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Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott Invests in Tuskegee University’s Future with Record $20 Million Donation

July 28, 2020

Contact: Kawana McGough, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

BTW Monument image with announcement of gift donation

Tuskegee University today received a $20 million gift from philanthropist, activist and author MacKenzie Scott. Last year, Scott pledged to give half or more of her assets to charity in her lifetime or will.

President Lily D. McNair said the unrestricted donation – the largest single gift in the university’s history – will help Tuskegee build on its reputation as one of the nation’s leading institutions of higher education.

“This gift comes at an opportune time for us,” said McNair, who has led the institution since July 2018. “We are about to launch a five-year strategic planning effort and, with this investment from Ms. Scott, we will be able to unfold the next phase of our mission in ways we simply could not have considered before.”

McNair said she envisions the gift being used to support four broad areas at Tuskegee: increasing student access, strengthening signature programs, advancing research and innovation, and preserving the university’s legacy.

“We will focus on student scholarships, faculty and curriculum development, interdisciplinary programs, and campus infrastructure improvements,” she said. “The gift will allow us to become the Tuskegee of the 21st century – a university that integrates knowledge, leadership and service to solve the problems of a global, modern society.”

Although the two have never met, McNair and Scott share an important connection: They are Princeton University alumnae. McNair earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from the institution, and Scott, who has published two novels, studied under Pulitzer Prize author Toni Morrison.

About Tuskegee University

Located in Tuskegee, Alabama, Tuskegee University is a private, state-related and nationally ranked land-grant institution that serves a racially, ethnically and religiously diverse student body of 3,000-plus students. The institution was founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington and is one of the nation's historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges since 1933, Tuskegee’s academic programs — many accredited by their respective accrediting bodies — currently lead to 41 bachelor’s, 16 master’s and five doctoral degree opportunities. For more information about Tuskegee University, visit

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