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Grant Hill and Atlanta Hawks collaborate on 33 HBCU scholarships

Spelman, Clark Atlanta and Morehouse will all benefit

School is in session, so it’s not surprising to see students scrambling to finalize schedules and buy books or anything else they’ll need for the semester. But some students are still scrambling to pay tuition. Fortunately for cash-strapped students in the Atlanta University Center (AUC), the Atlanta Hawks might be able to help.

Grant Hill, inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last week, and the Atlanta Hawks donated more than 30 scholarships in his honor. During his career, Hill wore No. 33, so it seemed only fitting to donate 33 scholarships to students at AUC schools Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College and Morehouse College. This breaks down to 11 financial aid packages for each school.

Steve Koonin, CEO of the Hawks, announced the gifts.

The cost of attendance at each school is only slightly lower than the national average. Students living on campus pay just over $38,000 to attend Clark Atlanta. For Spelman students, the cost is nearly $43,000. Morehouse students pay slightly less.

Spelman president Mary Schmidt Campbell is grateful for the money and said it supports Spelman’s long-term educational goals.

“Grant Hill’s passion for the arts and education perfectly aligns with Spelman’s mission to educate the whole student through a dynamic liberal arts experience,” said Campbell. “We appreciate the Atlanta Hawks recognizing his athletic excellence and his commitment to HBCUs by supporting students at Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta.”

Hill, who has said he values the legacy of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), sought to develop a strong relationship with the AUC once he became a co-owner of the Hawks in 2015. The Hawks have a mission to expose students to career opportunities in sports, and the AUC has taken advantage of it.

In 2011, the Morehouse journalism program was founded, and the Atlanta Hawks have supported the program. In 2017, the Hawks held a Black History Month event on Morehouse’s campus open to the entire AUC that included a panel discussion with Sekou Smith, Malcolm Delaney and Claude Johnson.

The AUC has been a vital piece of Atlanta culture for years, as it remains the world’s oldest and largest contiguous association of historically black colleges and universities. Notable alumni include Kenya Barris and Bryan-Michael Cox from Clark Atlanta, Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson from Morehouse, and Bernice King and Stacey Abrams from Spelman.

Although Hill is excited to enter the Hall of Fame, the ability to offer these scholarships gives him and the Atlanta Hawks another source of pride.

“It is an honor and privilege to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, perhaps the greatest accomplishment of my life,” said Hill. “Yet, learning that the Atlanta Hawks have created scholarships in my name for 33 students matriculating at the AUC member institutions is the most humbling gift and the highest distinction that I can receive.”

Janae Adams is a senior mass media arts major from the Bay Area. She is a staff writer for “The Panther” and is a firm believer that drums are better than flats.