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Spelman College's In Memoriam Tributes

Spelman Celebrates the Legacy of Robert Flanigan Jr.

In Loving Memory of One of the College's Greatest Treasures

Danny Flanigan

Robert "Danny" Flanigan Jr., MBA

Spelman College is saddened to announce the passing of one of the most treasured members of our community -- Robert "Danny" Flanigan Jr. A legend in the world of finance, as well as a source of stability in the Investment Office and throughout the Spelman community, his presence, institutional knowledge, and counsel provided insight and foresight when it mattered most.

After joining the Spelman team in 1970, he progressed from assistant to the business manager to treasurer and vice president for the Division of Business and Financial Affairs, and ultimately executive vice-president, treasurer and chief investment officer. During his tenure, he managed more than $600 million of the College’s assets, and was instrumental in the development and construction of several buildings on campus including the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center and the Albro-Falconer-Manley Science Center. He also developed funding sources to support the renovation of the Manley Center, MacVicar and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller residence halls.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  -- 2 Timothy 4:7


Spelman Reflects on the Life of a Legend Who Made a Profound Impact

The Spelman community sends its deepest sympathy to the Flanigan family -- his wife of 50 years -- Lois Flanigan, and his son Robbie. The College will host a tribute to Danny Flanigan's life and legacy later this year in close consultation with his family.  We invite you to share your reflections and memories of Spelman's stalwart champion by using the submission form on this page.

Love Notes

A Letter From President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.

Yesterday, we suffered the unexpected loss of one of the most cherished members of the Spelman community, Robert “Danny” Flanigan. Few epitomized the spirit of Spelman the way that Danny did. Few did as much to transform Spelman into a leading liberal arts college. Few will leave a vacancy as big as the one Danny leaves behind.

In his half century of service, Danny managed the business, operations and investment portfolio for six Spelman presidents beginning in 1970 with Albert Manley. President Manley hired Danny, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University ( and later an MBA from Emory University), as assistant to the business manager. Over the years he progressed rapidly to treasurer and vice president of business and finance and chief financial officer. At the time of his death, he had risen to the level of Spelman’s executive vice president, treasurer and chief investment officer.

Read the Full Letter  


Spelman Celebrates the Life and Legacy of  Robert Danny Flanigan


Words of Love and Support From Spelman's Board of Trustees

The news of Danny Flanigan's passing is still fresh in the hearts and minds of the community. Many individuals are still reflecting on the huge impact and wealth of wisdom that Flanigan left upon the Spelman community locally, nationally and globally.

My heart is sad. When I was a student, Danny would stop and talk to and with students about financial responsibility. During my terms as NAASC President, he made sure we understood the finances of Spelman and institutions of higher ed. Later in life, I witnessed his taking time to visit other HBCU’s to assist. He was Spelman strong. We were blessed to have had him as a part of our family.
-- Mary Lynne Diggs, C'77

As much pride as Danny justifiably took in the financial returns he lead, I always felt like the real joy for him was the impact that had on our students.
-- Susan Dunn

A tremendous loss of a GIANT of a man for our college, his friends and family - all of us who had the pleasure of knowing him.  
-- Bonnie Carter, C'89
From my years as a student, through my role as a corporate partner, and as a member of the Board, I simply don’t know Spelman with Danny’s presence, guidance and support. 
-- Helen Smith Price, C'79

Danny embodied both excellence and dedication. He loved Spelman. I was always smiling after having a conversation with him.
-- Colleen J. Taylor, C'90
When I joined the Board of Trustees, Danny spent many days with me patiently telling me about the College, the board and just being extremely kind.
-- Kaye Foster
This is absolutely heart breaking news. To lose such a pillar and such a fine man. He truly loved Spelman College. 
-- Walter Allen
I actually knew Danny for a number of years prior to my joining the Spelman board. He was a long-respected leader within the membership of NACUBO—and our work often overlapped with theirs. One year, I was asked to moderate a panel session at a NACUBO annual conference—Danny was among the panelists. Well his expertise, his informal yet professional style and his humor stole the show. That session was evaluated as among the conference’s highest rated sessions—due to Danny. Danny was the best —- and his peers recognized it. It was an honor to be among his colleagues.
-- Rick Legon


Outstanding Management of Spelman's Finances and Endowment

I am so sad to learn of Danny’s passing. It is hard to believe one of Spelman’s greatest treasures has left us. He and his family will be in my prayers.

When I joined the Board, Danny and Jane Smith were two of the earliest people who taught me about Spelman. They enthusiastically answered all my questions.  The three of has had beautiful conversations over “Southern breakfasts” that I will always cherish.

You all need to know something very important about Danny. Yes he was gracious, devoted to Spelman and long-serving. As important as all of these characteristics are, he was also uniquely outstanding at managing our finances and endowment.

Large Blue Quote LeftWhen Danny took the helm, the world of investing money was almost exclusively a white man’s province. Danny charged forward, nurtured our then modest endowment, built financial alliances and achieved fantastic returns over a long period of time. Today Spelman has one of the largest HBCU endowment in the land. 

For half a century Danny dealt with some of Wall Street’s shrewdest players, and survived with his reputation and all of his fingers intact.  In good economic times and bad, Danny soldiered on carrying the Spelman banner.  He always did us proud. Danny was so good for so long that it is easy to take his achievements for granted. Like so many Spelman leaders, he was a trailblazer. And a damn good one.

Danny has achieved a wonderful legacy, our endowment. Really it is his baby grown to fruition. Our future students, faculty and staff will benefit from his gift for all time!  We’ve seen the pride he took in our endowment. May his joy give us solace in our loss.

My condolences to Mary, Dawn and all who worked with Danny; and to Ted Aronson who partnered with Danny for 30+ years to make us financially strong. Like all of you, I miss him already.
-- Tom Castro

Ensuring Another Generation of Spelman Women Change the World

Danny Flanigan's deft leadership positively impacted thousands of Spelman students, including those who are recipients of the Robert "Danny Flanigan Endowed Scholarship.

Tribute Submission for Robert "Danny" Flanigan Jr.

Please share your reflections and tributes honoring Danny Flanigan.