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Allen University and Columbia Housing form Collegiate Athletic and Academic Partnership

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Columbia Housing's Ivory N. Mathews (left) and Allen University's President Dr. Ernest McNealey celebrate after forging a new partnership.

Columbia Housing and Allen University Form Collegiate Athletic and Academic Scholarship Partnership

From August 1 through November, Columbia Housing will lend a piece of property at The Oaks at St. Anna's (formerly Gonzales Gardens site) to Allen University (AU) to be used as a practice field for the university's football team. In exchange, the university will offer a resident of Columbia Housing a full academic scholarship complete with room and board. 

For Columbia Housing's CEO Ivory Mathews, the partnership has special meaning. "This Collegiate Athletic & Academic Partnership rings personal for me. At 18 years old, I was blessed with an athletic scholarship, and, for me, it was a hand-up and my ticket out of poverty. I personally know the benefits of investing in people who come from modest beginnings. Columbia Housing is honored to play a small role in assisting the student-athletes at Allen Unversity to prepare for the upcoming football season," says Mathews.

Between now and August 1, in accordance with the partnership -- Columbia Housing is readying the field for the student-athletes, grading the practice field, laying sod, etc. and AU is covering those costs. Students return to campus at AU on August 1st and football practice is set to begin on August 6th. 

Down the road -- Allen University President Dr. Ernest McNealey is also interested in mixed-use housing developments that are in the works at Columbia Housing. "Not all their new developments will be for low-income people, and we have staff and faculty that travel great distances -- 80, 90 miles one way -- and we're looking for opportunities to have them closer to campus. As these projects unfold, I think it will be a good opportunity," says McNealey.

Columbia Housing is committed to exploring ways to continue and strengthen its partnership with Allen University. 

Pictures from Allen University and Columbia Housing's Collegiate Athletic & Academic Partnership announcement held on July 13, 2021.

Allen University & CH Partnership

Left to Right: Yvonda A. Bean, Chief Operating Officer - Columbia Housing; James Chatfield, Commissioner - Columbia Housing; Ivory N. Mathews Chief Executive Officer - Columbia Housing; Dr. Ernest McNealey, President - Allen University; Kara Simmons, Commissioner - Columbia Housing; Dub Taylor, Vice President of Institutional Advancement - Allen University; and Cynthia Pryor-Hardy, Senior Vice President of Communications - Columbia Housing

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Dr. Ernest McNealey, President of Allen University

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Ivory N. Mathews, Chief Executive Officer - Columbia Housing

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Left to Right: Honorable Mrs. Jean Hopkins and Ivory N. Mathews, CEO - Columbia Housing

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Left to Right: Cynthia Pryor Hardy, Senior Vice-President of Communications - Columbia Housing; Mrs. Jean Hopkins; Ivory N. Mathews, CEO - Columbia Housing; and Angela Clyburn, Richland 1 School Board Member

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