Spelman College receives largest gift to HBCU ever for 100th anniversary

Spelman College sign at Spelman Campus

Spelman College already has a lot to celebrate in 2024. First, this year marks the college’s 1o0th anniversary since its official naming in 1924. In honor of Spelman College’s success and longevity, a donor gifted the school for women $100 million to help the institution continue its mission to help students achieve their academic goals.

The donation, given by Ronda Stryker and her husband Willian Johnson, marks the largest single donation given to a historically Black college or university, or HBCU. Stryker has served on Spelman College’s Board of Trustees since 1997.

Lovette Russell, chair of Spelman College’s board of trustees, shared the good news with Spelman students at a special ceremony on Jan. 18.

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“As a student, I experienced the power of this historic institution and how it transforms the futures of talented young women,” Russell said at an event on the school’s Atlanta campus, which the college shared photo and video from on social media. “I know that some of the brightest young women who dream about coming to Spelman are facing financial hardships and barriers toward higher education. What I am sharing with you today is a major step to ensure more young women can achieve their dreams.”

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Spelman College president Dr. Helene Gayle appeared live on “CBS Mornings” to share her gratitude and share the impact this gift will have on students at Spelman and beyond.

“I think it also says that it’s worth investing in HBCUs more broadly, schools that have been far too underinvested in,” Gayle explained.

According to Forbes, donor Ronda Stryker is worth about $7.4 billion and is the director of Stryker Corp., a medical equipment company founded by her grandfather, Homer Stryker. Stryker’s husband serves as chair the wealth management firm Greenleaf Trust. The couple have donated to Spelman College previously, including a $30 million gift to support the construction of the college’s Center for Innovation & the Arts.

The couple’s $100 million donation will be divided two ways to meet Spelman College needs: $75 million will endow scholarships for future students, and the remaining $25 million will fund an initiative to increase academic focus on public policy and democracy, as well as improve student housing.

“We are invigorated and inspired by this act of generosity,” Gayle said in the college’s official statement. “We can’t thank Ronda Stryker enough for her selflessness and support both as a trustee and friend. There’s not doubt that Spelman College is better because of her.”

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