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Spelman College

President's Letter to the Community

Spring Update

March 29, 2018

Dear Spelman Community,

It must be spring. Spelman College is in full bloom, including the energy of students. 

Last week, 106 students used their Spring Break to take on several community service projects. Students served with Girls, Inc. in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on education initiatives, worked with homeless in Washington, D.C., and cultivated urban gardens in Atlanta.

Our Glee Club was busy during Spring Break as well, performing in half a dozen cities on their "Resilience" Annual Spring Tour 2018. 

Last week, a team from the offices of Alumnae Engagement and Student Affairs led by Sharon Owens, C’76, accompanied 25 Spelmanites to our nation’s capital for Spelman on the Hill. Thanks to Alumna Ashley McNeil-Coleman, C'2005, the students were able to fly from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., and thanks to Nicole Venable, C'91, students heard from a diverse alumnae panel on how to transform their education into successful Hill careers. We appreciate the 31 Spelman alumnae who participated, ensuring that each student had a Sister-to-Sister Alumnae Mentoring Experience. We are so grateful for the alumnae who support this event every year, providing our students with such a meaningful opportunity. 

With help from Spelman lobbyist, Anita Estelle, each student shadowed a legislator from her hometown. Shadowing legislators not only produced invaluable insight into the way government works, it also permitted our scholars to make an indelible impression on Capitol Hill about the value of a Spelman education. 

Maybe you saw the Glee Club and Spelman on the Hill students sharing their unique experiences on Instagram during their Spelman social media takeovers!

Back in Atlanta, 45 biology majors volunteered at the Atlanta Science Fair, engaging with more than 500 children and parents exploring the biology concepts of color and color vision through interactive exhibits and hands-on activities involving microscopes, cellphones and optical illusions. 

Our Spelman Archives reports good news as well. The Archives is the recipient of a Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grant that allowed for hundreds of stunning historic Spelman photos and important collateral to be digitized and placed on the AUC Woodruff Library Archive Digital Collections website for public access. 

In the midst of all of this activity, National Geographic released a serious, fact-based look at the value of HBCUs in today’s world. Spelman and the Atlanta University Center are well-represented in the feature, which involved reporters and photographers spending more than a year on campus, immersing themselves in the Spelman way. 

Finally, there is some good news for HBCUs from Capitol Hill. We have learned that the spending bill contains several items that support our students and institution. The bill adds close to $35 million in new funding for HBCUs - a 14 percent increase - for Title III institutional support and for HBCU capital financing programs. Individual Pell Grant awards have increased by $175 and there are boosts to both federal work study and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. This funding will provide financial support for Spelman scholars and allow the College to keep pace with rapid changes in higher education, maximizing technology to deliver new modes of learning for students and making strategic investments in industry-relevant educational programs. Thanks to everyone who spent time educating their legislators.

We hope that everyone is enjoying the onset of spring and we look forward to our upcoming Founders Day celebrations.


Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
President, Spelman College