February 2019, News & Features

Aging buildings are a challenge but fund-raising is going well

Falcon Forum Editor Elyscia Vaugn Brown interviews Pres. Everett B. Ward

Saint Augustine’s University has been doing very well in its fund-raising efforts over the past few years, according to Dr. Steven Hairston, Vice President of Institutional of Advancement and Chief Operations Officer. The university was able to increase its corporate involvement from 36 to 144 companies, Dr. Hairston said. The university is about halfway to its goal of $2.7 million, he said.

Among Saint Augustine’s corporate partners are major companies such as Pepsi and Bojangles. Major upcoming events for Saint Augustine University include the Jazz Brunch on March 1, during the CIAA Tournament. Last year’s Jazz Brunch raised over $71,000, Dr. Hairston said. Also coming up is the Stone of Hope Gala on May 10. That is also another major fund-raising event where alumni and organizations give back to the university, he said.

“The end goal is to raise $2 million to fix the dorms so that students can live comfortably,” Dr. Hairston said. “One of the priorities is to bring as many dollars and to fix the infrastructure for this institution.”

Fixing aging buildings is a big challenge for Saint Augustine’s University. Recently, CBS 17, a news station in Raleigh, has aired news stories about mold in Latham Hall. The station ran a picture sent to CBS 17 by the grandparent of a student who resides in the freshman dorm. CBS 17 later aired a video of a school official falling through the first floor of an upper-class dorm into a crawlspace, a nearly four-foot drop.

The station obtained the video from an unidentified source. University officials told the news station that mold remediation efforts are underway and that they were taking care of problems as they hear about them.

President Everett Ward acknowledged the challenge but said the university is meeting it. He said in an interview with The Falcon Forum, “Saint Augustine’s has had major infrastructure issues for a long time, and now that we have probation out of the way, we are now moving into a capital campaign where we will raise funds specifically for infrastructure issues that we have.”

— Zariah Settles and Elyscia Vaughn Brown