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Spelman College

President's Letter to the Community

A Message From the President

March 4, 2017

Dear Spelman Community,

Last week, 88 presidents of historically black colleges and universities representing 370,000 students convened in the Oval Office of the White House for a photo opportunity with President Donald Trump. An executive order, signed the next day, voiced support for these institutions, but offered no pledge of funding.

Many have asked me for my thoughts on the events of the past week. If the executive order and the bi-partisan congressional listening sessions that took place along with the White House visit result in expanded PELL Grants, expanded work study funds for our students, and more favorable student loan options, the visit will have been time well-spent—whatever the political motivations.

What was missing from the two days we spent in Washington, D.C., however, was a meaningful, affirmative, conversation about our core business—the identification and development of talent. How do we create a K-12 pipeline that graduates more high school students who enter and graduate from college? How do we make sure that more students graduate from college debt free and with the skills necessary to thrive in a 21st century economy? Why are we not giving these questions national consequence and national urgency?

Ceremonial events mark major milestones. We are awaiting cause for celebration.


Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
Spelman College