VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Nov. 19, 2020 — Virginia Natural Gas and its parent, Southern Company, are donating $500,000 to Hampton University to support investments in critical information technology infrastructure upgrades to effectively deliver remote learning.
The gift is part of Southern Company Foundation and its subsidiaries’ $50 million HBCU Initiative, a multi-year funding strategy announced in January 2020 that provides HBCU students with scholarships, internships, leadership development and access to technology and innovation to support career readiness.
"We are thrilled to partner with some of the country's leading institutions of higher learning as we invest in the next generation of technology leaders," said Thomas A. Fanning, chairman, president and CEO, Southern Company. "After speaking with many institutions across our footprint, we heard the call loud and clear: new and better technology is needed to deliver quality education to students, now and in years to come. The goal is to provide resources that will stimulate the kind of critical thinking that will allow students to embrace ideas that will drive the change required for success today and into the future. We look forward to seeing what students from these universities will achieve through the grants we are providing."
The funds awarded to Hampton University will be used to support technology upgrades in the Center for Teaching Excellence to improve remote instruction and delivery; secure a digital transaction management system to streamline processes, secure data, and authenticate signatures; and develop a mobile app for campus communications.
This investment will benefit thousands of current and incoming undergraduate students.
“Hampton University appreciates this generous donation from Virginia Natural Gas and Southern Company,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, president of Hampton University. “These funds will further enhance Hampton University’s commitment to employing advanced technological tools to our students and faculty especially during these unprecedented times where virtual learning is key.”
Virginia Natural Gas and Southern Company are honored to be part of a growing group of corporate and philanthropic partners who have increased support for HBCUs in the wake of the pandemic and mounting calls for racial equality. Both businesses believe deeply in the importance of HBCUs in higher education and in their impact on economic development, innovation and American life.
“Our hope is that this funding will draw further recognition to schools like Hampton University and deepen partnerships between business and civic leaders and these vital institutions,” said Robert Duvall, president of Virginia Natural Gas. “HBCUs are at the forefront of innovation and academic excellence in the United States, and we hope our company’s investment will only accelerate this important work.”
Founded in 1868 as Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Hampton University is a private university located in the heart of downtown Hampton. Steeped in tradition, Hampton University is one of the top historically Black universities in the world, offering a broad range of technical, liberal arts and graduate degree programs to more than 4,200 students. The university has been ranked in the top 20% of engineering schools in the country, the third Best Architecture School in the state, and the first proton therapy cancer treatment center in Virginia.
Virginia Natural Gas and Southern Company are committed to the success of HBCUs and fostering greater diversity and inclusion across the communities they serve. Among the 21 HBCUs awarded grants, two institutions are in Virginia. Norfolk State University also received a grant for $220,000 for software to support the implementation of the Ellucian Colleague Student Planning Application which will improve registration, teaching, and advising processes for students.
For more information, please visit www.virginianaturalgas.com.
Virginia Natural Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service to more than 300,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in southeast Virginia. Consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the company also has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for its safety, innovation, environmental stewardship, community outreach and educational programs, and has been named Local Distribution Company of the year four times since 2015. The company has been ranked by its business customers as one of the most Trusted Business Partners in the utility industry according to Cogent Reports, and as one of the Top Workplaces in Hampton Roads by Inside Business. For more information, visit virginianaturalgas.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices below the national average. For more than a century, we have been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation and a low-carbon future, Southern Company and its subsidiaries develop the customized energy solutions our customers and communities require to drive growth and prosperity. Our uncompromising values.
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