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Presidential Search

Presidential Search

The Search for Spelman's 11th President

President elect Helene Gayle

April 25, 2022

I am incredibly pleased to announce that the Spelman College Board of Trustees has unanimously and enthusiastically elected Helene D. Gayle, M.D., MPH, as the 11th president of Spelman College.

Dr. Gayle is currently president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation's oldest and largest community foundations. Her appointment is effective July 1, 2022, following the completion of Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell’s seven years of outstanding leadership and service.

Full Announcement: Helene D. Gayle Named 11th President of Spelman College

Press Release: Spelman College Names Helene Gayle, MD, Globally Recognized Public Health Leader, its 11th President

The Leadership Profile

Reporting directly to the Board of Trustees, the 11th president will appreciate and desire to preserve Spelman’s rich legacy and resources while boldly and courageously leveraging the College’s global footprint toward strategic growth and impact. Adept at working with multiple constituencies, the president will be a gifted communicator and empathetic listener, ready to partner with faculty, staff, students, and alumnae, as well as with the general public, to ensure Spelman’s future success.

Please send questions to

Presidential Search Leadership Profile cover

President Campbell to Retire After the 2021-22 Academic Year

For 140 years, Spelman College has provided its students with a best-in-class liberal arts experience and is highly regarded as a global leader in higher education. As a historically Black college for women, Spelman’s abiding commitment to academic excellence, rigorous scholarship, ethical leadership and social change has served as a model of institutional sustainability.

Beginning with its founders Harriet Giles and Sophia Packard, Spelman has been led by dynamic, visionary leaders committed to fostering an intellectually stimulating environment that advances diversity and promotes action.  Selecting the next individual to lead the College – Spelman’s 11th president – is both an opportunity and a challenge enthusiastically embraced by the Spelman College Board of Trustees.  As a culture inspired by continuous improvement, Spelman seeks to engage an individual who has an appreciation for and a desire to preserve the institution’s rich legacy and resources, but also one who will boldly and courageously expand the College’s global footprint and strategically support its enlightened evolution.

Presidential Search Updates

Spelman Presidential Search Final Candidate Helene Gayle

April 25, 2022

We are pleased to announce that, after an exciting and comprehensive search process, the Presidential Search Committee has identified a final candidate.

Helene D. Gayle, M.D., MPH, current president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, has been selected as finalist for the role of the 11th president of Spelman College. Scholar, HIV and public health researcher, humanitarian and champion of the rights of women and girls worldwide, Dr. Gayle, trained as a pediatric physician, previously served in prominent positions at the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CARE Inc.

Read the full Final Candidate Announcement.

Presidential Search Update

Spelman College Campus Shot Path ForwardFebruary 14, 2022

The Presidential Search Committee (PSC) has successfully completed the first phases of the search, which included planning and organizing the process, developing the Leadership Profile, and recruiting a strong and diverse prospective candidate pool. After screening and evaluating more than 300 prospects and nominations, the PSC has narrowed the applicant pool, based on the criteria as set forth in the Leadership Profile that many of you helped to shape, and begun engaging with many promising candidates... Read the full presidential search committee update from Feb. 14.


Presidential Search Alumnae Town Hall Recording

Spelman College Campus Shot Path ForwardWe appreciate the input of the Spelman community in assisting the Presidential Search Committee in the early phases of the search, which has led to the development of a comprehensive leadership profile and recommendations for additions to a diverse and exciting pool of potential candidates. We are pleased to share this recording of a Town Hall discussion with alumnae and grateful for those who were able to attend or submit questions in advance. ...View the Alumnae Town Hall Recording.


Presidential Search Update

Spelman College Campus Shot Path ForwardDecember 10, 2021 

As the fall semester comes to a close, we want you to know that the search for the 11th president of Spelman College is ongoing and we remain confident that a new president will be selected in time to accept the baton from President Campbell when she retires on June 30, 2022.... Read the full presidential search committee update from Dec. 10.


The Spelman Community is Invited to Share Their Insights

Spelman College Campus Shot Path ForwardOctober 19, 2021 

Board of Trustee members Kaye Foster, presidential search committee chair, and Gena Ashe, C’83, presidential search committee, co-chair, invite the Spelman Community to complete the President Survey by Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.


Update Following the Announcement of President Campbell’s Retirement

September 23, 2021
I am writing to provide you with an update following the recent announcement of Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell’s retirement. The Board extends our gratitude and admiration for Dr. Campbell and her many accomplishments, and recognizes the critical role she played in ensuring the College’s success on many fronts. Throughout the academic year, we will share ways for the Spelman community to join us in expressing our heartfelt appreciation for all that Dr. Campbell has done during her time at the college. ...Read the full letter, Following the Announcement of President Campbell’s Retirement


A Message from President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.

President Mary Schmidt Campbell August 17, 2021
Back in 2014, I received a phone call that would change my life. Spelman College invited me to put my hat in the ring to serve as its 10th president. I had always regarded the college as a national treasure and felt deeply honored even to be considered to lead such a historic institution, committed to educating Black women to become global leaders. ...Read the full Message from President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.


A Spelman College Announcement

Spelman President Campbell Retirement Announcement ATLANTA (August 17, 2021) -- Today, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., announced that she will retire as president of Spelman College at the end of this academic year, effective as of June 30, 2022.  ... Read the full Spelman College Announcement Press Release