13 Apr 2024

SAU Receives $60K Award from the Home Depot Retool Your School Program to Boost Student Residential Life

More support has resulted in another big win for one of North Carolina’s historically black colleges/universities (HBCUs). Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) has once again showcased its commitment to excellence and community support by securing a $60,000 Campus Improvement Grant after finishing fifth among universities with a student enrollment of 1,200 or less in Home Depot’s prestigious Retool Your School competition. This momentous achievement comes at a critical juncture for SAU, whose resilience amidst financial and accreditation challenges has captured the attention of national audiences.


“Winning this grant is a testament to the enduring support and dedication of our alumni, students, and stakeholders who believe in the transformative power of education,” said SAU Interim President Dr. Marcus H. Burgess. “This award not only enhances the physical infrastructure of our campus but also underscores the resilience and spirit of community that defines SAU.”


SAU, a three-time participant and award recipient in the Retool Your School program, received an outpouring support from its dedicated alumni and stakeholders. This overwhelming response, with an impressive 184,933 votes cast in its favor, is a testament to the deep connection and pride that the SAU community holds for their alma mater. It reinforces the university’s enduring legacy of excellence, impact, and the collective effort that made this achievement possible.


“I’m thrilled that alumni from all over, in addition to those who are members of the National Alumni Association, contributed to this achievement,” said Dr. Jonelle Sherald, President of the National Alumni Association of Saint Augustine’s University. “This award marks a significant milestone in our journey, starting three years ago when we first participated in Retool Your School. We’ve seen a steady increase in our grants, gaining $20,000 more each year since then, and we’re aiming for the $100,000 award next year.”


The $60,000 grant will significantly improve the daily lives of SAU students. It will enhance the laundry facilities in Falkcrest Apartments, SAU’s largest residence hall, which accommodates 324 students. Falkcrest, a coed residence hall, is home to rising sophomores, upperclassmen, and Presidential Scholars, underscoring the significance of this campus improvement in enhancing diverse students’ living and learning environment.


“This is excellent news. A lot of times when I was washing my clothes, the laundry room would be either too packed where everybody was trying to wash their clothes or some of them weren’t working, which resulted in me going off campus,” said LeDrico McCollough, a rising sophomore and Presidential Scholar from Spartanburg, SC majoring in film. “Knowing that we won this grant and that we’re getting new equipment and different washers and dryers will make washing our clothes smoother and more efficient, which is a huge improvement.”


The winners’ ceremony in Atlanta on Thursday, April 11th, celebrated the participating schools and culminated in the 2024 voting season. SAU’s impressive accomplishment in securing the grant further solidifies its reputation as a resilient and forward-thinking institution prioritizing its students’ well-being and success.


Click here to view a complete listing of the winners.