By: Stacy M. Brown, NNPA
Renowned businesswoman and philanthropist Ronda Stryker and her husband, William Johnston, Chairman of Greenleaf Trust, have bestowed a monumental gift of $100 million to Spelman College. The extraordinary donation is the largest single contribution ever made to a historically Black college or university (HBCU).
According to a news release, Stryker, a devoted Spelman College Trustee since 1997, has dedicated decades of her life to the advancement of women through higher education, championing opportunities for marginalized groups. The $100 million gift coincides with Spelman College commemorating 100 years since its official naming in 1924, marking a historic occasion in the institution’s rich legacy.
Officials said a significant portion of the $75 million donation is earmarked for establishing endowed scholarships to support future students. Officials continued that the move aligns with Spelman College’s commitment to attracting the brightest minds and dismantling financial obstacles that may impede qualified students from pursuing education at the esteemed institution. The remaining $25 million will go towards initiatives such as the development of an academic focus on public policy and democracy, enhancements to student housing, and the provision of flexible funding to address 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.”
The $100 million donation is a testament to Stryker and Johnston’s commitment to education and a significant leap forward for Spelman College in its pursuit of becoming need-blind, Gayle remarked.