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Founders Day Honorees

Forever Blue: Founders Day 2024 Honorees

2024 Founders Spirit Award Degree Recipient Marian Rucker-Shamu, C'65

Marian Rucker-Shamu, a native of South Carolina and oldest of two children, acknowledges that her parents, teachers, and community sparked her quest to be a servant leader. 

A retired librarian of 56 years in public, special, and academic libraries, Rucker-Shamu was a music major with a minor in secondary education at Spelman College. After earning her Bachelor of Arts, she earned a Master of Library Science degree at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Rucker-Shamu attributes her career path to the mentorship and advisement of her Spelman College Librarian, Mrs. Mexico Mickelbury.

Rucker-Shamu’s education prepared her for appointment as the first Municipal Reference Librarian for the District of Columbia government and the Martin Luther King Jr. Library. Her career path continued at the Washington Center for Metropolitan Studies, the National Rural Center in the District of Columbia, and international contractual assignments in Zimbabwe, Harare, Malawi, and Maseru, Lesotho. While abroad, she frequently shared her Spelman Messenger with girls interested in Spelman College. Rucker-Shamu later served as the Associate Library Director at Bowie State University Library and Title III grants coordinator and administrator for the Thurgood Marshall Library. 

A life member of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College (NAASC), Rucker-Shamu has served as President-Elect and President of the Columbia, Maryland chapter and nationally as the 27th president. She also served as church organist for the First Baptist Church of Harare, Zimbabwe and Jerusalem Baptist Church of Georgetown, Washington, DC.  

Named Alumna of the Year (NAASC, Columbia), Rucker-Shamu has also received the NAASC Hall of Fame Award, been named the UNCF National Alumni Council Outstanding Alumna, and been recognized by the University System of Maryland. 

Rucker Shamu’s engagement through class reunions, annual giving, and recruiting students continues because of what she deems her "exceptional Spelman experience." Currently, Rucker-Shamu has twelve cousins who are also her Spelman sisters.