On Feb. 21, Tougaloo College announced a $10 million donation from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and producer Patty Quillin. The husband and wife intended the donation to bolster the Brown-Tougaloo partnership and strengthen scholarship support for Tougaloo students.
Of the $10 million, $5 million will go toward creating scholarships and growing the endowment at Tougaloo, a private historically Black college located in Jackson, Mississippi. The other $5 million will establish the Brown-Tougaloo Partnership Scholarship Fund at the University.
According to the press release, Hastings and Quillin’s donation is the largest donation to date given to the 58-year-old Brown-Tougaloo partnership, which was born out of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. This partnership has linked hundreds of students and faculty from both schools through academic, fellowship and research initiatives.
Hastings and Quillin have previously donated to HBCUs. In June 2020, the couple donated $40 million to both Spelman College and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia to increase scholarship and educational opportunities.
“HBCUs have been vastly undervalued for a long time,” Hastings and Quillin said in a Feb. 21 press release. “They have an incredible track record of graduating so many Black leaders across the U.S. — doctors, lawyers, engineers and more. By investing in the extraordinary students who attend Tougaloo and Brown, we’re investing in America’s future.”
Carmen Walter, president of Tougaloo College, explained that the donation from Hastings and Quillin is a testament to their commitment to uplifting historically marginalized students and enhancing the financial resources available to HBCUs.
“The remarkable personal gift to the historic Brown-Tougaloo Partnership from philanthropists Reed Hastings and Patricia Quillin will transform the lives of Tougaloo College students,” Walters said in the press release. “This donation, setting a new precedent as the largest gift to the Brown-Tougaloo Partnership, is a living testimony to their strong belief in the value of giving, the value of education and the value of HBCUs.”
Sergio Gonzalez, senior vice president for advancement at the University, commended Hasting and Quillin’s dedication to supporting underrepresented students. He wrote in an email to The Herald that Hastings and Quillin’s donation will provide new resources to Tougaloo that will allow more students to pursue higher education.
“It makes a Tougaloo education accessible to more exceptional students who have great financial need,” he wrote. “The new Brown-Tougaloo scholarship fund also opens up opportunities for Tougaloo students who might not otherwise have thought it possible to come to Brown and continue to pursue research or a graduate degree that aligns with their educational goals.”
President Christina Paxson P’19 expressed her appreciation for the donation, explaining how it strengthens the University and Tougaloo’s shared desire to maximize educational accessibility for every student.
“Brown and Tougaloo share a deeply held commitment to preparing graduates to make a positive impact in their communities,” she said in the press release. “Our shared ideals serve as an unbreakable foundation for a 58-year-old partnership that has yielded important insights for students and scholars, infused both campuses with new perspectives and provided life-changing experiences for Tougaloo and Brown students.”
Gonzalez echoed this sentiment and shared that the donation will prove to be transformative in supporting the next generation of world-changers from unique lived experiences and histories.
“The donors' transformative gift supports the Brown-Tougaloo Partnership,” she wrote, “and (it) contributes to preparing more leaders from diverse backgrounds who will change the world.”
Sofia Barnett is a University News editor overseeing the faculty and higher education beat. She is a junior from Texas studying history and English nonfiction and enjoys freelancing in her free time.