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Spelman College

President's Letter to the Community

Good News at Spelman

February 15, 2016

Greetings Spelman Community,

Our spring semester launched this year with good news for the Spelman community. It would take volumes to recount all of the awards and distinctions. A sampling is listed below. 

Awards and Accolades for Recent Graduates and Students

The College can now count a Gates Cambridge Scholarship recipient among our alumnae. Mamasa Camara, C'2015, was recently awarded the highly sought after opportunity designed to support intellectually outstanding postgraduate students with a capacity for leadership and a commitment to improving the lives of others. At the University of Cambridge, Camara will pursue a Master of Philosophy in African Studies with a focus on female circumcision in Kenya between 1900 and 1960 and how it informs present attitudes about the practice. While at Spelman, she established a student organization and collaborated with Isatou Njie-Saidy, the vice president of Gambia, to develop the country’s first women’s health conference on circumcision organized by a student of the diaspora.

Our thanks go to Margery Ganz, Ph.D., professor of history and director of Study Abroad and International Exchange, and Geneva Baxter, Ph.D., associate dean of Undergraduate Studies, for their continued support of our students who compete for a wide range of national and international awards.
Among our current students, we are pleased to announce that Brianna Fugate, C’2018, has been accepted as an Epicenter University Innovation Fellow. As a member of this national community of student leaders, the computer science major will advocate for lasting institutional change and create opportunities for Spelman students to learn about entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation.

Alexandra Roberson, C'2018, was recently accepted into the highly selective Creative Minds Program and premiered her short film titled, "Grey," at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. While there, she produced the film in one week as part of the program at the prestigious festival where she won the Audience Award for best producer and best short film, as well as awards for best cinematography and best script. 

Congratulations to Spelman Faculty

Kudos to Yolanda Rankin, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer and information sciences, who has been selected to receive the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Foundation 2016 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty. During the six-month opportunity, which supports junior faculty who promote cross-racial understanding in core fields in the arts and sciences, Rankin will focus on her research related to designing multidimensional video game characters to facilitate students’ conversational skills in foreign languages.
Viveka Borum, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics, has co-authored, “The Role of Black Colleges in the Development of Mathematicians,” published last month in the Journal of Research Initiatives. The paper explores the characteristics and practices of HBCUs “that support mathematics development, incubate mathematical talent, and disseminate effective practices beyond the walls of these institutions and across generations of students.” Such research delves deeper into the value of an HBCU education. 
The Coca-Cola Challenge

The College’s development efforts are all in support of Spelman’s mission. We are pleased to report that a long-term supporter, the Coca-Cola Foundation, is partnering with Spelman to issue a $1 Million Alumnae Challenge. The foundation will match every dollar over the amount alumnae gave in the prior fiscal year (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015). We are encouraging alumnae to support the College on or before Founders Day, April 11, 2016, as part of our 135th anniversary and to take full advantage of the matching opportunity. Your generous gifts allow Spelman to continue to provide excellence and opportunity to our dynamic students and educational programs.

Facilities News 

Please join me in congratulating Art Frazier, director of Facilities Management and Services, and his team for the LEED Gold certification awarded to our new Wellness Center. Thanks to their good work Spelman has created another green building and has been among the greenest campuses in the country. Sustainability is not only good for the environment but has had a material impact on realizing economies in the College’s operating expenses.  

Black Chronicles

Our spring semester opened with Black Chronicles II at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. The exhibition contains a riveting set of photographic images that had been lost for over a hundred years of Black Victorians. The images were “discovered” by a research team from Autograph ABP, London at the Hulton Archive, a division of Getty Images. 

The team restored the negatives and made new prints in collaboration with the Hulton Archive. The exhibition of the images, curated by Renée Mussai and Mark Sealy, makes available for the first time newly discovered photographs that document the presence of Black subjects in late 19th century Britain and the indisputable sense of promise and self-definition that accompanied that era. The words of the late Stuart Hall, renowned cultural historian, provide a provocative frame for the consideration of memory, forgetting and loss. 

Enjoy Black History Month - celebrated all year by Spelman women!  


Mary Schmidt Campbell
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
Spelman College
350 Spelman Lane, SW
Atlanta, GA 30314-4399