Skip To Content

News Releases

Spelman College Virtual Election Panel Seeks to Address Critical Economic Issues Impacting the African American Community Share a Spelman College Press Release


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

Spelman Virtual Election Discussion

(October 15, 2020) –Spelman College will host a virtual conversation with leading Black women economists to address the most pressing financial issues related to the 2020 presidential election.

“What Would I Tell the President?” will take place at 6:30 p.m., EST, on Thursday, Oct. 15 via Zoom.

“We have unique issues to address among the African American community,” said Marionette Holmes, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Economics Department. “The panel’s expertise, as well as what they represent as Black women in the field, will provide context and insight when considering what the African American community is facing at this present time.”

According to the New York Federal Reserve Bank, small businesses run by ethnic groups were disproportionately impacted by the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. African American businesses experienced a 40 percent decline, while Latino businesses fell by 32 percent. African American business owners also had a relatively more difficult time accessing funds from the Paycheck Protection Act.

“This is a historic meeting, and one of the first times African American women economists who have advised former presidents as Council of Economic Advisers have been called together to discuss how the Black economy is being effected by the pandemic,” said Dr. Holmes. “Our panelists represent a small, but growing, community of African American women who hold PhDs in economics."

The virtual meeting is supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a not-for-profit grant-making institution dedicated to increasing the number of African Americans economists. Nationwide, there are very few African Americans in economics professions, and fewer than 10 percent of underrepresented minorities are awarded advanced degrees in the discipline.

Panelists will discuss the implications of such disparities and provide potential solutions and strategies to influence better policy outcomes for Black women.

Panelists include:

  • Cecilia Rouse, Ph.D., former member of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and professor and dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs;
  • Susan Collins, Ph.D., former George H. W. Bush Council of Economic Adviser and Edward M. Gramlich Collegiate Professor of Public Policy and provost of the University of Michigan;
  • Lisa D. Cook, Ph.D., former member of President Barak Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and professor of economics at Michigan State University; 
  • Willene Johnson, Ph.D., president of Komaza Consulting and former vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York;
  • Ugochi Emenogu, Ph.D., economist for the Bank of Canada.

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 & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 14th 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 PhDs 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


Spelman College Events CalendarEvents
Spelman College Academic CalendarAcademic

Contact Us

News Center