Florida A&M University is unlikely to follow several other universities that have severed ties with under fire comedian/philanthropist Bill Cosby.
In 1996, Cosby and his wife, Camille, donated $100,000 to establish a scholarship in honor of tennis great Althea Gibson, who graduated from FAMU in 1953.
The donation was matched with $100,000 from the state, in addition to $18,750 in combined proceeds from Gibson’s participation in a golf tournament and state match for an endowed scholarship fund for students majoring in physical education, recreation and health.
In 1987, the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowment in the Arts was created with a $325,000 gift from Camille and Bill Cosby and a $100,000 match from the state.
According to FAMU, the $325,000 donation also enabled $100,000 in state matching funds to be awarded to the School of Business and Industry for an eminent scholar’s chair.
Elise Durham, FAMU assistant vice president for communications, issued this statement Thursday following requests from the Democrat seeking comment regarding FAMU’s intentions in light of dozens of sexual assault allegations filed against the famed comedian.
“Hundreds of FAMU students have benefited significantly from Drs. William and Camille Cosby’s gifts given to the university more than 20 years ago,” Durham said. “To date, the Althea Gibson endowed scholarship and the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Scholarship have benefited students in several disciplines to the tune of over $400,000.
“FAMU is thankful for Cosby’s interest in higher education and his investment in FAMU.”
In 1992, FAMU awarded Cosby an honorary doctorate during a convocation at Bragg Stadium presided over by President Frederick Humphries.
Cosby faces three charges following an indictment in December on three counts of aggravated indecent assault involving a case in Philadelphia with a woman formerly associated with Temple University. Dozens of other women have come forward with allegations of being sexually abused by Cosby, some dating back decades.
Cosby’s attorneys have denied the claims.
Spelman University, which received $20 million from Bill and Camille Cosby in the 1980s, voted to terminate an endowed professorship that was established with the donation. Berklee College of Music also ended a scholarship under Cosby’s name.
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