HBCU Johnson C. Smith Gets $5.7M Tech Grant, Largest Ever, To Upgrade Systems And Internet

HBCU Johnson C. Smith Gets $5.7M Tech Grant, Largest Ever, To Upgrade Systems And Internet


A building at Johnson C. Smith University. (Twitter)

Johnson C. Smith University has received a $5.7 million federal grant to shore up its technology systems and provide 5G internet service to its campus and neighboring community. It is the largest federal grant in the school’s 156-year history.

“Not only is it imperative that we provide stable, highspeed internet access for our students, staff, and faculty, but we have a commitment to the surrounding community,” JCSU board Chairman Steven L. Boyd said. “This grant will provide the resources necessary to build the infrastructure required to connect the community to the economic, health, and personal opportunities available in this great city.”

Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, JCSU is in a period of unprecedented growth aided by Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles’ Racial Equity Initiative. The initiative aims to invest $250 million to address inequities and remove barriers to opportunity by transforming JCSU into a top-tier, career-focused HBCU.

Johnson C. Smith is immersed in a five-year plan called the Gold(en) Blueprint. JCSU President Clarence D. Armbrister describes the plan as “necessary” in a statement on the school’s website.

“Change is not always easy, but it is necessary if we are to evolve and compete in a rapidly changing higher education landscape,” Armbrister said. “This plan, which will guide the work of every JCSU employee, provides a clear vision for the future of JCSU as a thriving institution that transforms the lives of our students, drives the growth and prosperity of the Historic West End, and contributes to Charlotte’s knowledgeable, highly-skilled and creative workforce.”

The HBCU also expressed its excitement at being able to help community members beyond its students and faculty on campus.

“With these technological updates, more residents of the Historic West End will be connected to internet resources, which can aid in job searches, telehealth opportunities and more for the residents who need these resources the most,” JCSU said in a statement.