(NNPA)—Saint Paul’s College a historically Black college, located in Lawrenceville, Va., recently received the largest donation in the school’s history from the estate of former Washington, D.C. Councilwoman Hilda Mason, a St. Paul’s alum, and Charles N. Mason Jr.
The $1.4 million endowment will be used to create a scholarship fund available to students pursuing a degree in any major area at the college.
“My mother was determined, compassionate, and a fighter for all people,” Carolyn Nicholas, Mason’s daughter, said in a statement.
After graduating from Saint Paul’s, Mason began her career as a schoolteacher in the Campbell County public school system. In 1957, Hilda met Charles Noble “Charlie” Mason Jr., a wealthy, White Mayflower descendant, at All Souls Unitarian Church, which was then and remains a center of progressive activism in Washington. In between picketing the D.C. Transit Company to demand an end to its racist hiring practices and protesting the Whites-only membership policy of the YMCA, Hilda and Charlie engaged in a long courtship and married in 1965.
She went on to an illustrious public service career with the D.C. Board of Education, D.C. Council, and the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
School officials said the donation will be invested and the return on those investments will be awarded to deserving students during their annual Honors Day program.
Founded in 1888 by an Episcopal priest as Saint Paul’s Normal and Industrial School, the college opened its doors to former slaves and their children. The school’s name was changed to Saint Paul’s College in 1957 when programs that led to a bachelor’s degree were added to the curriculum.