Future Spelman College students will reap the benefits of the largest single gift given to the institution from a living donor, which will be used to fund its new Center for Innovation & the Arts.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Spelman trustee Ronda Stryker and her husband, William Johnston, made a $30 million donation to the private HBCU. Stryker is the director of Fortune 500 medical technologies firm The Stryker Corp., a based in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Spelman’s largest donation to date, $37 million, came from the estate of Readers Digest founder DeWitt Wallace. Still, Stryker’s contribution is one of the largest made to an HBCU, something that didn’t go unnoticed by Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell.
“With this historic gift, yet again, Ronda’s support will be transformational. Her contribution ensures that Spelman students will be prepared to tackle the challenges of our changing world through innovation, creativity and the dynamic intersection of science, technology, engineering, arts and math.”
The new center will house programs, including art, art history, curatorial studies, dance, digital media, documentary filmmaking, photography, music and theater.
“Spelman alumnae are leaders across every field imaginable, breaking new ground, while tackling some of the world’s most challenging issues from health disparities to the digital divide. We are thrilled to support a building that will encourage students to master technology, innovation and the arts,” Stryker said.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.