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Southern University receives $250K for endowment fund, development programs from Diageo North America

The Southern University System has received $250,000 from Diageo North America to create an endowment fund and provide financial aid grants to deserving students across different disciplines and majors. As part of the expansion of Diageo's initial program supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Southern joins 28 HBCUs and minority-serving institutions to receive permanent endowments.

“At Southern University, we pride ourselves in providing an accessible learning environment for all students, ensuring that they are prepared to compete in a global marketplace,” said Dennis J. Shields, president-chancellor of the Southern University System. “The Diageo Endowed Scholarship Fund will aid in our mutual commitment to providing our students with valuable resources and in helping to shape a more equitable society.”

The initiative also provides access to development programs that support students and faculty with a variety of resources that complement traditional learning. These include lectures and mentorship from Diageo executives, skills training to cultivate future-ready talent, and bringing together leaders across public and private organizations to create solutions that help advance sustainable growth across these institutions. 

“Diageo recognizes the critical role HBCUs and minority-serving institutions play as ladders of opportunity for underrepresented communities,” said Stephanie Childs, executive vice president of corporate relations at Diageo North America. “Expanding our program to additional higher education institutions further affirms our recognition and commitment to address structural barriers to educational and economic opportunities in the U.S. We believe our additional investments, will help provide students with employable skills and support the development of the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders.”

An Ongoing Commitment to Advancing Diversity & Representation

In 2021, Diageo North America announced its initial $10M endowment to support 25 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In 2022, Diageo joined a consortium of leaders across HBCUs, corporations and research organizations with the aim to advance growth opportunities for these institutions focusing on cultivating a pipeline of future-ready talent by reimagining career guidance, upgrading facility and technology infrastructure, and exploring innovative financial models for sustainable growth. Diageo North America is also part of the Congressional HBCU Partnership Challenge, helping to advocate for positive policies at higher education institutions.

Diageo’s “Learning Skills for Life” program provided employability skills and hospitality training to more than 900 people in underrepresented communities in 2022 through a variety of community partnerships, and across our work with HBCUs.

In addition to these initiatives, Diageo continues to promote diversity and equal representation in the spirits industry through its work with Pronghorn, a standalone business venture and ten-year action plan dedicated to the development of Black entrepreneurs and minority owned brands. The work in this space includes actively participating in Pronghorn Spirits Academy internship program for Black students attending HBCUs and other universities.

This past year the company and its brands celebrated the advancement of the HBCU community through talent and sports, as the official spirits partner of the 49th Annual Bayou Classic in New Orleans.

More information on Diageo’s ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’ commitment to championing inclusion and diversity.

About the Southern University System The Southern University System was created in 1974 by constitutional mandate, which fashioned it into the nation’s only historically black 1890 Land-Grant University System.  Presently, the System is composed of five institutions:  Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College at Baton Rouge (est. 1880), Southern University Law Center (est. 1947), Southern University at New Orleans (est. 1956), Southern University at Shreveport (est. 1964), and the Southern University Cooperative Extension Program (est. 1972), which became the fifth component of the System in 2001 and is now named Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.


About Diageo

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan's whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Casamigos, DeLeon and Don Julio tequilas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE: DGE) and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at Visit Diageo's global responsible drinking resource,, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news and information about Diageo: @Diageo_News and @Diageo.