New HBCU center in DC announced


WASHINGTON — A new institution aimed at housing students and faculty of historically Black colleges and universities in the nation’s capital has been announced.

Jacqueline Lewis, philanthropist and founder of Washington Intern Student Housing, is launching the National Center for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Established to house interns in the nation’s capital, WISH has supported diversity and inclusion for more than a quarter-century and is the leading student housing program on Capitol Hill.

Ms. Lewis, a former teacher and longtime advocate for experiential learning, has established a foundation to run the center with a $1 million gift pledge to pay semester housing costs for 175 student interns.

The center will provide multi-use educational facilities and serve as a premier living and learning experience for the students.

A five-story building on Connecticut Avenue N.W. — originally built by Boston University for students interning in D.C. — will house the center. Other institutions sharing the building will connect participants to students around the world.

The center will host students and faculty for the purpose of advancing their experiential education and research programs. Institutions of all sizes will have access to the facility, as will alumni who may participate by mentoring interns.

Ms. Lewis has named Marie Dennis, currently CEO of WISH/WiSE, to serve as center director and work with HBCU representatives nominated by their institutions. She will coordinate with a student-life professional, creating programs and ensuring student safety and conduct, similar to other institutions in Washington.

“(Philanthropist) Mackenzie Scott’s recent gifts to HBCU were a strong vote of confidence in their mission, and I see internships changing lives and want to keep it going,” Ms. Lewis said in a statement. Ms. Scott has donated more than $800 million to colleges and universities across the country dedicated to serving large numbers of Black, Latino and Native American students.