HBCUs get $15 million from Gates Foundation to expand coronavirus testing

“When you look across the landscape of the country, the intent was really to have all the HBCUs participate,” said Wayne A.I. Frederick, president of Howard. “With us being a total family of 104 HBCUs, I think we do have the capacity to cover just about everyone.”

Howard is looking to work with schools, including Morgan State and Coppin State universities in Baltimore and the University of the District of Columbia, Frederick said.

Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, also selected by the foundation to create a testing hub, will process tests for Edward Waters College, Bethune-Cookman and Florida Memorial universities — Florida’s other HBCUs — said Larry Robinson, the school’s president.

Other testing hubs announced Tuesday will be at Hampton University, Meharry Medical College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Xavier University of Louisiana. Four more schools will be selected in the coming weeks, officials from foundation said.

The $15 million donation will equip the hubs with diagnostic testing supplies, lab equipment and staff.

The coronavirus tests will come from lab equipment company Thermo Fisher Scientific, through its initiative to bolster testing infrastructure on historically Black campuses. The company has donated millions to HBCUs in recent months to make testing available to students, faculty and staff.

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