CIC Presidents Present 2018 Awards during Annual Conference

1/17/2018 — Washington, DC

Download a PDF of the press release.

​The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) announced the recipients of its 2018 awards on January 6 during the annual Presidents Institute in Hollywood, Florida.

CIC presented the Award for Philanthropy (Individuals) to Ronda E. Stryker and William D. Johnston. These awards celebrate individuals and organizations who demonstrate the love of humankind through consequential giving and who provide an example of the philanthropic spirit. Thomas L. Hellie, chair of the CIC Board of Directors and president of Linfield College, and Richard Ekman, president of CIC, presented the awards.

In presenting the Award for Philanthropy (Individuals) to Stryker and Johnson, Hellie said, “As the founders of the Ronda E. Stryker and William D. Johnston Foundation, these philanthropists focus their grantmaking on social justice issues such as the elimination of racism, empowerment of the disenfranchised, and elimination of poverty, among others.” Their support has been instrumental to many colleges and universities, and transformational at both Spelman and Kalamazoo Colleges.

Support to Spelman led to the renovation of its historic Sisters Chapel, established the endowed Gordon-Zeto Center for Global Education to engage Spelman students with many cultures of the world, spurred the reinvention of Spelman’s Read Hall wellness facility, provided student scholarships, and underwrote the annual fund effort to increase alumnae support. Stryker also has served on the board of trustees of Spelman College since 1997.

At Kalamazoo College, Stryker and Johnston’s support developed the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement, funded three endowed chairs in the sciences and humanities, and provided principal support for capital projects. Most recently, Stryker has served as co-chair of the Campaign for Kalamazoo College. Through their leadership, Stryker and Johnston helped Kalamazoo surpass the campaign’s $125 million goal. Stryker also served as vice chair of the board of trustees for ten years.

In announcing the 2018 Award for Philanthropy (Organization) to Newman’s Own Foundation, Ekman said, “This award celebrates a foundation or corporation whose support to CIC or private colleges and universities has demonstrated leadership and vision and has, consequently, made a significant difference in the health of independent higher education.”

“The Newman’s Own Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that continue the legacy of the late Paul Newman—philanthropic giving and creating long-lasting impact. In the past ten years, the foundation has supported a number of CIC member colleges and universities by funding programs and endowing scholarships,” Ekman said. Robert Forrester, president and CEO of Newman’s Own, accepted the award on the foundation’s behalf.

Especially noteworthy are the foundation’s contributions to Kenyon College for scholarships. Between 2007 and 2014, the foundation awarded $1 million annually to Kenyon for the Newman’s Own Foundation Scholarship Fund. This endowed fund is used by the college to “support annual scholarships to deserving students who otherwise would be unable to attend Kenyon,” primarily students of color, first-generation, or other underrepresented students.  

Programmatic support to other CIC institutions includes funding for the Hampshire College Farm, Mount Holyoke College’s clean water project in Kenya, Trinity College’s (CT) computer lab at Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, Kenyon College’s program services, and University of Hartford’s student organizations and athletics.
CIC also honored Ernesto Nieto with the 2018 Allan P. Splete Award for Outstanding Service. Ekman noted Nieto “founded the National Hispanic Institute (NHI) and devoted his career to serving the future leadership needs of the global Hispanic community.” The focus of much of Nieto’s life’s work, NHI conducts independent research focused on leadership and educational development; collaborates with K–12 schools, colleges, and universities; and annually creates leadership experiences for more than 3,000 high-achieving youth and their families to advance their quality of life and that of the Hispanic community. The award is named after Allen P. Splete, president of CIC from 1986 to 2000.

NHI partners with colleges and universities across the U.S. to serve as hosts for three of its major programs—Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session, Great Debate, and Collegiate World Series. Currently, seven CIC institutions—Augustana College (IL), Austin College, Cabrini University, Elmhurst College, Our Lady of the Lake University, Saint Leo University, and Texas Lutheran University—partner with NHI to host these programs.

Prior to founding NHI, Nieto held positions with the Texas Department of Community Affairs and the Federal Office of Economic Adjustment, Region IV, and he was a community organizer for the Houston Harris County Community Action Agency. He is the author of two books on leadership that are widely used by NHI students—Third Reality (2002) and Third Reality Revealed (2013). In addition, Nieto has served as a CIC Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow since 2015, and is currently a trustee of Southwestern University (2007–present) and is a former trustee of DePaul University (1994–2004).
A graduate of CIC member Southwestern University (TX), Nieto holds honorary doctorates from Texas Wesleyan University and Austin College. Southwestern University honored him with a Citation of Merit Award. Other awards include the George I. Sanchez Award for Civil Rights from the National Education Association; Willie Velasquez Civil Rights Award from the Texas State Teachers Association; and the Inclusion, Access, and Success Award from the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

​The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 767 nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils of independent colleges, and other higher education affiliates, that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on services to leaders of independent colleges and universities and state-based councils. CIC offers conferences, seminars, publications, and other programs and services that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, student outcomes, and institutional visibility. It conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. Founded in 1956, CIC is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.