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Historical Spelman

Past Presidents

Spelman College Presidents

  • Mary Schmidt Campbell, Spelman College 10th President
    Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., 10th President

    In March of 2015, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., was named Spelman’s 10th president. She began her professional career in New York, as the director of the Studio Museum in Harlem at a time when the city of New York was on the verge of bankruptcy. Under her leadership, the museum became the country’s first accredited Black fine arts museum and a linchpin in the redevelopment of Harlem. She then served as commissioner of cultural affairs for New York City under two mayors, and from there entered the world of academia as dean of New York University’s renowned Tisch School of the Arts, where she served for over two decades. 

  • Beverly Daniel Tatum
    Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., Ninth President

    On August 1, 2002, scholar, teacher, author, administrator and race relations expert, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum became the ninth president of Spelman College. She set an expectation that Spelman College would be recognized as one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the country — a place where young women of African descent could say, “This place was built for me, and it is nothing less than the best!” Spelman is now widely recognized as one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the nation.

    Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., Bio

  • Audrey Manley
    Audrey F. Manley, MD, Eighth President

    Dr. Audrey Forbes Manley became the first alumna to lead her beloved alma mater when she was appointed Spelman College's eighth president in 1997. Dr. Manley's unwavering dedication, experience, and intimate knowledge of the institution served Spelman well as she successfully guided the College into the New Millennium. 

    Audrey F. Manley, MD, Bio

  • Johnnetta Cole
    Johnnetta B. Cole, Ph.D., Seventh President

    In 1987, Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole became Spelman College's seventh president and the first Black woman to lead the College that was founded specifically for the education of Black women. A dynamic leader, Dr. Cole led the College during a time of heighten visibility as the school's rankings and endowment increased. 

    Johnnetta B. Cole, Ph.D., Bio

  • Donald Stewart
    Donald M. Stewart, Ph.D., Sixth President

    In 1976, Dr. Donald M. Stewart became Spelman College's sixth president and would continue the tradition of academic excellence and the cultivation of leaders during his decade in office. 

    Donald M. Stewart, Ph.D., Bio

  • Spelman President Albert Manley
    Albert E. Manley, Ed.D., Fifth President

    Dr. Albert E. Manley became the first Black and the first male president of Spelman College in 1953. An advocate for equality and education, he believed women were as capable of leadership as men and  emphasized the achievement of excellence in all aspects of life.

    Albert E. Manley, Ed.D., Bio

  • Florence Read
    Florence M. Read, Fourth President

    Florence Matilda Read exemplified and embodied the audacious leadership skills necessary to continue the vision of Spelman College's previous presidents. Her determination and strategic thinking continued to catapult the College into unprecedented territory. 

    Florence M. Read Bio

  • Lucy Hale Tapley
    Lucy Hale Tapley, Third President

    Elected Spelman College's third president, Lucy Hale Tapley's love, dedication, and service to Spelman spanned 37 years and continued to elevate the founders' mission of educational opportunity and academic excellence for Black women.

    Lucy Hale Tapley Bio

  • Harriet Giles
    Harriet E. Giles, Co-Founder and Second President

    A pioneer and advocate for women's education, Harriet E. Giles's bold dream of creating change and more educational opportunities for Black women culminated in her co-founding Spelman College and leading the institution as its second president.

    Harriet E. Giles Bio

  • Sophia Packard
    Sophia B. Packard, Co-Founder and First President

    Vision, courage and the extraordinary determination to create change in a racially divided nation paved Sophia B. Packard's pathway to co-founding Spelman College and becoming the institution's first president. 

    Sophia B. Packard Bio