NORFOLK, VA — The L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center echoed with the cheers of a standing ovation as the Landmark Foundation’s Frank Batten Jr. gifted Norfolk State University with a five million dollar check Friday morning.
The five million dollar gift will help bridge the gap for in-state students in financial need and is intended to prevent students from having to drop out or take jobs to supplement their college expenses.
“When students are able to be on campus because they don’t have to work. They are engaged in the university and that engagement really is one of the critical factors of student success at this university,” NSU President Javaune Adams-Gaston said. “it’s an awesome opportunity”
Norfolk State University staff, board members, and student government association members were in attendance during the check presentation ceremony.
“This is definitely going to be something that’s going to close that gap, and something that will allow students to believe that there are ways to get through school without having to scrape money together or work on the side,” student government association president Indya Richards said.
The Landmark Foundation’s gift will be broken up into amounts of $1 million per year – enough for each in-state student to receive $5,000 in scholarships per academic year. The scholarships could begin to disperse as early as the spring 2023 semester.
Adams-Gaston said that the university will distribute scholarship application information to its students.
“Norfolk State is a very important contributor to the life of our region, our state, and our entire nation, and we as the Landmark Foundation are really just delighted to support this great university,” Batten Jr., CEO and president of the Landmark Foundation.
Batten Jr. shared that unmanageable tuition costs are often the cause of college dropouts, even when the cost is only a small amount.
“I hope more students will be able to stay in school who maybe are on the edge of not being able to, and then also have less debt, which sets them up either for their work, or going to grad school,” he said.
Adams-Gaston revealed that the Landmark Foundation’s gift is one of the largest that the university has ever received, and she hopes that the foundation’s generosity will help Norfolk State continue to be one of the most affordable and accessible institutions in the state of Virginia.