NATIONAL NEWS

Couple gives $100M to Atlanta’s Spelman College, in largest single gift to a Black college

Jan 18, 2024, 8:43 AM

ATLANTA (AP) — A billionaire couple is giving $100 million to Atlanta’s Spelman College, which the women’s school says is the largest-ever single donation to a historically Black college or university.

The donation was announced Thursday by Ronda Stryker and her husband William Johnston. She is the billionaire granddaughter of the founder of medical device maker Stryker Corp. and he is the chairman of money management firm Greenleaf Trust. They live in Michigan.

Spelman said that it would use $75 million to endow scholarships. The rest of the money will be used for other purposes, including developing an academic focus on public policy and democracy and improving student housing, a sore point in recent years among Spelman students.

“It’s a transformational gift to any institution, period,” trustee Lovette Russell said.

HBCUs have small endowments compared with other colleges, but have seen an increase in donations since the racial justice protests spurred by the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. Spelman, which has about 2,400 students, has been relatively well-funded though, reporting an endowment of $571 million in 2021. It’s one of only two historically Black women’s colleges and part of the Atlanta University Center, a consortium of four historically Black schools.

“I think it says that it’s worth investing in HBCUs more broadly, schools that have been far too underinvested in,” Spelman College President Helene Gayle told CBS News. The college announced the donation Thursday in its chapel on a CBS broadcast.

Stryker has been a Spelman trustee since 1997. She and Johnston gave Spelman $30 million in 2018. They also gave $100 million in 2011 to create the Homer Stryker medical school at Western Michigan University.

The Spelman donation comes a week after the United Negro College Fund announced a donation of $100 million from the Lilly Endowment Inc. That gift will go toward a pooled endowment for the 37 historically Black colleges and universities that form UNCF’s membership, including Spelman, with the goal of boosting the schools’ long-term financial stability. The fund is trying to raise $370 million for a shared endowment.

Other big donations to HBCUs in recent years include the $560 million MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, gave in 2020 to 22 Black colleges, the UNCF and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, another fundraising arm. Netflix founder Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, split $120 million among the United Negro College Fund, Spelman and Morehouse College. Former New York mayor and entrepreneur Michael Bloomberg pledged $100 million for student aid at the four historically Black medical schools.

National News

Associated Press

FBI searches home of former aide to New York Gov Kathy Hochul

MANHASSET, N.Y. (AP) — The FBI searched the Long Island home of a former aide to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday. The former staffer, Linda Sun, has not been accused of wrongdoing, and an FBI spokesman declined to release details beyond confirming that agents “conducted court-authorized law enforcement activity in Manhasset.” Sun and […]

21 minutes ago

Associated Press

Los Angeles Zoo sets record with 17 California condor chicks hatched in 2024

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A record 17 California condor chicks hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo during this year’s breeding season for the endangered birds, officials announced Wednesday. All the chicks will be candidates for release into the wild as part of the California Condor Recovery Program, the LA Zoo said in a statement. The […]

28 minutes ago

FILE - A Boeing 737 Max jet, piloted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson, ...

Associated Press

Prosecutors file Boeing’s plea deal to resolve felony fraud charge tied to 737 Max crashes

The Justice Department has filed an agreement in which Boeing will plead guilty to a fraud charge for misleading regulators who approved the 737 Max jetliner before two of the planes crashed, killing 346 people. The detailed plea agreement was filed Wednesday in federal district court in Texas. The American aerospace company and the Justice […]

32 minutes ago

Associated Press

Biotech company’s CEO pleads guilty in Mississippi welfare fraud case

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The chief executive officer of a biotech company with ties to the largest public corruption case in Mississippi history pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of wire fraud for improperly using welfare funds intended to develop a concussion drug. Jacob VanLandingham entered the plea at a hearing in Jackson before U.S. […]

46 minutes ago

President Joe Biden disembarks Air Force One as he arrives Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Ju...

Associated Press

Biden to use Oval Office address to explain his decision to quit 2024 race, begin to shape legacy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Insisting that “the defense of democracy is more important than any title,” President Joe Biden on Wednesday will explain in an Oval Office address his decision to drop his bid for reelection and to throw his support behind Vice President Kamala Harris. The address will offer the public their first chance to […]

60 minutes ago

Vice President Kamala Harris arrives at Indianapolis International Airport, Wednesday, July 24, 202...

Associated Press

The fight to define Harris is on. And for now, Republicans are dominating Democrats on the airwaves

NEW YORK (AP) — Just days into her new role as the Democratic Party’s likely presidential nominee, Kamala Harris is already facing a wave of Republican-backed attack ads questioning her personality, her progressive record and what she knew about President Joe Biden’s decline. But for now, at least, Democrats have yet to engage in the […]

1 hour ago

Couple gives $100M to Atlanta’s Spelman College, in largest single gift to a Black college