For several years after it was founded in 1875, Alabama A&M University (AAMU) ran on a yearly state funding allocation of $1,000.
Fast forward to 2021 — if the nearly $2.2 million donation the HBCU received on Wednesday from an anonymous young alumni is any indication, the school has certainly come a long way.
“This is the most significant and impactful gift in the history of Alabama A&M University,” said AAMU President Andrew Hugine, Jr. in a statement. “When one of our very own alumni makes such a substantial investment to the institution, it serves as affirmation that the University has made significant progress and that it continues to move in the right direction,”
The exact value of the donation was $2,187,518.75, significant in that the digits “1875” repeat twice in honor of the year the school was founded by the formerly enslaved William Hooper Councill.
“This gift is personal to me,” the anonymous donor stated in a message to the university. “This is my university, and it has afforded me opportunities beyond what I could have ever imagined. It has been my life’s mission to make a sizeable investment in my alma mater prior to President Hugine’s retirement and under the advancement leadership of Dr. Archie Tucker, who has been a tremendous asset to the University.”
The donor, who did not want public recognition for their generosity, offered a challenge to fellow AAMU alumni to donate as much as they are able to.
“As a graduate, I personally know of several other alumni who can make a similar gift, and I challenge them to do the same,” the donor said. “In return, I do not want any recognition or anything named after me, because service is sovereignty.”
Archie Tucker, II, Vice President for Marketing, Communication & Advancement said the donation represents the success AAMU graduates have achieved and are willing to pour back into their alma mater.
“This gift is symbolic on so many fronts, it sets the tone for future leadership gifts from the alumni of Alabama A&M University, while also displaying to Corporate America and philanthropists that our graduates have achieved success and are willing to invest in the institution in significant ways,” Tucker said. “We hope that this will encourage greater investments from Corporate America and philanthropists in the future.”
Director of Athletics Bryan Hicks added that the gift is also “the largest private investment in the history of AAMU Athletics.”
“The gift will enable our athletic programs to be more competitive, while also enhancing the student-athlete experience,” Hicks said. “This certainly builds on the recent accomplishments of being Tennis and Football SWAC Champions, along with being the reigning Black College Football National Champs.”
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