Looking back on 2022

JCSU dedicates new Aquaponics Labs

In October, we dedicated a new aquaponics lab and greenhouse at our Sustainability Village. The new additions have turned JCSU's urban garden into an urban farm capable of growing 8 to 10 times more produce.

These aquaponics greenhouses will provide experiential learning opportunities as well as research and training for our students. This donation will also increase our capacity for production tenfold. It will allow us to transform what is now an urban garden into an urban farm.

- Dr. Mark A. Dugo, director of the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainability

This will help further the goals of our Sustainability Village which has served as a learning laboratory for our students and provided food for the historic West End of Charlotte through various farmer's markets. 


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JCSU scores first win in the Retool Your School Contest

The University won a $30,000 grant from The Home Depot as part of its Retool Your School Contest back in April. This is the 13th year for the program, but the first time that JCSU won. 


Thanks to the grant, the University was able to renovate Greenfield Gardens, a corner of the University which received some needed attention. Students, faculty and staff gathered to paint, sweep, assemble furniture and landscape, brightening the space and making it more inviting for our students. 

I think this space will bring us together because students can sit, interact together and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The project was a great way to interact with my community and school, and to be able to make a change and do something productive with my time.

- Cierra Carter, '24 Social Work major

In addition to the spruce up, firepits were installed along with new lighting fixtures. The University held a ribbon-cutting for the space during homecoming week. 

Greenfield Gardens refurbishment timelapse

JCSU Shines as part of the Charlie Sifford Centennial Cup

JCSU students had the chance to tee off on the same holes where the PGA Tour golfers did for the 2022 President's Cup, an event which features some of the best golfers in the world. 


The University served as the host institution for the Charlie Sifford Centennial Cup at Quail Hollow Country Club just before the Club became the location for the President's Cup. 


Our students competed as part of team James Black who was a trailblazer for Black golfers with professional aspirations. 

It’s amazing when you can be a part of the first of anything. To be a part of the first Charlie Sifford Centennial Cup and to have it in my home state of North Carolina is something that makes me excited.

- Isaiah Trollinger ’24, member of the Golden Bull's Golf Team

In addition to the tournament, our students shined as part of the Sifford Thought Leadership Conference where President Clarence D. Armbrister and Miss JCSU Essence Winston '23 were featured guests on the panel. 

JCSU hits $80 million goal for Mayor's Racial Equity Initiative; becomes first workstream to do so


MREI video announcement for JCSU

Johnson C. Smith received the full support of the Charlotte community by surpassing the $80 million fundraising goal set by the Mayor's Racial Equity Initiative in August. The goal was surpassed in less than a year after its announcement and the University distinguished itself as the first of the four workstreams to meet and surpass its fundraising goal. 


Thanks to a generous $1.8 million donation by the Gambrell family, the University was able to surpass its goal. 


Through these donations, JCSU is poised to become a top ten HBCU, expanding the current academic offerings and recruiting top talent through career-oriented incentives. 

The goal of this initiative is to establish public-private partnerships for achieving racial equity, social justice, economic opportunity and upward mobility. The response from our philanthropic and corporate community is unprecedented, and I am proud that this initiative is setting a new standard for American cities.

- Vi Lyles, Mayor of Charlotte

Atrium partners with JCSU to enhance health center

In August 2022, JCSU entered into a partnership with Atrium Health to provide enhanced services to campus at the University’s Health Center.


The partnership features the addition of Atrium Health workers to the JCSU Health Center, which allows the center to offer more services as well as a limited pharmacy.


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Not only has Atrium Health been a faithful partner, but its continued interest in Johnson C. Smith University shows its dedication to helping us fulfill our mission of attracting, matriculating and graduating the brightest leaders of tomorrow, who will shine the JCSU light in their communities and in their professions around the world.

- Clarence D. Armbrister, 14th President of JCSU

JCSU enters a partnership with Howard University to give students career path in pharmaceutical field


Johnson C. Smith University students can now earn a Bachelor of Science degree from JCSU and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Howard University in a seven-year dual degree program.


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JCSU students invited to NFL Draft after strong showing at the Battle of the Brains


A team of students from JCSU wowed the judges so thoroughly at 2022's HBCU Battle of the Brains at South by Southwest in April they were selected as the NFL Favorite and were chosen to participate in the NFL Draft.


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Student and alumni stories

Our students and alumni also made great strides in 2022. Here are a few notable examples. 

From the Queen City to Capitol Hill: Nixon ’25 makes moves in Charlotte and beyond

Justin Nixon ’25 may only be a sophomore in the Political Science program at JCSU, but his determination and excellence in the classroom earned him recognition from a national organization and a seat in an internship on Capitol Hill.


Nixon was also featured in the Summer 2022 issue of The Educated Mentor, an official publication of The Collegiate Black Male Network.


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This has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I heard about the internship from a classmate. I was able to talk to one of Congresswoman Alma Adams' staff members at an event. The opportunity was in the back of my mind for the entire school year.”

- Justin Nixon ’25

2022 graduate Jarin Simmons to compete for the Miss North Carolina crown

Jarin Simmons ’22

Miss Charlotte Jarin Simmons ’22 will be gracing the Miss North Carolina stage in February 2023 in hopes of taking home the crown for herself, aspiring young beauties, her community and her friend, the late Miss USA Cheslie Kyrst.


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Jenkins attends Stanford University Research Program, studies immunology in world-class facilities

Kayla Jenkins in Lab Coat

Kayla Jenkins ’22, a Biology major with a minor in Sustainability, quickly became interested in research after her first full year at Johnson C. Smith University.


Her interest landed her in a summer research program at Stanford University, where she began studying transplant immunology with hopes of one day studying an immunodeficient disease she struggles with herself – type 1 diabetes. 


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My own personal experience with this disease has really driven my whole purpose. Diabetes doesn’t care if you’re sleeping, having fun with your friends or even pregnant. There’s never a time when you aren’t thinking about your blood sugar, which is frustrating. I’m putting my frustration toward my research so that one day I can be a part of the generation that sees a cure for this disease.

- Kayla Jenkins ’22