Couple gifts Spelman College with historic $100M donation; largest in HBCU history

ATLANTA — One of the largest single donations ever to a historically Black college or university is coming to one of Atlanta’s own - $100 million to be exact.

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On Thursday, Spelman College announced a $100 million gift from businesswoman and philanthropist Ronda Stryker and her husband, William Johnston, Chairman of Greenleaf Trust.

The donation comes at the heels of the school’s official naming in 1924, marking its 100th year.

According to the release, $75 million of the $100 million will go to scholarships for future students while helping to ease the financial burden that stops qualified students from enrolling at Spelman.

The remaining $25 million will be used to expand an academic focus on public policy and democracy, improve student housing and provide flexible funding to meet critical strategic needs.


Since 1997, Stryker has been a Spelman College Trustee. Officials say she has worked for years to empower women through higher education and advance opportunities for additional marginalized groups.

“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,” Dr. Helene Gayle, president of Spelman College said.

The college celebrated the announcement of Stryker and Johnston’s gift at a ceremony.

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