Basketball legend Charles Barkley is helping a historically Black college in a big way.
This week, the NBA Hall of Famer became the first to donate $1 million to Miles College, a private liberal arts institution in Fairfield, Alabama. Barkley announced the gift on a Wednesday morning phone call with the college’s interim president, Bobbie Knight.
“I’ve gotten to know Bobbie over the last year, and it was something I really wanted to do,” he said, according to AL.com. “To have a female president is a big deal. I want to help Bobbie be as successful as she can be.”
Knight, who was named interim president in July, said Barkley’s donation will help jump-start a new comprehensive campaign to raise $100 million for the college. His grant is said to be the largest single gift in Miles’ 122-year history.
“What Barkley has done helps lay the foundation for the campaign,” said Knight, who’s the first woman to head the HBCU. “I don’t think he realizes what he has done.”
The Alabama native is no stranger to giving back and has donated $1 million gifts to other HBCUs in the past, including Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Alabama A&M, The Associated Press reports.
Barkley hopes his million-dollar pledge will go toward academic scholarships for Miles students, though the gift isn’t restricted.
“They can do what they want to do with it,” he added.
News of his generous donation drew plenty of praise.
“Thank you, Sir Charles!” one Twitter user wrote. “No greater place to get your knowledge than from an HBCU College!”
“As an HBCU alumna….I know the blessing of a financial gift of that magnitude. WAY TO GO CHUCK!!!!!!!!!!!,” another chimed in.
One user called Barkley’s act of kindness simply “wonderful.”