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In Memoriam

Spelman Honors the Life and Legacy of Dr. Evelyn Willis Chisolm

March 2017


Evelyn Willis ChisolmFor her commitment to the mission of Spelman and her unwavering example of undaunted leadership and service, the College celebrates the life and legacy of Evelyn Willis Chisolm, Ph.D., C' 49.

A native of Atlanta, Dr. Evelyn Willis Chisolm entered Spelman College from nearby Booker T. Washington High School in 1945. A well-rounded student, she majored in history with minors in French and education. While matriculating at Spelman, she enhanced her academic experience with involvement in numerous campus activities including the French Club, Library Club and the NAACP.

Upon graduation from Spelman in 1949, a commitment to education led her to begin her professional career in the Atlanta Public Schools. She went on to complete her master’s degree in science at Howard University and a Ph.D. from Atlanta University. Between obtaining more advanced degrees, Dr. Chisolm relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina, and taught at Bennett College for Women. She soon returned to her alma mater, at the request of President Albert E. Manley, as director of the Spelman College Child Development Center, a program that garnered international attention. While at Spelman, she also served as a professor and vice chair of the psychology department.

For close to 60 years Dr. Chisolm gave of herself to benefit others through education. She inspired countless students and contributed toward their success through her work as a devoted faculty member of Spelman for more than 46 years. As a Diamond Daughter, she served as a mentor, Reunion volunteer and a History and Traditions facilitator. She also participated in the Spelman Independent Scholars (SIS) Oral History Project. Giving not only of her time and of talent, Dr. Chisolm also gave of her treasure and was a faithful member of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College.

We salute Dr. Chisolm and her dedication to education and to Spelman. Her example of excellence will resonate with our community for years to come.