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C'2001 history student

History in Action

Read about our amazing faculty, students and alumnae who have taught, majored or minored in history at Spelman College.

Top Ten Graduate: Kendra Grissom, C'2020

May 2020

Spelman Class of 2020 Kendra GrissomValedictorian, Summa Cum Laude
Major: History
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

What’s Next
Following graduation, Grissom will continue her studies at Johns Hopkins University where she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in history. Her overall goal is to become a professor at a historically Black college or university, where she plans to work to make history more accessible while actively impacting change in public education.

A Message for the Class of 2020
My advice for my fellow seniors is: "Take care of yourself – I am not just talking about applying facials! Protect your peace, protect your space, learn how to say no, do not be so hard on yourself, remember that your worth is not determined by your failures and successes, give yourself the grace to make mistakes. Enjoy your journey!"

During her undergraduate career, Grissom focused on academic excellence and service. She is a member of the Phi Alpha Theta and Phi Beta Kappa Honor Societies and the recipient of multiple awards and honors, including the Clio Outstanding History Graduating Senior Award. The history major worked to support her fellow classmates as a mentor in the Ford First Generation Scholars Program while maintaining the academic excellence required of an UNCF Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow.

A Proud Baltimore Woman With Rich Roots
On campus she served as an ambassador of the Spelman Museum of Fine Art and was an adjutant for the Spelman College Glee Club. In the fall, she will continue her studies at Johns Hopkins University where she will work toward earning a Ph.D. in African American history. 

Being named valedictorian is especially significant for Grissom. As a product of west Baltimore, the graduate said people discounted her and made assumptions about her abilities because of her origin. Being named valedictorian confirms for her that how one begins does not determine how one ends.

“I am incredibly proud of my Baltimore roots and I hope this moment serves as evidence that inner city youth should not be underestimated,” she added. “As a first-generation college student, I am incredibly blessed to have a village of amazing mentors, teachers, family members, friends, neighbors, professors and church members who have supported me throughout my life’s journey. I would not be where I am today without them, and this honor is as much theirs as it is mine.