Southern University has made history as the only HBCU system in the world to offer degree programs in the field of philanthropic studies.
Community leaders, SU administrators, alumni, and supporters gathered at the site of The Valdry Center for Philanthropy on the SUBR campus to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, March 16.
During the ceremony, benefactor and class of 1957 graduate, Leon Valdry along with Warren and Virginia Valdry, also benefactors and alumni of the class of 1959, presented a check for an additional $1 million to be donated to the center.
“This is the first of its kind among HBCUs in the country… the whole philosophy behind the philanthropic principles is that we will be offering baccalaureate degrees, masters and PhDs, having professors to come in from around the world to teach philanthropic principles to our students so they can reach not only locally but they can reach internationally and take education to another level,” stated Valdry.
Expressing gratitude and thanks to the Valdry family, President-Chancellor of the SUS, Dr. Ray Belton stated, “This center … allows us to shape a culture for volunteerism and philanthropy throughout the university internally and externally.”
The center will also provide training opportunities and credentials to shape sustainable careers, Belton went on to say.
Students will soon have the option to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, and a PhD in philanthropic studies and nonprofit management through the center’s partnership with the Nelson Mandela School of Government. The undergraduate degree will be the most intricate component of the program.
Courses will also be offered through the Southern University Law Center, in an effort to train future leaders on the legal dynamics of non-profit management.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome was among community leaders that attended the ceremony, and shared, “I am convinced if we’re going to have the kind of university that we want, if we’re going to have the kind of community that we want, it has to be co-created.”
Broome finished, “As the students study here and matriculate here I believe that we will be shaping, notice I said we, but we will be shaping the future leaders not only of the state but of America because we all know that we make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.”
President of Buquet & Leblanc general contractors, Rob Liles shared his excitement on working with SU.
Construction will take approximately ten to eleven months, with a projected completion date of February 2019.
Programming for the center will begin Fall 2018. It will focus on seven strands of work, including degree programs, social entrepreneurship fellowships, faith-based programming, customized non-profit capacity building, seminar and certificate programs, educational initiatives, and research.
Fellowships, mentorships, training, capital support, seminars, consulting services, amongst other initiatives will also be provided to ultimately advance the mission of and vision of the Valdry Center for Philanthropy.
CEO of the Southern University System Foundation, Alfred E. Harrell, III shared, “The Valdry Center is going to do a lot of great things. It’s going to bring new dimensions to the field of philanthropy, especially for HBCUs and communities of color ... Sustainability is what we’re looking for … not only in higher education but in communities of color all across the country.”
For more information, visit the center’s website at vcp.sus.edu..