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Florida A&M University is placing a hold on a record-breaking $237 million donation after questions arose regarding the value and source of the “largest ever for one of the country’s historically Black colleges and universities.”

The donation from Batterson Farms Corporation’s Gregory Gerami and the Isaac Batterson Family 7th Trust was presented on May 4 during the HBCU’s annual commencement ceremony.

After the media and school leaders raised questions about it, President Larry Robinson called an emergency meeting with FAMU’s fundraising foundation May 9 announcing the decision to pause the donation. “With regards to the gift and the processing of it and so forth, in terms of future processing, we’ve already decided it’s in our best interest to put that on hold,” Robinson said during the meeting.

The donation, which would have increased the school’s endowment and potentially helped students and faculty for generations to come, was met with skepticism, partially due to some of Gerami’s past dealings. According to WCTV, Gerami presented a $95 million gift to Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina, which fell through in 2020. The school eventually cut ties with the business owner in November 2020 after the deal failed.

The hefty gift, received in the form of millions of shares of stock, had reportedly been transferred to FAMU. The entrepreneur made a pledge to donate “14 million shares of stock of intrinsic value worth at least $239,000,000” to FAMU, according to the agreement.

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