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Pharrell Williams Hosts SITW Panels in D.C.

SITW Forums 2022 Elephant in the Room PanelAs part of the Something in the Water Forums 2022 held at the St. Regis in Washington, D.C., NSU President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston participated in the Elephant in the Room Business panel. This panel was moderated by Ryan Shadrick and Pharrell Williams and panelists included black CEOs and executives from Fortune 500 companies. Dr. J spoke about the value of investing in HBCUs as they educate some of the best and brightest black students and serve as the economic engines for black communities. This panel was a pre-cursor to the Elephant in the Room 2022 Summit to be held in Norfolk, Virginia with Norfolk State University serving as the host site.

SITW Forums 2022 Student Debt Crisis PanelIn addition, Eric W. Claville, Director of NSU’s Center for African American Public Policy, co-moderated a Student Debt Crisis panel. This panel received a lot of attention in the media as they discussed the impact of student loan debt on black students and families, including the hardships of putting off life decisions and having to do more with less given the historical lack of family resources. More specifically, the panel discussed the importance of student loan debt forgiveness for HBCU students. 

To culminate the panel discussion, Pharrell Williams paid off each student’s loans on stage, including NSU Alumnae Jamie Turner, a political science major, Class of 2020.

In a LinkedIn post, Turner said “The way your life can change in the blink of an eye is crazy. I’ve been advocating for student debt cancellation for a while and to have my student loans cleared like that is so surreal.”

Read Turner's entire post at