ATLANTA -- Most of the $20 million that comedian Bill Cosby and his wife donated to Spelman College will be used for building an academic center, school officials said.
Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, Spelman's first black woman president, accepted the donation Friday at a dinner to celebrate her inauguration.
The donation marked the largest individual gift in the 107-year history of the college for black women.
'Mrs. Cosby and I have been blessed because I found a vein of gold in the side of a mountain,' said Cosby, who holds a doctorate in education. 'Mrs. Cosby and I wanted this woman (Cole) to know how much we love this school.'
Upon the announcemnt of the gift, the 2,000 people in the audience leaped to their feet, but Cosby reminded them the center had not been built.
About 60 percent of the money will be used to build the center, which will double the college's classroom space. The new building also will house a women's research center dedicated to the works of black women.
The remaining 40 precent of the money will be set aside for the college's endowment, currently about $42 million. The interest for the endowment will be used for various projects, including maintaining the center. The proceeds also will be used to establish the college's first chairs in the fine arts, social sciences and humanities.
The largest single donation ever to a college or university also went to a private Altnata institution. In 1979, the Emily and Ernest Woodruff fund donated $105 million to Emory University.