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Alumnus Bernard Smith donates $11,000 to Esports and Gaming Program

Bernard Smith Jr. ’17Charlotte, N.C. / June 1, 2021 - Alumnus Bernard Smith Jr. ’17 made a generous contribution to help grow of one JCSU’s fastest growing programs. The Smithite donated $11,000 to the Esports and Gaming Program. 

“As a kid I was exposed to computers through gaming,” Smith said. “I loved to play Xbox and that's the only reason I knew about computers, which eventually led me to majoring in computer engineering at JCSU,” Smith said.

Smith, who is a computer engineer for Microsoft, truly believes in the Esports and Gaming program at JCSU. The gamer wishes he had been provided the opportunity to participate in the program during his time as an undergraduate which is one of the main reasons he chose to donate money.

“Even as a gamer, I didn’t always know you could get an internship, scholarship or career by testing, playing, and developing video games. Programs like this provide another avenue for careers to students.”

Since its establishment in 2020, JCSU’s program has been a pioneer in the world of Esports and Gaming. The University is the first HBCU with a gaming lab, academic minor and gaming club. In addition, the program has secured partnerships with Riot Games, Nacon Gaming and POINT3, the official jersey provider for JCSU’s Esports Club, and many others. The partnerships have already turned into opportunities for students. This summer, five gaming club members are interning with Riot Games. Program Coordinator Dr. Bernadette Lawson-Williams is hoping to be able to provide scholarships to students in the near future.

“Mr. Smith's financial support has been instrumental in helping us to sustain initiatives associated with our Esports and Gaming program. Through his support, we are able to solidify our brand as a premier collegiate Esports and Gaming dynasty while transforming the landscape of collegiate esports one controller at a time,” said Williams.

Smith, who has found many ways to give back to the University, including developing a seminar to help students secure jobs at Microsoft, hopes his latest efforts motivate other alumni to give.

“Send an elevator back down,” Smith said when explaining the importance of giving back to the University. “Once we get to higher ranks, it’s important to reach back down and pull other people up by providing more opportunities. My mission is to empower everybody at Johnson C. Smith University to achieve more.”

His donation will provide Xbox’s and funding for additional needs inside the gaming lab.

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