This week, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick announced that the renowned college received a generous gift of $1 million from Trustee Jim Murren and his wife Mrs. Heather Murren to launch the Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership at Howard University.

According to a statement published by the university, the gift will jumpstart a multi-million fundraising effort toward an “interdisciplinary, student-centered, faculty-led institute that works with professional programs in health, business, communications and law, as well as majors in the arts and sciences.”

“We are extremely grateful to Trustee Jim Murren and Mrs. Heather Hay Murren for this generous $1 million gift to create the Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership at Howard University,” said President Frederick in a statement. “Our students’ college experiences will be significantly enriched through this program, which will empower Black women to continue to take their rightful place as leaders in every facet of our society and the global community.”

Both Trustee Jim Murren and Heather Murren shared their excitement for the new center stating:

“We cannot overstate the importance of advancing Black women’s leadership at this moment in history. Facing a global pandemic, a severe economic downturn and a renewed societal focus on racial injustice, the country is facing a critical inflection point. To secure our national economy and ensure our future prosperity, we have to promote female leadership and ensure women’s equal representation across all sectors of our society. Women already represent a significant and growing proportion of the labor force and a vocal component of civic life. This gift seeks to capture that energy, develop this exceptional talent pool and push our country forward, with women at the helm. Under the transcendent leadership of President Frederick, Howard has become a widely influential institution that is uniquely positioned to develop the next generation of leaders. With Dr. Dawuni’s guidance, we will work to bring this Center to life and realize the vision behind it. As lifetime investors of Howard, we know that the returns on this investment will be exceptional for Black women and for our country as a whole as we move past these challenging times.”

Efforts to the new center will be led by J. Jarpa Dawuni, Esq., Ph.D. — the school’s esteemed associate professor of political science — who has been recognized as both a Fulbright Specialist Scholar and a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow.

Dawuni explained the new center will have four core areas of focus for students – including student-centered teaching and learning; high-impact faculty research, publications and grant-making; community-centered service learning; and global advocacy.

“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,” she 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.”

The center will offer more professional opportunities for students through scholarships and internships as well as pair students with affluent women thought leaders, entrepreneurs, industry experts, policymakers and social justice advocates to secure future mentorship and sponsorship opportunities.

To make a donation to the Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership, click here.