Historically Black Women’s College Spelman Receives $100 Million Gift

Spelman College, the Atlanta women’s school, announced Thursday that it had received a $100 million donation, which its officials called the largest donation ever made to a historically black college.

The gift comes from Ronda E. Stryker, a Spelman trustee, and her husband, William D. Johnston, president of the wealth management company Greenleaf Trust. Ms. Stryker serves as a director of the medical equipment company Stryker Corporation, founded by her grandfather.

In an announcement, Spelman College said that $75 million of the donation had gone toward scholarships and that the remaining money would go toward improving student housing and developing an academic focus on public policy and democracy.

In a statement, Spelman President Helene Gayle said the university was “invigorated and inspired” by the couple’s generosity, adding: “This gift is a critical step in our school’s mission to eliminate financial barriers to begin and finish an education at Spelman.”

Ms. Stryker and her husband, billionaires known for their educational philanthropy, had previously donated $30 million to the university.

Along with her husband, Ms. Stryker, a former special education teacher in Kalamazoo, Michigan, also donated to a medical school at Western Michigan University, a school the couple attended, and made a major donation to Harvard. Ms. Stryker has been a trustee of Spelman College since 1997.

Ms. Stryker could not be reached for comment. But in a statement, she said: “It is important to me that all women are given the opportunity to explore their talents, challenge their self-doubt and realize the power of achieving individual success.”

Spelman is one of only two all-women, historically black colleges and universities.

Philanthropists have increasingly focused on HBCUs and other Black nonprofits after the killing of George Floyd in 2020, which sparked a national reckoning on race.

Last week, the United Negro College Fund Announced which had received a $100 million grant from the Lilly Endowment that would be used to fund 37 black colleges, including Spelman and its complementary men’s school, Morehouse College.

The two universities were also among those that had received significant donations from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, who has donated more than $500 million to HBCUs in recent years. In 2020, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, also donated $120 million to Spelman, Morehouse, and the United Negro College Fund.

Spelman and Morehouse are among the best-known and most prestigious of the roughly 100 American colleges considered historically black, a designation that means the schools were formed to educate black students before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when many colleges and universities banned Your income. admission.