In a momentous event at Spelman College’s Sisters Chapel, Lovette Russell, the College’s board chair and alumna, announced a groundbreaking $100 million donation from long-serving trustee Ronda Stryker and her husband William Johnson. The generous gift, the largest in Spelman’s history and unprecedented among historically Black colleges or universities (HBCUs), was unveiled during a special ceremony commemorating the college’s 100th anniversary.
Russell emphasized the transformative power of Spelman in the lives of talented young women and how the monumental donation would enable more students to pursue their dreams. The $100 million contribution will be divided to address various needs at Spelman: $75 million will be dedicated to scholarships for current and future students, while the remaining $25 million will fund an initiative focusing on public policy and democracy, as well as enhancing student housing.
Spelman’s president, Dr. Helene Gayle, expressed her gratitude and highlighted the broader significance of the donation on “CBS Mornings,” noting that it underscores the importance of investing in HBCUs that have historically been underfunded.
The donation comes at a pivotal time as Spelman celebrates its centennial year and reflects a broader trend of philanthropic support for HBCUs. The historic gift from Ronda Stryker, with an estimated net worth of $7.4 billion, signifies a commitment to fostering education and innovation. The impact of this donation extends beyond Spelman, setting a powerful precedent for supporting Black institutions and narrowing the wealth gap within the HBCU network.
This historic contribution aligns with a growing recognition of the vital role HBCUs play in higher education, emphasizing incremental improvements and acknowledging the journey ahead to ensure lasting positive change.