Clark Atlanta University Receives $1 Million Gift from Chick-fil-A for Student Success and Access

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) has announced that it has received a $1-million gift from Chick-fil-A, Inc., a restaurant company known for the Original Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich and signature hospitality.  The gift supports the University’s historic $250 million Campaign for Clark Atlanta University, which has a principal goal of generating much-needed funds for student access, retention, and graduation support.

Appropriately, the gift was presented at the University’s 34th Annual Commencement held in CAU’s Panther Stadium on May 20, 2023, when more than 600 scholars received doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees across multiple disciplines.

Carol Waddy, a 1992 CAU graduate and the director of community affairs for corporate social responsibility at Chick-fil-A, Inc., presented the gift, which will be dispersed over two years.

CAU President Dr. George T. French, Jr. said the investment helps the University to broaden and deepen its services available to students.

“Chick-fil-A’s generous commitment of $1 million is an investment in the bright futures of Clark Atlanta University students and will help ensure that we continue building on our mission of delivering education that is accessible, relevant, and transformative,” he said.

“With partners like Chick-fil-A, our vision of being a leading institution of higher learning that impacts society through transformative, educational experiences is within reach. At Clark Atlanta, finding a way or making a way is a community endeavor.”

CAU’s graduation had other notable highlights:

  • The University received a $2.5 million gift from the William F. Pickard Foundation to establish a scholarship fund and rename Beckwith Hall in honor of Dr. William F. Pickard and Thomas W. Dortch, Jr.
  • The commencement address was delivered by Christopher “Chris” Womack, the first African American to serve as CEO and president of the Southern Company.
  • The University presented an honorary doctorate degree to its former board of trustee member, Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., a trailblazing entrepreneur and community activist who rose to become chairman of the 100 Black Men of America.

 About Clark Atlanta University

Established in 1988 by the historic consolidation of Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869), Clark Atlanta University continues a 150-year legacy rooted in African American tradition and focused on the future.  Through global innovation, transformative educational experiences, and high-value engagement, CAU cultivates lives that transform the world.  To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit