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Spelman Board of Trustees Welcomes New Members, Mourns the Loss of Life Trustee Bob Holland Jr. Share a Spelman College Press Release

(ATLANTA) In addition to appointing the 11th president of College, the Spelman Board of Trustees welcomed two new members this year and mourned the loss of a life trustee.  Former members of the Board who have served the College and the Board with unusual distinction may be designated Life Trustees, with the right and privilege to participate in a variety of ways, but are non-voting. The term of a Life Trustee is without limit. 

The newest members of the Board are familiar to the College. 

Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, C’93, is a founding partner at the Lawrence Bundy law firm.  She grew up on Spelman’s campus recounting on occasion her memories of spending time with her grandmother, who was the College registrar. Lawrence-Hardy graduated magna cum laude and went on to earn a Yale Law School degree. 

After 18 years at Sutherland, where she was an equity partner, she left to co-found a highly successful litigation boutique. An award-winning litigator, Lawrence-Hardy has successfully defended Fortune 100 companies throughout the United States and abroad in numerous trials, arbitrations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. She is known for her skill, tenacity and patience, as well as for her willingness to share lessons learned to improve the legal industry and to motivate and inspire others.

She brings to the Spelman Board her experiences as a current or former member of several Boards including The Atlanta Girls School, Emory University, State Bar of Georgia, Atlanta Legal Aid Society, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank.  She is also a civic and philanthropic leader focused on access and advocacy.

As a professional, alumna and daughter of a former Computer and Information Sciences department chair, Andrea Lawrence, Ph.D., who continues to serve as a faculty member in the department, Lawrence-Hardy’s service to Spelman has been ongoing for many years in a variety of ways. 

When asked about joining the Board she stated, “As an alumna of Spelman College, I can think of no greater honor than to serve on the Board of Trustees and participate in the strategic leadership of the College. Spelman prepared me for my choice to change the world. I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of my grandmother and my mother, in service to our beloved Spelman. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue the Spelman legacy and pass it on to future generations.

Frank Baker, founder and managing partner of Siris, a leading private equity firm, started his highly successful 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. He is a friend and supporter of the College. In recent years, he has helped clear balances for graduating Spelman students who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, established scholarships, and made a significant gift to support the Mary Schmidt Campbell Center for Innovation & the Arts.    

Baker has used his public platform to elevate the legacy and value of historically Black college’s and university’s and to champion the call to ensure these schools remain viable.  His belief in the value of supporting the ambitions of talented women and underserved communities has been consistently demonstrated through his philanthropic and volunteer efforts.

With expertise and recognition in the areas of finance, technology and entrepreneurship, his appointment to the Board aligns with the College’s plans for the continued strengthening of endowment investments, the college’s ongoing digital transformation and his expertise in innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Baker is a role model whose experience and insights will contribute greatly to the College’s  strategic vision and financial sustainability. 

Baker also currently serves as a trustee of the University of Chicago and has been a major supporter of the university’s New Leaders Odyssey Scholarships. He is also co-chairman of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and a board member of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity.


Robert Holland Jr. was a Trustee from 1979 – 2003.  In recognition of his distinguished service to the College and Spelman Board, his fellow trustees appointed him as Life Trustee.  While on the Board, Holland served as Chair from 1986-1996, Vice-Chair and Chair Emeritus.  

A trailblazer, Holland had a pioneering career in business making history as the first Black partner at McKinsey & Company and the first African American CEO of a majority owned franchise company, Ben & Jerry’s, joining only a handful of African Americans to hold the title of CEO of a publicly traded corporation. Holland was well-respected in the corporate sector and made the time to support and advocate for other Black executives.  In addition to his many professional accomplishments, Holland’s dedication to making a difference in the lives of vulnerable and underserved youth earned him a reputation as an executive with a deep commitment to social causes  

 Spelman alumna, Marian Wright Edelman C’60, served with Holland on the Board. With regards to his Board service, Edelman notes that he was a marvelous chair, wonderful role model and philanthropist and expresses her deep gratitude for his e\legacy and service.  In her words, “ Throughout his life Bob Holland stayed busy making a difference.”  

Edelman is not alone in her deep regard for Holland. The Board of Trustees dedicated a tree on campus in his honor, The Robert J. Holland Learning Tree in recognition of his transformative leadership as chair of the board.  He served as chair during an especially critical time in the College’s history, during the presidency of Dr. Johnetta B. Cole when the College's most successful capital campaign to date was completed raising $113.8 million for the endowment. During this time the College also announced the receipt of $37 million from the DeWitt Wallace/Readers Digest Fund – at that time the largest gift ever given to a historically Black college. 

He also founded a high school dropout program in Detroit called Make-A-Difference, was on the board of the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program and more recently was chairman of the Northeast STEM Starter Academy in Mount Vernon, NY. 

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 the U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 51 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 5 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 16th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal has 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.

To learn more, please visit and @spelmancollege on social media.


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