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Spelman College Announces New Chief Financial Officer and Chief Investment Officer Share a Spelman College Press Release

For Immediate Release

Joyce Davis
Director of Marketing & Communications
Spelman College
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia

Dawn Alston Named Spelman CFOATLANTA (August 29, 2019) Dawn Alston, who has had a 20-year career at Spelman College, has been appointed chief financial officer and vice president for business and financial affairs, effective Sept. 1.

In her new role, Alston will preside over the Division of Business and Financial Affairs. She will succeed Robert "Danny" Flanigan Jr., who will continue in his role as treasurer and assume the new title of chief investment officer.

“Dawn’s years of service to Spelman have provided her with a unique vantage point that will help ensure the College’s financial health and well-being. Her appointment provides a seamless transition in the leadership of the division,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., Spelman president. “She will be instrumental in assisting the College in reaching its strategic goals, including enhancing operational excellence.”

“Flanigan is a legend in the world of finance. His stewardship of the College’s nearly $400 million endowment has given Spelman the capacity to support stellar students, faculty and staff and assure the excellence and continued growth of Spelman,” Dr. Campbell continued. “His institutional knowledge is invaluable and will continue to advance the goals of the College.”

A native of Washington, D.C., Alston joined Spelman in 1999 as a research technician in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry. During her 17-year tenure in the Division of Business and Financial Affairs, she was responsible for the budgetary oversight of Administrative Support and auxiliary services. In her new role, she will be responsible for oversight of Facilities Management and Services, the Office of Human Resources and the Office of the Controller. She will share oversight of Public Safety and Dining Services with the Division of Student Affairs.

Before coming to Spelman, Alston served as a compliance officer at the Department of Defense and was an adjunct biology instructor at Wofford College and Tri-County Technical College.

Since 1994, Flanigan has served as vice president for business and financial affairs and treasurer of Spelman. He joined the College in 1970 as the assistant to the business manager. As chief investment officer, Flanigan will be responsible for overseeing the continued growth of Spelman’s thriving investment portfolio.

During his 49-year tenure, Flanigan has been instrumental in the development and construction of several buildings on campus, including the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center, the Beverly Daniel Tatum Suites, and the Albro-Falconer-Manley Science Center, which included the renovation of Tapley Hall. Flanigan also played a significant role in the renovations of Manley College Center, MacVicar Hall and Rockefeller Hall.

Over the course of his Spelman career, he has been responsible for growing the College’s endowment from $4 million to almost $400 million and consistently balancing the College’s budget.

About Spelman College 
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News and World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 51 among all liberal arts colleges and No. 1 among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit


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