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Founders Day Honorees

Forever Blue: Founders Day
2023 Honorees

Rosa King Kilpatrick, C'70, 2022 Founders Spirit Award Recipient

Alumna Rosa King Kilpatrick c70 Founders DayRosa King Kilpatrick is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, where as a child, the tenets of service to others was demonstrated in her home environment. She is a 1970 cum laude graduate of Spelman College with a bachelor's in sociology and history.

Serving in progressive leadership roles at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Kilpatrick, in her last assignment prior to retiring, was a senior community relations specialist, an inaugural position allowing her to become the first African American to be selected for the position. At NASA, she was the recipient of numerous awards, including Sustained Superior performance Awards. She was the recipient of the NASA Manned Space Flight Awareness Honoree Program (MFSAHP) award for significant contributions to the Space Program. She served as an adviser to the leadership of Marshall Space Flight Center/NASA for selection of applicants for the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program, where NASA paid all expenses for students attending Spelman.

During President Audrey Manley's tenure, Kilpatrick was a loaned executive from NASA at Spelman leading the College’s community initiatives. During this time, she had a chance to see firsthand that more and more students enter Spelman not fully prepared to take on the full financial requirements, and she launched special initiatives for the Student Emergency Fund. The initiatives during her tenure delivered $70,000 from the executive level of NAASC and $94,000 from the chapter level.

Prior to working at NASA, Kilpatrick served as a senior civil rights specialist at the U.S. Department of Education. As a young employee, she was awarded a fellowship to attend Clark Atlanta University to secure a M.A. degree in special education. She was selected to lead the Regional Office in understanding the disparities and the significant imbalance of African American students in special education classes at the height of school desegregation in the south. She is also a graduate of the Carroll School of Management, Community Relations Program at Boston College, Boston Massachusetts.

Kilpatrick continued to serve her alma mater after graduation through serving on special committees for the College and recruitment of students to attend Spelman through her chapter of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman, where she is a life member and served in progressive leadership positions, including the presidency. In 2008, she was the recipient of the Alumnae Achievement Award for Civic Service from Spelman College. She is a former alumna trustee on the Spelman College Board of Trustees, where she enthusiastically served on numerous boards including Board Affairs and Student Affairs. She was also inducted into the 2017 United Negro College Fund Hall of Honor representing Spelman.

In 2015, while serving as president of the Huntsville Chapter, Kilpatrick's fundraising savvy allowed her to raise over $40,000 in chapter scholarship funds for a deserving incoming Spelman student.In 2016, because of tireless efforts and raising scholarship funds for Spelman students, she was presented the highest honor of the NAASC, Hall of Fame Award.

In her community, she has given her time and talents to the following:

  • Founding/charter member and first president of the Huntsville Area Chapter of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College, currently fundraising chair
  • Charter member, Huntsville and Madison Chapters of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.
  • First African American female president of the Girl Scouts of North Alabama
  • Founding/charter member, National Council of Negro Women, Huntsville Chapter
  • Past contributor, USA Today Newspaper, diversity consultant
  • Current public relations POC for the Huntsville Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Golden Life Member of the organization

Additional community honors include:

  • 1988 Recipient of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc, Huntsville Chapter, Outstanding Community Service Award
  • Appointed by then Alabama Governor, Jim Folsom to the 1994-1995 Alabama State Textbook Committee
  • 2008 recipient of the Thanks Badge for the Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama for volunteer service giving and impacting the Council of Girl Scout Movement
  • Selected for the 2008 Leadership Huntsville/Madison County Impact class responsible for developing a plan for "Public Education Engagement for Area School Systems and Communities"
  • Graduate, Leadership Huntsville/Madison County FOCUS Program
  • Chair, Leadership Huntsville/Madison County MastersProgram for Government Day

Current Affiliations:

  • Lay minister of church
  • Lead of church college ministry
  • Board member, Crestwood Hospital Women’s Advisory Committee
  • Board member, Senior Center of Huntsville/Madison County
  • Greater Huntsville Associates Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., social chair

Kilpatrick is happily married to the love of her life, John and they are the proud parents of Joi Kilpatrick, Spelman College, C'2004. Kilpatrick's passion is student recruitment and assisting in numerous ways to navigate students to Spelman. She has assisted untold numbers of students who attended and graduated from Spelman College. A fact that gives her immense joy.