Spelman College has received a historic donation.
CBS Mornings reports the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) received $100 million from Ronda Stryker, a philanthropist and “longest-serving member of Spelman’s Board of Trustees,” and her husband, William Johnston.
This marks the largest donation for Spelman College and an HBCU.
The announcement was made by Lovette Twyman Russell — who joined the Spelman College Board of Trustees in 2009 — during a school assembly on Jan. 18.
“Let me share with you that this $100 million gift is the largest in Spelman’s history. It is also the largest single donation to any HBCU. Honestly, it’s a transformational gift to any institution, period. We are so grateful, proud, and inspired by this phenomenal gift,” Russell expressed.
Stryker also shared a statement in regards to the donation, saying she feels “strongly that education can be both powerful and transformational, especially for women,” per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Her sentiment rings true as Spelman College produces the most number of Black women who will receive their Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), according to the National Science Foundation.
“The College’s status is confirmed by the U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 51 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 5 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 16th year among historically Black colleges and universities,” a news release states.
The HBCU will now be supported in helping the next generation of students navigate their educational pathways, committing $75 million to scholarships, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes.
Additionally, the remaining financial commitment will be allocated toward improving dormitories, flexible funding to meet the needs of students, and creating a greater emphasis on their democracy and public policy.
“…(T)he ability to secure the future for the kinds of young women that I see every day on campus was just awe-inspiring and incredibly, deeply emotional and deeply moving,” Spelman President Dr. Helene Gayle told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
She added, “I hope this is a message that says HBCUs that already punch well above their weight are worth investing in. We know that there’s a huge return in investment.”