NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s an enrollment and building boom on one of the country’s most historic campuses. Fisk University – one of Nashville’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) – is starting the new semester with a big announcement about expanding its campus.
The school is constructing two new buildings. They include a 300-bed living and learning facility and a new state of the art science building.
“Given the extraordinary growth that we’ve seen in the STEM areas, Fisk has always been known for STEM, but the ability to now put a brand new facility that will be on par with some of the top institutions given that’s where students are asked to compete on a daily basis, this is a really big deal for us,” said Dr. Jens Frederikson, Executive Vice President.
It comes as enrollment has increased by almost 40% in 4 years as school leaders said HBCU’s across the country are seeing a decline in new students.
Dr. Frederikson explained that school leaders made a very strategic push years ago to identify partners that would fund scholarships, even in the recruitment process. That would then turn into internships, and eventually permanent placement in top companies like law firms, big finance companies, or leaders in the healthcare industry.
“I pulled a list from the summers interns of where all our students had interned the summer. And I mean, it is Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Google, Amazon, Oracle. I mean, it’s an absolutely outrageous list, the Los Angeles Lakers,” said Dr. Frederikson. “So, I think the growth in enrollment is both a testament to the fact that Fisk has a legacy, and has played a vital role in sort of the fabric of American life. But also that these days, there is a modern Fisk that is doing these things that is extremely conscious about delivering a return on investment.”
Fisk President Vann Newkirk said the school is at capacity with increased enrollment.
“This new living and learning center will take us one step closer to our goal of once again being a campus of 1,600-1,800 students,” Newkirk stated in a press release.
School officials also said Fisk experienced five consecutive years of fundraising records and total endowment has almost doubled during that time span, totalling $60,000,000.
There’s now a campus overhaul underway with major renovations to Jubilee Hall, a full-scale restoration of the historic Driskell home as well as the Boyd House and the John Work home.