Spelman College Receives Largest Donation In HBCU History

Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, is making history after receiving the largest donation ever made to an HBCU. According to 11Alive, the school revealed the gracious donation on Thursday, January 18.

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How Much Was The Donation?

According to the outlet, the women’s college was given a donation of $100 million. Additionally, the gesture reportedly makes it the “largest charitable gift” ever given to an HBCU, a.k.a. historically Black college or university.

The outlet reports that a married couple made the donation. The wife is a businesswoman and philanthropist named Ronda Stryker, and her husband, William Johnston, is a trust board chairman.

11Alive adds that Stryker has been a Spelman College Trustee since 1997. According to Teachers College – Columbia University, trustees work with school presidents and administrators on reviewing academic programs, raising funds, approving major policies, and other duties.

Furthermore, the donation marks 100 years since Spelman’s official naming in 1924, per the school’s press release released Thursday.

“We are invigorated and inspired by this incredible act of generosity,” the president of the institution, Dr. Helene Gayle, said per the press release.

Additionally, Gayle referred to the gift as a “critical step” in Spelman’s mission.

“This gift is a critical step in our school’s mission to eliminate financial barriers to starting and finishing a Spelman education,” the release adds. “We can’t thank Ronda Stryker enough for her selflessness and support as both a trustee and friend. There’s no doubt that Spelman College is better because of her.”

What Will The Money Be Used To Fund?

According to the press release, the $100 million donation has already been assigned to different causes. Seventy-five million dollars will go to “endowed scholarships for future students.”

“$75 million of the $100 million will go to endowed scholarships for future students, helping Spelman College continue to attract the best and brightest students, while working to remove any financial barriers that prevent qualified students from enrolling at Spelman,” the release reads.

Additionally, $25 million will focus on “public policy and democracy.”

“The remaining $25 million will be used to develop an academic focus on public policy and democracy, improve student housing, and provide flexible funding to meet critical strategic needs,” the release adds.

The President Of Spelman Elaborates On The Donation

President Dr. Helene Gayle appeared on ‘CBS Mornings’ on Thursday. Gayle elaborated on the impact the hefty donation will have on the school and its future.

“I’m just feeling overjoyed,” she said, per CBS News. “This is such a historic moment, and it will mean so much not only to the girls who are at Spelman now, but for young women far into the future. It’s just amazing.”

Additionally, Gayle elaborated on the “power” of a Spelman education.

“When I talk to women who graduate from Spelman, they say, ‘We developed such a sense of ourselves, such a sense of confidence that we know we can go anywhere, that when we’re in a room, we belong there,’” she explained. “And that’s the power of what Spelman and a Spelman education can do. And that’s what Ronda Stryker has had the opportunity to see, up close and personal.”

Watch the school’s announcement and President Gayles’ sentiments below.

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