Howard University Receives $1 Million to Launch the Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership

Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick recently announced that the school received a $1 million gift from Heather and Jim Murren to launch the Center for Women, Gender, and Global Leadership.

“We are extremely grateful to Trustee Jim Murren and Mrs. Heather Hay Murren for this generous $1 million gift to create the Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership at Howard University. Our students’ college experiences will be significantly enriched through this program, which will empower Black women to continue to take their rightful place as leaders in every facet of our society and the global community,” says President Frederick in a written statement.

The Center will be led by Howard’s esteemed associate professor of political science, who has been recognized as a Fulbright Specialist Scholar and a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow, J. Jarpa Dawuni, Esq., Ph.D. The focus of the center will include producing innovative and theoretically grounded research and creating a data center on issues of women and gender in the United States and the global Black diaspora. The program will match individual students with high-impact women leaders, entrepreneurs, industry experts, policymakers, and social justice advocates for mentorship and sponsorship opportunities.

Dawuni stated, “The vision of the Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership is to prepare future leaders who are gender-conscious and grounded in Black feminist consciousness through collaboration with faculty on research, service learning, and global engagement,” she says. “The career pipeline project will act as a transformational strategy for opening up professional opportunities and preparing our students for leadership in their chosen careers.”

Trustee Jim Murren and Heather Murren stated, “We cannot overstate the importance of advancing Black women’s leadership at this moment in history. Facing a global pandemic, a severe economic downturn, and a renewed societal focus on racial injustice, the country is facing a critical inflection point. To secure our national economy and ensure our future prosperity, we have to promote female leadership and ensure women’s equal representation across all sectors of our society. Women already represent a significant and growing proportion of the labor force and a vocal component of civic life. This gift seeks to capture that energy, develop this exceptional talent pool, and push our country forward, with women at the helm. Under the transcendent leadership of President Frederick, Howard has become a widely influential institution that is uniquely positioned to develop the next generation of leaders. With Dr. Dawuni’s guidance, we will work to bring this Center to life and realize the vision behind it. As lifetime investors of Howard, we know that the returns on this investment will be exceptional for Black women and for our country as a whole as we move past these challenging times.”

To make a donation to the Center for Women, Gender, and Global Leadership, please visit