Actor Denzel Washington has donated $1 million to Wiley College, a historically Black college in Marshall, Texas. The donation will help fund scholarships for students pursuing a college education while representing the school as a member of its debate team.
“Supporting the next generation of brilliant minds in the art of debate at Wiley College will open so many doors of opportunity for these students during college, career, and beyond,” Washington said about his donation.
“We are honored to continue supporting the best and the brightest in the land and look forward to The Great Debaters continuing to do what they do best: win.”
Washington has had a relationship with Wiley College for more than a decade. In 2007, he portrayed the college's former debate team coach, Melvin B. Tolson, in the film, The Great Debaters. As the film made its way to theaters, Washington committed to donating $100,000 per year for a decade until 2018. He is using this new donation to reignite the commitment he made from 2007 until 2018.
“We are grateful for the Washington family’s generosity for 15 years and counting to Wiley College’s phenomenal debate team, which, because of this support, can live out our motto to ‘Go forth Inspired,’” Wiley College President Dr. Herman J. Felton added.
“Being a dominant force as home of The Great Debaters makes us a very attractive option for those skilled in debate, and this financial support further amplifies the benefits of becoming a Wiley debate scholar.”