Spelman College Receives Historic $100 Million Donation, the Largest Ever for an HBCU


January 19, 2024

This generous contribution coincides with Spelman College celebrating its 100th naming anniversary!

ABC News reports that Spelman College, a historically Black women’s liberal arts college in Atlanta, has received a groundbreaking $100 million donation, marking the largest single contribution ever made to any Historically Black College or University (HBCU).

The historic donation comes from businesswoman and philanthropist Ronda Stryker and her husband, William Johnston, chairman of Greenleaf Trust. Stryker, a Spelman College Trustee since 1997, has a strong commitment to empowering women through higher education and providing opportunities for marginalized communities.


Of the $100 million, $75 million is allocated for endowed scholarships to support future students, while the remaining $25 million will be utilized to develop an academic focus on public policy and democracy, enhance student housing, and offer flexible funding to address critical strategic needs, according to a press release from Spelman College.

The college, founded in 1881 as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, holds the top ranking among HBCUs by U.S. News & World Report. It is also a proud member of the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC), the world’s largest consortium of African American private institutions of higher education, which includes Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Dr. Helene Gayle, president of Spelman College, expressed gratitude for the “incredible act of generosity,” emphasizing that the gift is a crucial step in the school’s mission to remove financial obstacles for students pursuing a Spelman education. “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.”


Cover Photo: Spelman College Board Chair, Lovette Russell, announces the university’s historic gift. / Credit: Spelman College

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