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Howard University is putting the focus on advancing racial and gender diversity amongst the next generation of leaders and the institution will be able to further its efforts with the help of a new donation. The Washington, D.C.-based HBCU recently received a $1 million gift for the creation of a global leadership center.

The endowment, which was provided by philanthropists Heather and Jim Murren, will fund the development of Howard’s Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership. The center—which will be a space for students across an array of majors—will focus on leading research surrounding gender equality as it relates to the Black diaspora and within the United States. It will also provide students with mentorship, internship and scholarship opportunities. The program will help students in fostering connections with women entrepreneurs, social justice leaders and policymakers. The center will be spearheaded by J. Jarpa Dawuni, Esq., Ph.D. who serves as an associate professor of political science at Howard.

“The vision of the Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership is to prepare future leaders who are gender-conscious and grounded in Black feminist consciousness through collaboration with faculty on research, service learning and global engagement,” Dawuni said in a statement. “The career pipeline project will act as a transformational strategy for opening up professional opportunities and preparing our students for leadership in their chosen careers.” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick says the new center will be instrumental in empowering Black women to evoke change in the civic engagement space. The university is aiming to raise $5 million for the center by January.

The donation from Heather and Jim Murren is just one of many endowments that Howard University has received this year. In September, the HBCU received a $550,000 donation from The Guy Foundation to advance the work of its Quantum Biology Laboratory and empower the next generation of leaders in STEM.


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