NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When the #11 FedEx Toyota raced around Daytona International Speedway at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday, Aug. 28, Tennessee State University and three other historically black colleges and universities were represented.
FedEx and NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin unveiled the car’s special paint scheme on Aug. 25. It has several unique features including an illustration of HBCU college graduates, “Shaping Black Futures” on the quarter panel, and four HBCU school logos – Jackson State University, Tennessee State University, Mississippi Valley State University, and LeMoyne- Owen College – on the rear bumper.
Hamlin made a strong showing at the Coke Zero Sugar 400. He is among the 16-driver field for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, which means HBCUs will also be in the spotlight.
In particular, the Shaping Black Futures initiative delivered by FedEx is a collective of experiential concepts that support the Black community, specifically highlighting education and career readiness.
Dating back to the early 2000s, FedEx has supported HBCUs to help cultivate the next generation of leaders. Building off its long-standing relationship, FedEx announced a new $5 million HBCU initiative in February 2021. With the donations adding fuel to the cause, the new initiative helps position FedEx as a company that is intentional about driving real benefits and opportunities for students.
When the announcement was made in February, TSU officials said they were pleased to receive the funds, which would be used to help students complete their degrees and prepare them for the workforce.
“We are so appreciative to FedEx leadership for this innovative program to address some of the long-standing issues faced by HBCU students,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “It is no secret that many of the challenges faced by students at TSU relate to limited funds. This partnership is a great example of public and private entities collaborating to enhance the higher education experience for African-American students.”
TSU senior Ammria Carter said she appreciates the FedEx commitment to HBCUs.
“FedEx prioritizing HBCUs during the current climate of our economy means so much to so many people,” said Carter, a political science major from Cleveland, Ohio. “I hope that this act of generosity will spark other companies to consider donating and partnering with HBCUs, especially our beloved Tennessee State University.”
This new initiative continues FedEx support of HBCUs, which includes endowed scholarships at Jackson State University, Tennessee State University and LeMoyne-Owen College; a customized career readiness program established at Mississippi Valley State University; and leadership summits in support of the Southern Heritage Classic for students at both Tennessee State University and Jackson State University, according to FedEx officials.
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About Tennessee State University
Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.