Sean “Diddy” Combs will give $1 million to the School of Business at Howard University for scholarships for undergraduate business majors and internships with his companies.
Combs announced the gift, with Howard President Wayne A. I. Frederick, from the stage of Verizon Center during his Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour.
Combs, a musician, entertainer, and entrepreneur, attended Howard; he did not graduate but was given an honorary degree.
“I was blessed to receive a great education from Howard University – one of the best schools in the world – and it helped to fuel my success in business and life,” Combs said in a statement. “This scholarship will make it possible for the next generation of leaders to pursue their dreams and achieve greatness.
“When I delivered the commencement address at Howard, I asked the students ‘Do you know how powerful you are?’ I know that Howard students are intelligent, talented, passionate, and their hard work will shape the future.”
Next fall, undergraduate business majors with a 3.0 grade-point-average and financial need will be eligible for the scholarships, which are intended to encourage students’ entrepreneurial drive. They will also get a summer internship at Bad Boy Entertainment or Revolt Media & TV and a Combs Enterprises representative to be a mentor.
Frederick said in a statement, “The scholarship fund that Mr. Combs has established at Howard will help provide life-altering opportunities for our students, particularly at a time when many come to Howard struggling to meet ever-increasing financial needs.
“The University is grateful for Mr. Combs’ ongoing efforts to open doors for talented, hard-working individuals and improve their chances of navigating the way to personal and professional fulfillment.”
Combs has supported a number of educational and other charities, including for children in New York schools.
It’s hardly the largest gift to a university — donations in the tens of millions to universities are not uncommon, and, in this area, Johns Hopkins University accepted a $350 million donation a few years ago — but it was another very welcome piece of good news for Howard.
Howard, one of the country’s most elite historically black universities, has suffered through financial troubles and student protests about run-down buildings and budget cuts in recent years.
But a credit rating agency recently noted with approval some of the changes the university’s leadership have put in place, and the school has had a series of public-relations splashes to celebrate, such as President Obama giving the commencement address there this year.
This fall, actor/comedian/musician/all-around-famous guy Nick Cannon arrived on campus — as a freshman.
And earlier this month, Cannon joined Michelle Obama and NBC’s “Late Night” host Seth Myers to surprise a group of freshmen on campus for a back-to-school event celebrating higher education; Cannon told them he has “a real thirst for knowledge.”
The university will celebrate its 150th anniversary this spring.