19 Apr 2024

“Not on My Watch.” SAU Receives $22K Donation During SAU Day at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church

RICHMOND, VA— Last weekend, Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) was the center of a significant event, SAU Day, at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, VA. This event, marked by a strong sense of solidarity and generosity, underscored the community’s uncompromising support for SAU in the face of financial and accreditation challenges and sensationalized media coverage. It was a powerful testament to SAU’s resilience and commitment to its mission of academic excellence.

“It’s great that churches far and near come to the rescue of Saint Augustine’s University. What’s currently happening is communities have said, not on my watch. I think about the spirit of bishop Delany in Saint Augustine’s Chapel, built by students, faculty, and staff getting rocks from a rock quarry. We’re doing the same thing again,” said SAU Interim President Dr. Marcus H. Burgess during the church’s livestream. “We will build this institution back brick by brick, stone by stone, people by people, student by student, faculty by faculty, staff by staff. And in such a way that we will still stand when the tumultuous winds blow.”

The theme of Ubuntu, an African philosophy emphasizing interconnectedness and collective identity, resonated powerfully throughout the event, echoing the sentiment that “I am because of who we all are.” This philosophy underscores the unity that binds the SAU family, a community built on shared values and a common purpose. This enduring spirit of collaboration and support makes SAU truly special.

“There is a Japanese art called kintsugi. Kintsugi is a repair technique in which ceramic pieces are put back together to form a new whole, and the scars are then covered with real gold. Behind this idea is that all things are unique, and breakage is not the end. This is SAU. Let’s make sure that this institution does not fall by the wayside and that these students continue to be able to grow and be fed,” said Rev. Marlene E. Forrest, Rector of St. Philips Episcopal Church, during the church’s livestream. “This is Ubuntu, everybody’s interconnectedness. Everything affects everybody because we’re all connected. This church believes in community engagement. And we don’t mean just our community right here. We mean our wider community. Everyone is our neighbor, so we want to do our part.”

One of the most impactful moments of the day was the generous $7,000 contribution from St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. This substantial donation, a testament to their unwavering support for SAU’s mission and vision, will directly contribute to SAU’s growth and success, making a tangible difference

in the lives of our students. The Richmond Petersburg Alumni Chapter further exemplified their dedication by providing a nourishing meal for the students, fostering a sense of care and community.

“It was an honor and a privilege for the Richmond Petersburg alumni chapter to host SAU Day in Richmond in partnership with St. Philip’s Episcopal Church,” said Annette McFarland, Richmond Petersburg Alumni Chapter President. “We were so proud to raise money in any way that we could to assist in any way we can to help our beloved alma mater, Saint Augustine’s University. As we stand with SAU and under Dr. Burgess’ leadership, I believe that it’s important for everybody to please trust the process now.”

President Linwood Brockett of the Washington DC Metropolitan Alumni Chapter demonstrated the alumni’s unwavering support by presenting a substantial donation of $15,000. This significant contribution, raised at the William Jefferson Jackson Annual Honors Award luncheon, is a testament to the alumni’s steadfast commitment to supporting SAU’s growth and success.

“It was a great day indeed,” said Linwood Brockett, President of the Washington DC Metropolitan Alumni Chapter, in a Facebook post. “Everything is working together for our beloved SAU!”

The support extended to SAU during SAU Day serves as a beacon of hope and resilience, dispelling doubts and showcasing the unwavering dedication of the Falcon community. Through unity, generosity, and shared values, SAU continues to thrive and empower its students to achieve greatness in the face of challenges.

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