.
With the announcement Wednesday, the Teppers will contribute to a university that sits less than two miles from Bank of America Stadium.
“Nicole and I have visited Johnson C. Smith and have gotten to know President Armbrister and some of the leaders at the school,” David Tepper said. “This pandemic has put a lot of people in a tough spot, particularly students who are trying to complete their education and earn their degrees. Hopefully, this contribution can help. This institution means a lot to this community and we look forward to building on our relationship in the future.”
In March, the David A. Tepper Foundation donated more than $2.6m to help support COVID-19 relief and the owner of both the Panthers and the soon-to-be-named Charlotte MLS team has made charity and community relations a focus of he and his family’s time in Charlotte since purchasing the team in 2018.
Nicole Tepper also spoke of a continued relationship with the independent university that has been operating since 1867 in Charlotte. The cost of the education JCSU provides for its students is actually greater than what they collect in tuition – the university relies on donations from alumni, members of the community and grants; tuition comprises less than half the cost of a JCSU education. The remaining amount comes from endowment income and gifts. These scholarship funds will benefit as many as 70 returning students who demonstrate financial need.
“This is an important first step in our relationship with Johnson C. Smith,” said Tepper. “I’ve visited the university and met with President Armbrister.”
“We want to make a difference.”
Top Photo Via Johnson C. Smith University