A Bahama’s Army officer speaks with people evacuated prior boarding a ferry to Nassau at the Port in Marsh Harbor, Abaco Island, Bahamas, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. Photo: AP Photo (Fernando Llano)
Thankfully, there has been a global outpouring of support for the islands of the Bahamas, which were severely impacted by Hurricane Dorian earlier this week.
One historically black college—Hampton University—stepped up to the plate to help survivors of the storm, offering students the opportunity to continue their higher education on its campus this fall—free of charge.
The Virginia-based school, which ranks among the top three historically black colleges and universities for largest endowment (behind Washington D.C.’s Howard University and Atlanta’s Spelman College), has formed a pact with with the University of the Bahamas-North to allow students affected by Hurricane Dorian to attend classes at Hampton for the Fall 2019 semester and receive room and board for one semester for free.
The students will have the option to stay at Hampton once the semester is over at regular rates for tuition and fees.
“I think this agreement is something that can be helpful to a great number of students and families and is part of something I’ve tried to do my entire career —helping people to achieve and meet their goals Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey said in announcing this groundbreaking and heartfelt humanitarian effort.
Harvey and University of the Bahamas president Dr. Rodney Smith came to this agreement after Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas with high winds and rain for more than two days, causing extensive damage and a rising death count.
The agreement has special meaning for Smith, who served as the administrative vice president and chief planning officer at Hampton University.
Founded in 1868, Hampton University boasts a countless list of notable alumni, including educator and presidential advisor Booker T. Washington, former governor Charles Turnbull, U.S. ambassador Robin R. Sanders, Emmy Award winner comedian Wanda Sykes, Academy Award costume designer Ruth E. Carter, hip-hop personality DJ Envy, AfroPunk chief Jocelyn Cooper-Gilstrap, former music executive turned beauty influencer Angelique Miles and black media luminary and gay rights activist Emil Wilbekin.
Two-thirds of the Chesapeake Bay-area school’s student population are women and 90 percent of its body identifies as black.
Lawrence Rigby, who graduated from Hampton in 2015, said that “young Bahamians from Abaco and Grand Bahama who are looking for the tools to rebuild their lives and our home will find them at Hampton,” according to a press release from the school.