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Spelman Pays Tribute to Robert Danny Flanigan

March 2021

Spelman College Honors Robert Danny Flanigan

From President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.

Recently, Spelman College suffered the unexpected loss of one of the most cherished members of the Spelman community, Robert “Danny” Flanigan Jr. Few epitomized the spirit of Spelman the way that Danny did. Few did as much to transform Spelman into a leading liberal arts college. Few will leave a vacancy as big as the one Danny leaves behind.

In his half century of service, Danny managed the business, operations and investment portfolio for six Spelman presidents beginning in 1970 with Albert Manley. President Manley hired Danny, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University who went on to earn an MBA from Emory University, as assistant to the business manager. Over the years he progressed rapidly to treasurer and vice president of business and finance and chief financial officer. At the time of his death, he had risen to the level of Spelman’s executive vice president, treasurer and chief investment officer.

Danny was always two steps ahead of whomever he served. His infinite curiosity led him always to be on the look-out for pitfalls for Spelman to avoid and to hunt opportunities for Spelman to seize. As faithful as Danny may have been to Spelman, he was a legend in the world of finance. Over the years, he developed a reputation as a lightening fast learner with formidable intellectual acumen and the ability to see keenly what others missed completely. Under Danny’s watchful eye and with the assistance of his devoted investment team and trustee advisors like former trustee Jonathan Smith and current trustee Ted Aronson, the Spelman endowment grew from $29 million when Danny took over the reins to over $400 million today. Our Spelman students have reaped the benefits.

During his tenure, Danny managed more than $600 million of the College’s assets, and was instrumental in the development and construction of several buildings on campus, including the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center, the Albro-Falconer-Manley Science Center, the Beverly Daniel Tatum Suites and the new Wellness Center at Read Hall. He also developed funding sources to support the renovation of the Albert E. Manley College Center, MacVicar Hall and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller residence hall.

A virtual tribute will be held in Flanigan's honor on Wednesday, March 24, at 11 a.m.

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