Fisk University Receives Record-Breaking Donation From Family

Fisk University announced last week it received a record-breaking donation from a Nashville family. Amy and Frank Garrison, who are graduates of the neighboring Vanderbilt University, gave the HBCU $2.5 million, marking the largest gift from a Nashville resident in Fisk’s 155-year history.The funds will be used to establish an endowed chair position named in honor of Dr. Diane Nash, the iconic civil rights strategist.  

“We could not be more excited about this extraordinarily generous gift and we are grateful that Dr. Nash has allowed the University to name this historic Chair in her honor,” Fisk University President Vann R. Newkirk said in a statement. 

The Diane Nash –– Descendants of the Emancipation Chair will serve as the director of the John Lewis Center for Social Justice, the University said in a release. Both Dr. Nash, and the late civil rights icon John Lewis attended Fisk. 

“This is the first and only endowed chair with my name and I am so pleased to have it at my alma mater,” Dr. Nash wrote in a statement. “This is such an honor and it belongs not only to me, but also to the thousands of people who participated in the freedom movement with me.” 

The Garrisons acknowledged Fisk for its “extraordinary contributions to the fabric of American life” in a statement. “Today’s students are eager to continue in the footsteps of those legendary leaders, like Diane Nash and John Lewis, who helped shape a better future and set lasting examples of courage and purpose for all of us,” the couple wrote in a statement. 

Fisk boasts several notable alumni in addition to Lewis and Nash, including W.E.B. DuBois, Nikki Giovanni, James Weldon Johnson, Ida B. Wells, and Judith Jamison, to name a few. 

Photo: Getty Images

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