Texas Southern University (TSU) is joining a growing number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to benefit from a $25 million-dollar donation of COVID-19 test kits, diagnostic equipment and related supplies from Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. The donation will enable no-cost testing for all TSU students, faculty and staff for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year and support a safe return to campus and learning environment in the spring semester.
The donation will also provide technical assistance to TSU as it expands its laboratories to become a testing hub which will allow the university to process thousands of samples from other HBCUS in Texas: Jarvis Christian College, Paul Quinn College, Prairie View A&M University and Texas College.
The initiative, called The Just Project, is named after Ernest Everett Just, a pioneering biologist and HBCU graduate. It’s part of Thermo Fisher’s commitment to expand access to COVID-19 testing and address the pandemic’s disproportionate impact in communities of color.
“We are grateful to Thermo Fisher Scientific for including Texas Southern in this critical initiative and are excited to use our talented team in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, led by Dean Rashid Mosavin, to join the battle against COVID-19. The Just Project will help us monitor the health of our campus community and honor the biological and medical legacy of HBCUs in the United States,” said Kenneth Huewitt, interim president of Texas Southern University.
With the addition of TSU, eight HBCUS have joined the initiative to serve as testing centers: Howard University College of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Xavier University of Louisiana, Hampton University, Tuskegee University and Florida A&M.
“For more than 150 years, HBCUs have consistently trained leading doctors, lawyers, engineers and scientists while playing a critical role in closing the achievement gap. During the pandemic, they’ve risen to the occasion, proving their resilience in the face of enormous challenges,” said Fred Lowery, Senior Vice President and President of Life Sciences Solutions and Laboratory Products at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “We’re proud Texas Southern University will benefit from The Just Project in an effort to support a safe learning environment for our next generation of leaders.”
“The opportunity for Texas Southern University to act as a hub for testing to assist other HBCUS fits perfectly with our mission to serve,” said Stephanie Nellons-Paige, member of the Texas Southern University Board of Regents. “We appreciate the vision of Thermo Fisher Scientific and their inclusion of the talent and expertise of our TSU team to execute during this critical time for our nation.”
As part of the initiative, Thermo Fisher has also committed to hiring 500 HBCU students over the next three years.