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Cameron Schrier Foundation Donates $2.5 Million for Endowed Chair for Africana Studies

Student wearing traditional African attire in lecture hall

WASHINGTON – The Cameron Schrier Foundation is donating $2.5 million to Howard University to establish an endowed fund for a chair of Africana studies. The Cameron Schrier Chair in Africana Studies will solidify the University’s leadership in the discipline by supporting the formation of a doctoral program. The endowed chair is to be held by the chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies, currently Michael Ralph, PhD, professor.

“We thank Derek Schrier and Cecily Cameron for this excellent and generous gift in support of Africana studies at Howard University. The scholarship to be developed from the Cameron Schrier Chair will extend our knowledge not just of the historical ties between the African diaspora in America and our brothers and sisters in Africa, but also the living, ongoing relationship between the two,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA.

The formation of an Afro-American studies doctoral program at Howard University comes at a time of growth and expansion for the department. With excellent leadership capable of executing on the delivery of this much needed program, the department will continue its more than 50-year legacy.

“This gift reflects the tremendous generosity of the Cameron Schrier family,” said Ralph, who is also founding director of the Center for Equitable Economy and Sustainable Society (E²S²). “This support also lends momentum to Africana studies through renewed attention to the scholarship that has defined this distinct domain of inquiry as well as emergent research that promises to resolve vexing social problems. And, by funding graduate study, the Cameron Schrier family has helped to ensure that Howard will be a leading voice in the field of Africana studies for many years to come,” Ralph said.

The Cameron Schrier Chair will be under the Department of Afro-American Studies. The chair will pursue research integrating political science, economics, history, and medical anthropology within several focus areas including debt, forensics, incarceration, insurance, and slavery.

“The field of Africana studies is of local, national, and international significance to a multitude of people, including those in Africa and who are of African descent in the Americas and the Caribbean. The intricate connections between these cultures deserve more attention, understanding, and respect, and we are pleased to add to Howard University’s ability to lead research into these issues,” said Cecily Cameron, co-founder of the Cameron Schrier Foundation.

The Cameron Schrier Chair will also support E²S² as a thought-leader in the University’s applied data science center.

“Howard University is one of the most important academic institutions in our country. We are glad to support one of its newest and most groundbreaking research centers, which is a place for collaborative thinking and innovation around equity and transformation. We are energized by Howard’s approach and commitment to addressing some of the most complex challenges of our time,” said Derek Schrier, Cameron Schrier Foundation co-founder.

The mission of E²S², which was launched in 2022 with a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is to study the causes and effects of racial and economic inequities and seek resolutions.

The Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University engages in the study of specific populations, regions, and territories of Afro-descendant peoples. Afro-American Studies also encompasses the examination of ideas, religious and cultural practices, cuisine and artifacts in circulation within and across national and regional boundaries.

About the Cameron Schrier Foundation

The Cameron Schrier Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation established in 2006 and based in San Francisco, California. The Foundation supports nonprofit organizations in the United States and South Africa.

The Foundation works to develop young leaders, promote education equity, help communities in need, and encourage informed public discourse and an active civil society. For more information on the Cameron Schrier Foundation, visit www.cameronschrier.org.

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced two Schwarzman Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.

Media Contact: mediarelations@howard.edu