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Virginia Natural Gas, Southern Company Award $220,000 to Norfolk State University for Critical Technology Needs

Virginia Natural Gas and Southern Company’s donation is part of a $50 million, multi-year investment in historically Black colleges and universities.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Nov. 20, 2020 — Virginia Natural Gas and its parent, Southern Company, are donating $220,00 to Norfolk State 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 Norfolk State University will be used for software to support the implementation of the Ellucian Colleague Student Planning Application which will improve registration, teaching and advising processes for students. The application helps students stay motivated through academic planning, fast-path analysis, advising support and degree audit.

This investment will benefit the more than 5,600 undergraduate and graduate students attending the university.

“This gift will help to further student success and retention at Norfolk State University by improving our information systems,” said NSU president Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston. “We want our students to have the best tools available to support them in their academic endeavors and degree completion. We thank Virginia Natural Gas and Southern Company for being a philanthropic partner of our 85-year institution and supporting NSU’s educational mission.” 

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.

“Fundraising for all institutions is very important, but it’s critical for HBCUs such as Norfolk State University,” said Robert Duvall, president of Virginia Natural Gas. “From agriculture and engineering, to medicine and advances in ground-breaking technology, HBCUs have always played a major role in education across many sectors of our society. Our hope is that this funding will draw further recognition to schools like Norfolk State University and deepen partnerships between business and civic leaders and these vital institutions.”

Norfolk State University (NSU) is a public historically Black university in Norfolk. The university is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Virginia High-Tech Partnership. Founded in 1935 as the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Stater University, the college received university status in 1979 and changed its name to Norfolk State University. Currently, Norfolk State offers three doctorate and 15 master's degrees, including master's degree programs in electronics engineering, computer science, and criminal justice to more than 5,600 students. The school also offers 31 undergraduate degrees, including the only undergraduate degree in Optical Engineering 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. Hampton University also received a grant for $500,000 for technology upgrades in the Center for Teaching Excellence to improve remote instruction and delivery.

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About Virginia Natural Gas 
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 and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter,  Instagram and LinkedIn.  

About Southern Company
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.

Media Contact: 
Rick DelaHaya 
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