Center of Excellence at the SU Ag Center receives $500,000 from the 1890 Foundation

Baton Rouge, La. – The Center of Excellence for Nutrition, Health, Wellness, and Quality of Life (NHWQL), located at the Southern University Agricultural Research & Extension Center (SU Ag Center), is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $500,000 from the 1890 Universities Foundation. This funding is made possible through a grant from Walmart’s Center for Racial Equity.


“The 1890 Universities Foundation is pleased to provide supplemental funding to support the important work of the Center for Nutrition, Health, Wellness, and Quality of Life which is the newest center in the 1890 Centers of Excellence program. This funding is made possible through the 1890 Foundation’s partnership with Walmart and is an example of the Foundation’s mission to assist the 1890 Universities by leveraging partnerships to fund innovative solutions to address compelling economic, social, health, environmental and technological challenges facing our communities,” said Dr. Mort Neufville, President and CEO of the 1890 Universities Foundation.


“The Southern University Ag Center is appreciative to the Walmart Foundation who recognized that the Southern University Center of Excellence for Nutrition, Health, Wellness and Quality of Life was worthy of investing in, as it aligns with our mutual goals around improving the quality of life for the Citizens we collectively serve,” said Dr. Orlando F. McMeans, Chancellor-Dean of the SU Ag Center and the College of Ag.  “I am also appreciative to USDA-NIFA for awarding Southern this Center of Excellence designation and its initial funding.  And lastly, thanks to the 1890 Foundation and its leadership for seeking partnerships that will advance the missions of these Centers,” expressed Dr. McMeans.


Walmart announced the grant in a press release stating that the funds will build staff capacity to prepare students for careers in fields such as agriculture, healthcare, and technology via the Foundation’s four Centers of Excellence across its 19 institutions.


“We are very grateful to Walmart for providing us with this grant through our 1890 Universities Foundation,” said Dr. Fatemeh Malekian, Project Director for NHWQL and Director of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Wellness at the SU Ag Center. “This funding will assist the team (consisting of the SU Ag Center, North Carolina A&T State University, Tuskegee University, and the 1890 Universities Foundation) in increasing the capacity of the Center of Excellence for Nutrition, Health, Wellness and Quality of Life, in supporting the tripartite land-grant’s mission of research, teaching and extension and contributing solutions to improve the health and well-being of underserved and minority populations,” added Dr. Malekian.


In May, the SU Ag Center was named as one of four 1890 Centers of Excellence grant recipients to receive funding from the U.S. Department of  Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The Ag Center received $1,680,000 in funding to establish NHWQL, which addresses diet-related health disparities in African Americans by increasing the capacities of 1890 institutions through nutrition research, teaching and extension. NIFA award the Ag Center an additional $1,680,000 earlier this month to enable the Center to continue its work for a second year.


The 1890 Universities Foundation was established in December 2016 and supports the core mission of education, outreach, and academics across the nineteen 1890 land grant universities in the United States. These universities, called Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) were established through the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1890.


Walmart also funded grants to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank dedicated to research and advocacy to equip Black and African Americans with the skills needed to thrive in the evolving economy and researches the barriers and gaps that exist within education and training for economic advancement and to CodePath, which aims to increase diversity in tech by transforming college computer science education.


In total, Walmart provided $3 million in grants to the three areas.


For additional information about the Center of Excellence for Nutrition, Health, Wellness, and Quality of Life, contact Dr. Fatemeh Malekian at or Dr. Renita Marshall, Co-Project Director for NHWQL and SU Ag Center Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Student Services/ Associate Dean of the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences at  







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