Diageo North America has enriched its initial $250,000 investment in Grambling State University by adding two endowed university professorships to its commitment. Known as the Diageo Endowed Scholarship Fund, the gift was established to address immediate scholarship needs for GSU students, with $25,000 set aside for the 2021-2022 academic year.
In the updated agreement, $105,000 will be used to establish the Diageo Endowed Scholarship Fund and $120,000 will be used to establish two endowed professorships for $60,000 each to benefit one male and one female professor teaching in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) area. The expansion of the agreement occurred when the University of Louisiana System (ULS) received a $40,000 gift from an anonymous donor. Diageo North America saw an opportunity to strengthen efforts by collaborating with ULS to do a matching gift and establish the University of Louisiana System Diageo North America Endowed Professorships in STEM.
“The establishment of two professorships will support Grambling State in being more competitive in hiring and retaining faculty,” said Connie Walton, GSU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It is an honor for a faculty member to carry the title of endowed professor. This title is bestowed upon individuals who have a commitment to continue to be leaders in their discipline and leaders in the training of students. I am appreciative to Diageo for establishing this endowment.”
“It’s an honor for Diageo to establish this endowment to further support the advancement of faculty and recognize their significant contributions to continue developing talented leaders,” said Perry Jones, president of Diageo North America Supply and GSU alum. “Through this initiative and supporting outstanding professors, Diageo’s reinforces its commitment to making a long-term and sustainable impact on underrepresented communities.”
In addition to the professorships, the Diageo Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide scholarships to at least 10 students each year who meet the following criteria: enrolled as a full-time student of African heritage in an academic program at Grambling State University; Currently pursuing a degree in any major, but preference will be given to engineering, chemistry, marketing, and communications majors; Maintaining a grade point average of at least 2.75 and meeting the university’s general scholarship requirements (e.g. academic standards, code of conduct).
The fund is part of a broader innovative program that Diageo North America announced to support 25 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) focused on building opportunities to develop future leaders and help shape a more equitable society.
This initiative was created by working closely with Diageo North America’s African Heritage Business Resource Group (A.H.E.A.D.) to focus on the priorities and actions, along with the right partnerships, to make the most meaningful impact in the Black community.