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Dominion Energy hosts forum with HBCU leaders to discuss social change

Dominion Energy hosted a forum in honor of Juneteenth with leaders from four Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) including Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack of Claflin University, Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis of Benedict College, and Dr. Harold L. Martin of North Carolina A&T University, and Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston of Norfolk State University. The forum discussed the impact that last year’s events had on students and the actions that HBCUs are taking to propel social change. 

“It is my hope that during this dialogue we can continue to highlight what HBCUs have meant to the United States,” said President Warmack. “HBCUs educate 50% of African American teachers, 40% of African American health professionals, 70% of African American dentists and physicians and 80% of African American judges.”

“I applaud our university because our students, faculty, and staff did really well through the pandemic,” said Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston. “Where we have resilience and great partnerships we are able to be successful, even in the midst of a pandemic.”

Our HBCU leaders emphasized the role that they play in the advancement of social and economic prosperity of African Americans through education of the next generation of leaders. 

“I think our institutions are uniquely positioned to make a substantial contribution,” said President Artis. “We are minority suppliers of talent, of human capacity, of brain power and intellectual acumen. We are uniquely positioned to be an important part of the nation’s solution to complex problems. From the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the dismantling of systemic and institutionalized racism.”

The forum participants understand that allies in the community and in corporate business help dissolve racial and societal complications, and help produce a foundation of young Black professionals. 

“Few institutions have the ability to help students of color reach their full potential more than HBCUs,” said Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy’s president and chief executive officer.  “We want to help foster conversations on the issues that matter and highlight the unique role that HBCUs play in our communities.”

Benedict College and Claflin University received a combined $5 million from Dominion Energy as a part of their HBCU Promise initiative, which commits $25 million to 11 HBCUs in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Ohio. The initiative also includes an additional $10 million in scholarships to African American students as well as other minorities.