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Spelman College Announces a Partnership with Propel Center, a New Global HBCU Headquarters for Innovation Share a Spelman College Press Release


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

HBCU Propel Center PartnershipATLANTA (January 14, 2021) – Spelman College has partnered with Propel Center, a new global campus designed to support innovative learning and development for historically Black colleges and universities.

“Spelman College is pleased to learn of the resources that will be available to the College and to the entire Atlanta University Center Consortium thanks to the generosity of Apple, Southern Company and the expertise of Ed Farm,” said Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D. “Spelman has long been the number one producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in STEM fields. We welcome these new resources as we continue to fulfill our educational mission.”

Propel Center was imagined and designed by Ed Farm, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing education through technology. With Apple and Southern Company supporting the project as founding partners, the center will connect HBCU students to technology curriculum, cultural thought leaders, entrepreneurship skills development and accelerator programs, with a focus on social justice and equity.

“We know inequities exist in our society, and it’s up to each of us to be more intentional in our efforts to make a difference and bridge the gap,” said Tom A. Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. “We know more must be done, and the establishment of the Propel Center is another important demonstration of Southern Company fulfilling our commitment to move our communities to a more equitable future. Partnering with Apple in this initiative is an exciting way to connect future leaders with these critical resources.”

Propel Center HBCUThe first-of-its-kind initiative will serve as a hub for all 100+ HBCUs and is designed to connect students and faculty from across the community. The goal is to provide HBCU students with the knowledge, skills, tools, and resources necessary to transform the nation’s talent pipeline and workforce. Curriculum options will include artificial intelligence and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creativity, career preparation and entrepreneurship tracks.

“The HBCU community is a tremendous engine of Black creativity, entrepreneurship and inclusive opportunity,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. "We are thrilled to join with partners and community stakeholders to support the Propel Center and be part of this groundbreaking new global hub for HBCU innovation and learning, devoted to helping faculty create best-in-class curriculum and ensuring students have access to cutting-edge skills.”

Students from participating schools will be able to access online digital learning platforms and the 50,000 square-foot Propel Center. Headquartered in Atlanta, the center will be equipped with state-of-the-art lecture halls, learning labs and on-site living for a scholars-in-residence program.

“These investments are critical as we begin to truly scale Black innovation ecosystems,” said Anthony Oni, chairman of Ed Farm. “By leveraging technology and partnerships to connect students with unique learning opportunities, we can lift up the talent that already exists at these institutions of higher learning and accelerate their development. In doing so, we will have a hand in shaping the workforce of the future — and the leaders of tomorrow.”

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 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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