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Spelman College Receives Historic Donation

Atlanta private women’s university – Spelman College, recently announced a $100 million historic gift – the largest single donation ever to an HBCU. The donation is from businesswoman and philanthropist Ronda Stryker and her husband, William Johnston, chairman of Greenleaf Trust.

Stryker has been a Spelman College Trustee since 1997. She has worked for decades to empower women through higher education and advance opportunities for additional marginalized groups. This donation is even more significant because Stryker and Johnston are a white couple from Michigan.

The $100 million comes as Spelman College marks 100 years since its official naming in 1924. 

$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 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.

“We are invigorated and inspired by this incredible act of generosity,” said Dr. Helene Gayle, president of Spelman College. “This gift is a critical step in our school’s mission to eliminate financial barriers to starting and finishing a Spelman education. 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.”

This isn’t the first time the Stryker and Johnston have given to Spelman. According to Forbes magazine, “Stryker and Johnston have donated to the school several other times in recent years. In 2018, they donated a historic $30 million—the largest gift from living donors at the time. The couple also matched $2 million in funds for the college in 2020. Stryker has donated to several other universities, giving $100 million to Western Michigan University in 2011 and $20 million to Harvard Medical School five years later.”

Spelman is the country’s leading producer of Black women who complete doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, former Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, and political leader Stacey Abrams.

Ebony Huerta Wells has over 25 years of writing and media experience. She was a former business journalist with a major newspaper and worked for other niche publications.

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