A magnanimous gift to Spelman College.
The founder and chairman of Barnes & Noble Inc. and his wife have given $1 million to Spelman College in Atlanta.
The college said it planned to use the gift from Leonard and Louise Riggio to fund a scholars program in his name, and to support its planned arts and innovation center.
“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,” Riggio said of his visit to the college. “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. The gift to the scholarship program and to the arts and innovation center from Louise and me commemorates one of the best days I’ve ever had.”
Half of the Riggios’ gift will be used to underwrite six outstanding Spelman students who have demonstrated stellar academic achievement and who are actively engaged in community service, the university said in a statement. The remaining $500,000 will be designated for the design and construction of an arts and innovation center that will house Spelman’s arts programs and Innovation Lab, which encourage creative collaborations at the intersection of the arts, technology, science and other liberal arts disciplines. Program planning for the facility is underway, according to the December announcement.
“Leonard and Louise Riggio have been longstanding supporters of education and the arts,” said Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell. “We welcome them as new donors to Spelman and welcome, too, their enthusiasm and faith in the values and mission of the College. Their generous gift supports the academic success of a group of talented, socially engaged students and, at the same time, helps the College launch the planning of a new facility that will encourage campus wide collaborations and community engagement.”