Spelman College Receives $1 Million for Scholars Program, Arts Center

Spelman College, one of the nation’s two historically black colleges for women, has announced a $1 million gift from Leonard and Louise Riggio.

According to the school, $500,000 of the gift will be used to establish the Riggio Scholars Program, which every year will underwrite six Spelman students who have demonstrated stellar academic achievement and are actively engaged in community service. As Riggio Scholars, students will have an opportunity to deepen their critical thinking skills and delve into a transformational experience at the college, which places African-American women at the center of unique educational and leadership opportunities in science and technology, as well as the social sciences, humanities, and the arts. The remaining $500,000 will be designated for the design and construction of an arts center on campus that houses the college's arts programs and an Innovation Lab.

"From the moment I was surrounded by its warm embrace, I was head over heels in love with Spelman College and especially with the beautiful people who study and teach there," said Leonard Riggio, the founder and chair of Barnes and Noble, the nation's largest retail bookseller. "The whole of the place seems to have been lifted from the depths of our spirits, to the full realization of our hopes and dreams for a better America. If Spelman is not the paradigm of a great college, I do not know what is."