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Spelman College Named Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader by the U.S. Department of State Share a Spelman College Press Release

Media Contacts:
Lydia Sermons, 470.898.6451,
Denise Ward, 770-862.4028,

ATLANTA, GA (September 18, 2023) - Spelman College is proud to announce today, the College’s designation as a Fulbright Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Institutional Leader for 2023. Each year, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recognizes the strong engagement of select HBCUs with the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international academic exchange program.

Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders demonstrate noteworthy support for Fulbright exchange participants and promote Fulbright program opportunities on campus. The initiative encourages administrators, faculty and students at HBCUs to engage with Fulbright. It also highlights the strength of HBCUs as a destination for international students and scholars and showcases their deep intellectual traditions and proud history to audiences abroad. Spelman College has been featured in 2023, 2022, 2021 and 2020 — each of the four years of the initiative.

“Spelman College is honored to receive this designation again as a Fulbright Program HBCU Institutional Leader in recognition of our commitment to fostering international and cultural exchange through global engagement for our students,” said Dr. Helene Gayle, president of Spelman College. “As a global leader in the education of women of African descent, Spelman is committed to developing future professionals and global leaders by engaging them in the many cultures of the world.”

The announcement of the 19 Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders was made by the State Department ahead of the White House Initiative on HBCUs’ National HBCU Week Conference.

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield commended the institutions receiving the Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader designation this year. “Diversity is one of America’s greatest strengths, and pairing the positive power of Fulbright with the academic excellence at Historically Black Colleges and Universities provides changemaking opportunities for students, scholars, and campus communities both here at home and abroad,” said Satterfield.

To date, 53 Spelman students have participated in the Fulbright Fellows Program, which is led by professors Michelle S. Hite, Ph.D., program director of Spelman’s Honors Program, and co-director of the International Fellowships and Scholarships program; and Andrea Lewis, Ph.D., director of the Student Success Program, associate professor of Education, and co-director of the International Fellowships and Scholarships program.

Spelman seeks to provide every Spelman student with global travel experience before graduation and the College also works to increase students’ intercultural understanding and global competence through Spelman Going Global! initiative, administered by the Gordon-Zeto Center for Global Education. which is led by Dimeji Togunde, Ph.D., vice provost for global education and professor of international studies.

“Thank you to Drs. Hite, Lewis, Togunde, and all of our faculty who continue to inspire and equip our students with the skills and knowledge to not only change the world, but to also bring the world to Spelman and Spelman to the world,” said Dr. Gayle.

On Nov. 6, Fulbright will host a virtual workshop featuring representatives from Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders. The Fulbright HBCU Virtual Workshop will share best practices for leveraging Fulbright Program engagement to support students and faculty, increase campus internationalization, host international Fulbright students and scholars, and build global networks. This event is open to the public and is specifically designed for faculty, staff, and stakeholders at HBCUs.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided over 400,000 talented and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals, of all backgrounds and in all fields, the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research abroad. Fulbrighters exchange ideas, build people-to-people connections, and work to address complex global challenges. Fulbright is a program of the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program.

The Fulbright Program implements a wide range of initiatives to ensure that its participants reflect all aspects of the diversity of U.S. society and societies abroad. To achieve that goal, the program collaborates with external stakeholders, including the White House Initiative on HBCUs, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, the American Association of Community Colleges, Mobility International, and Diversity Abroad, among many others.

Learn more about the Fulbright Program, including information about Fulbright’s efforts to further DEIA within the program and about the Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders initiative.

Follow the Fulbright Program’s social media accounts and websites for highlights on HBCUs and Fulbright:



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 2,300 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.Ds. in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 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.Ds. in economics. New majors and minors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, data science, refugee studies and gaming. Collaborations have been also established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning, among others.

Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, former Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, Federal Reserve Governor Lisa D. Cook, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, Harvard University professor and former Dean Evelynn Hammonds, 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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