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Frank Baker II and Laura Day Baker Gift Will Support the Center for Innovation & the Arts Share a Spelman College Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jazmyn Burton
Spelman College 
(404) 798-5212
jburton8@spelman.edu

Dana Gorman, Abernathy MacGregor
Frank and Laura Day Baker
(646) 784-0446
dtg@abmac.com



ATLANTA (Dec. 17, 2021)
– Frank Baker II, founder and managing partner of Siris, a leading private equity firm focused on investing and driving value creation in technology and telecommunications companies, and his wife, Laura Day Baker, an interior designer and philanthropist focused on empowering historically underserved communities, recently announced a significant gift to support the creation of Spelman’s forthcoming Center for Innovation & the Arts. 

The gift will enable Spelman to complete the Center for Innovation & the Arts infrastructure, and name the Frank Baker and Laura Day Baker Theater Performance Room within the Center. 

“From helping clear balances for graduating students who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to establishing scholarships, Frank and Laura have shown tremendous support to our students,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “This new gift is a testament to their commitment to Spelman and the success of our students.”

In 2020, a gift from Frank Baker and Laura Day Baker covered the spring tuition balances of nearly 50 graduating seniors and established a scholarship fund to ensure that high achieving seniors have the financial resources to graduate.

The new Center for Innovation and the Arts will challenge Spelman students to use technology inspired solutions for urban problems, create an entrepreneurship incubator for high performing students, establish high level partnerships with innovation partners in academia and industry. 

The space will be designed with a “front porch” atrium that will link Spelman to its Westside community. Complete with community-facing spaces, including as a second gallery for the Spelman Museum of Fine Art, The Porch will also include a dance performance studio, a high-tech digital black box theatre and a small café/retail outlet that faces a public plaza. 

The new CI&A will be the home for Spelman’s Innovation Lab, the Center for Black Entrepreneurship and will cluster together numerous arts departments now scattered across the Spelman campus into a vibrant community of innovators, collaborators, artists, musicians and scientists.  

About Frank and Laura Day Baker

Frank and Laura Day Baker live in Florida and are married with three children, the oldest of whom is a twelve-year-old girl, which makes this gift even more meaningful to them.
Mr. Baker is a Founder and Managing Partner of Siris. Siris is a leading private equity firm focused on investing and driving value creation in technology and telecommunications companies. Siris has raised nearly $6.0 billion in cumulative capital commitments.
He started his career in the mergers and acquisitions group of Goldman Sachs and earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago.

Mr. Baker currently serves as a trustee of the University of Chicago and has been a major supporter of its New Leaders Odyssey Scholarships. Mr. Baker is also a board member of the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization.

Laura Day Baker is an accomplished interior designer, having had her work featured in Vogue, The New York Times, and Traditional Home. She is a dedicated philanthropist focused on underserved communities, academics, and the arts. Mrs. Baker serves as a trustee of The Studio Museum in Harlem.
 
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. 24 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 15th 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 collaborations 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, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO 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.

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