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Spelman College Receives $10 Million Gift From Seth and Beth Klarman to Support Scholarships Share a Spelman College Press Release


Jazmyn Burton
Spelman College
(404) 798-5212
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia

Spelman Receives $30 Million Klarman GiftATLANTA (August 17, 2020) -- Seth and Beth Klarman, longtime supporters of Spelman College, have made a new gift of $10 million to the institution.

The funding will support scholarships with an emphasis on helping students overcome the financial barriers that may prevent them from graduating.

Since 2015, the Klarmans have committed more than $16 million to Spelman, extending opportunities for hundreds of students to benefit from the College’s academic excellence by graduating with a competitive edge, in whatever their chosen field, prepared for a life and career of positive change.

“Spelman is an extraordinary educational institution. We hope our support ensures that exceptional young women have the opportunity to attend and graduate from Spelman, and go on to have rewarding and fulfilling careers,” said Seth and Beth Klarman. “Spelman students become leaders in their chosen fields and, as activists and participants in the work for social justice, they are strong voices for positive change in America.”

The Klarman’s first gift to Spelman in 2015 supported scholarships for students across a range of academic disciplines, including those participating in STEM undergraduate research programs, study abroad programs, and those pursuing careers in forensic psychology, law, pediatric neuroscience, data science and journalism. In 2017, the Klarmans continued their giving with a subsequent gift of $5 million to the College, which helped support hundreds of students complete their studies. To date, their generosity has helped more than 400 Spelman students meet a range of financial needs.

"What is striking about Seth and Beth's generosity is that their commitment to Spelman has been built over a long period of time. They have taken the time and care to know the College well," said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. "They've visited classes and engaged with students and faculty members to understand Spelman’s goals. They’ve reviewed statistics on financial aid versus financial need. Data driven, they ask tough questions that enable us to develop useful analyses of the financial aid support students require for degree completion and success that, ultimately, strengthen us as an institution.”

"We are grateful for our strong relationship with the Klarmans and their most recent gift, which will allow Spelman to better navigate today's challenging environment by supporting students’ academic outcomes. In this historic moment, we appreciate their leadership and encouragement of others to make meaningful contributions that move the needle," Dr. Campbell continued.

In addition to financial support, Spelman continues to benefit from introductions the Klarmans have facilitated, including those with the Broad Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since 2018, the partnership with the Broad has enriched the College's educational and research program to increase the number of Spelman students and faculty who gain experiences in Big Data Science through enhanced curriculum, research, and professional development experiences.

For high achieving Spelman students like Aakilah Brown, C’2021, the Klarman’s gift makes navigating the road toward a successful career a little easier.

“I chose to attend Spelman College because I wanted to help uphold the standards of hundreds of Black women before me,” said Brown, a biology major with plans to become an obstetrician gynecologist who works in underserved communities. “The opportunities available to me at Spelman exist nowhere else. I am very grateful to have the ability to live out my social and educational goals at my desired college.”

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. 57 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 22 for undergraduate teaching and No. 6 for both innovation and social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 13th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and partnerships have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit


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