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Spelman College

President's Office

Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.

President Mary Schmidt CampbellOn Aug. 1, 2015, Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell began her tenure as the 10th president of Spelman College. A leading liberal arts college for women of African descent located in Atlanta, Georgia, Spelman has long enjoyed a reputation as the nation’s leading producer of Black women scientists.

Prior to arriving in Atlanta, Dr. Campbell was a major force in the cultural life of New York City. Her career in New York, which included various challenging roles, began at the Studio Museum in Harlem where she served for 10 years. Her role there began at a time when the city was on the verge of bankruptcy and Harlem was in steep decline. However, under her leadership, the museum was transformed from a rented loft to the country’s first accredited Black Fine Arts Museum. Dr. Campbell also established herself as a stalwart supporter who championed the need for professional development opportunities for women and people of color in the arts.

President's Update

On June 19, 1865, the enslaved population in Galveston, Texas, was finally made aware of the Emancipation Proclamation, two and a half years after it was signed into law on January 1, 1863. Since that time, Juneteenth has been celebrated throughout the Black community as our true Independence Day.


ICI Virtual Fireside Chat: What Juneteenth Means to Me, to the African American Community, and to All Americans

Juneteenth commemorates a pivotal moment in American history. Be part of the growing conversation about what this day means to African Americans, to our country, and to the ideal of freedom. Renowned art historian, curator, educator, cultural influencer, and academic Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, the 10th president of Spelman College, took part in a candid discussion moderated by Anne Robinson, managing director and general counsel of The Vanguard Group.


Spelman’s President Shares Strategies to Reduce Student Debt

Spelman’s in-depth study into the financial aid needs of our students several years ago reinforced our understanding of one of this country’s fundamental inequities: high performing, high need students are drastically underfunded. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that racial fault lines continue to make the lives of African Americans quantitatively harder than those of non-Black Americans. This is a disquieting realization.


On Oct. 27, 2020, The Wildenstein Plattner Institute hosted a virtual panel that considered the issues involved in maintaining an artist’s legacy, including the importance of archival preservation and the active documentation of the artist’s practice.

Over the next 10 years, 200 first-year students will be able to attend Spelman College with a full four-year scholarship thanks to a generous gift from philanthropists Patty Quillin and her husband, Reed Hastings, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Netflix.


PODCAST: Rockefeller Education Panel - Perspectives on Preparing for the Fall

Rockefeller Client Insights In this 10th episode of Rockefeller Client Insights, we get to listen in as Greg Fleming has a dialogue with Connie Ledoux Book, president of Elon University, Brian Casey, president of Colgate University and Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College about the current state of higher education amidst the COVID-19 landscape and what preparations each leader is taking for their respective institutions and communities looking forward into the fall season. Originally broadcast live June 5, 2020.


UnitedHealth Group Announces $8.25 Million Data Science Initiative Partnership With the Atlanta University Center Consortium

Spelman College is part of a new initiative designed to prepare students within the Atlanta University Center Consortium to meet the growing demand for data scientists and data analytics experts.

“The colleges in the Atlanta University Center, for decades, have been in the vanguard of educating African Americans who succeed in STEM fields,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “This gift is an investment in our commitment to continue that primacy in STEM by making the AUCC a center of excellence for the study of data science across a range of disciplines in medicine and the liberal arts.”


In her biography, "An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden," art historian and Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., chronicles the life and career of the influential African American artist Romare Bearden. Listen as she takes a deep dive into his life and carer on this podcast.


New Center will Solidify Spelman’s Place at Intersection of Science, Arts

President Campbell speaks with reporter Maria Saporta and explains how Spelman's proposed Center for Innovation and the Arts has been central to bringing her to Atlanta. “I want to look back over my shoulder and say, ‘I came to this rich storied place, and I made a contribution that took it to the next level,’” she said. “Whatever we do has to capture the uniqueness of the black woman’s voice,” as stated in the article.


Closer Look: New Ga. Reps; Spelman's President; And More

Beginning at approximately at the 9:09 time stamp, Dr. Campbell discusses the first year of her presidency and how liberal arts colleges address current concerns about funding.


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An American Odyssey by Mary Schmidt Campbell