HAMPTON, Va. – A historically black university is stepping up to help students in the Bahamas who are affected by Hurricane Dorian.
Hampton University announced Thursday it would be partnering with the University of the Bahamas to allow students who have been displaced by the storm to spend the fall semester on its campus in Hampton, Virginia, tuition-free.
“I think this agreement is something that can be helpful to a great number of students and families, and is part of something I’ve tried to do my entire career — helping people to achieve and meet their goals,” Hampton University President William R. Harvey said in a statement.
Rodney Smith, the President of the University of the Bahamas, is the former administrative vice president and chief planning officer at Hampton.
University of the Bahamas students will be able to receive room and board for one semester. They will also have the option of staying at Hampton after the semester is over while paying standard tuition and fees.
Smith and Harvey’s agreement comes after Hurricane Dorian slammed the Bahamas, wiping out entire neighborhoods when it made landfall Sunday as a Category 5 storm. Dorian is the strongest hurricane ever to hit the Bahamas. The official death toll was 20 as of Thursday.
Lawrence Rigby, who graduated from Hampton in 2015, said in a statement he is pleased to see his university helping other Bahamian students continue their education during this time.
“Hampton has been the educational choice for many Bahamians over its long history. I am grateful to President Harvey and university leadership on this demonstration of kindness and humanity to my home in our time of need,” said Rigby, 2014-2015 Student Government Association President from Nassau, New Providence. “Young Bahamians from Abaco and Grand Bahama who are looking for the tools to rebuild their lives and our home will find them at Hampton.”