Yale University Announces  Million Commitment To HBCUs, Marks Start Of New Partnership

Yale University announced it would commit $10 million to HBCUs over the next five years as it establishes the Alliance for Scholarship, Collaboration, Engagement, Networking, and Development, also known as the ASCEND Initiative. The partnership, announced during Black History Month, addresses Yale’s historical association with slavery.

The Ivy League institution examined its role in a new book, Yale and Slavery: A History, and announced several initiatives to support the Black community.

“This initiative will deepen the relationship between HBCUs and Yale through bidirectional partnerships centered on research, teaching, and access for students,” Yale Provost Scott Strobel and Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity Gary Désir said in a press release. “In particular, ASCEND programming will support research collaborations between HBCU and Yale faculty, provide resources for HBCU faculty research projects, and expand pathway programs for HBCU students.”

“These programs, planned with HBCU partners, commit to increasing representation and amplifying the significant contributions of HBCUs in shaping the academic landscape,” they added.

At the moment, Yale has signed agreements with five HBCUs, including Claflin University, Hampton University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Tuskegee University. It hopes to expand the initiative to other universities.

“The Hampton-Yale partnership will allow us to leverage and amplify our unique strengths to educate and empower scholars and leaders who are committed to bending the universe’s moral arc toward justice,” Hampton’s president Darrell K. Williams said.

He noted that the HBCU is “uniquely prepared to partner with Yale in the spirit of truth and reconciliation to create and expand opportunities in research and scholarship for students and faculty from our historic universities.”

The initiative includes grants to fund research by HBCU and Yale faculty, fellowships to support HBCU faculty using Yale’s resources, and joint course experiences for teaching fellows. Fellowships and grants will debut this spring.

ASCEND will also expand Yale’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program to help undergraduate students explore opportunities for Ph.D. — level careers in research.

The announcement represents Yale’s commitment to “build bridges between academic communities and advance representation across disciplines.”