Gem aficionado donates $13 million to Smithsonian


A gem specialist is generously donating $13 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The funds will be used for science education initiatives. The museum announced Wednesday that Coralyn Wright Whitney is making the largest education donation in its history to support the science education center. The gift will also benefit public and school groups by providing collections, digital media and scientific equipment. Whitney has a Master of Science degree in statistics from Florida State University (1975) and a doctorate in Biostatistics from the University of Washington (1990). Whitney is also a former research professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. Upon her retirement from the academic world, she pursued graduate gemologist and accredited jewelry professional degrees from the Gemological Institute of America. In 2009, Whitney donated the exquisite 17-carat color-changing Whitney Alexandrite to the museum’s National Gem Collection. The Whitney Alexandrite has become a favorite of museum visitors. She created the Coralyn Wright Whitney Endowment to support research and activities surrounding the National Gem Collection.


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