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Pauline E. Drake Biographical Sketch

Born in Atlanta, Pauline Drake started her educational journey in the Spelman College Nursery School, and graduated from E. R. Carter Elementary School and Booker T. Washington High School.  A commuter student during her first three years at Spelman, Pauline was an active participant in campus life. She was a member of the Glee Club, president of her sophomore class and of the student body during her senior year. An English major and secondary education and history minor, she was valedictorian of her graduating class.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in 1958, Pauline completed studies for her M.A. degree at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She began her public school career teaching first at John Adams High School and later at East Technical High School, where she chaired the English department.

She began working at Spelman in August of 1974. At its inception in the early 1980s, the Continuing Education Program offered non-credit courses for community residents. Later the program expanded to include Elderhostel, an international program for mature adults; summer institutes for college faculty; summer and after-school programs for youth; non-credit training for employees of various organizations; and the program that now bears her name, the Pauline E. Drake (PED) Program for mature women who are beginning or returning to college with the goal of earning a bachelor’s degree.

The Continuing Education Student Association (CESA) was organized on April 29, 1989. The Continuing Education Organization composed of the Morehouse Mystique and the Spelman Continuing Education women served as the founding members. The Morehouse Mystique has disbanded. At its October 2003 meeting, the membership voted to change the name of the group from the Continuing Education Student Association (CESA) to the Pauline E. Drake Scholars (PEDS) as a tribute to the service of the long-time adviser of the organization.

When asked about the PED Program, Pauline responded, “Working with the returning women students was my passion. To see them overcome significant obstacles to accomplish their goals was such a rewarding experience.” Now retired, her goal is still to help mature women whose educations have been interrupted receive a quality education, broaden their horizons, embrace the sisterhood and know that there is no limit to what they can achieve.