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Fisk University scholarship fund, endowed chair created in honor of Diane Nash thanks to $2.5M gift

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Posted at 3:42 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 16:42:28-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new scholarship fund and endowed chair in honor of civil rights activist Diane Nash have been created at Fisk University thanks to a $2.5 million gift from a Nashville family.

“This is the first and only endowed chair with my name and I am so pleased to have it at my alma mater. This is such an honor and it belongs not only to me, but also to the thousands of people who participated in the freedom movement with me," Nash said.

Donated by Amy and Frank Garrison, this is the largest gift from a Nashville family in the university's 155-year history.

“Fisk’s extraordinary contributions to the fabric of American life are well documented and today's students are eager to continue in the footsteps of those legendary leaders, like Diane Nash and John Lewis, who helped shape a better future and set lasting examples of courage and purpose for all of us,” said Frank Garrison.

“Fisk is such an important asset to our ever-changing city and we wanted to recognize that; Fisk is so deserving of city-wide support and we are very happy to be in a position to lend ours," Amy Garrison said.

The funds will be used to establish a Director of the John Lewis Center for Social Justice, which will be named the Diane Nash - Descendants of the Emancipation Chair.

“Fisk students, the University’s partners and the broader community are all looking for thoughtful and focused programming, inquiry and discussion around social justice. With this remarkable gift and the endowed Director role, Fisk will be able to address this need for the next 155 years and we are beyond grateful to Amy and Frank Garrison for their vision and support," said Executive Vice President Jens Frederiksen.

In the last five years, Fisk University has not only seen enrollment growth but seen a significant increase in the academic profile of the incoming classes. University leaders have said Fisk's future has never looked brighter.