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Founders Day Honorees

Forever Blue: Founders Day
2023 Honorees

Dr. Sandra Sims Patterson, C'70, 2023 True Blue Award Recipient

Dr Sandra PattersonDr. Sandra Sims Patterson is Associate Professor of Psychology at Spelman College. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Spelman in 1970, and a Master of Arts in 1971 and a Ph.D. in Psychology in 1974 from The University of Michigan. Prior to Spelman, Dr. Patterson taught in the Psychology Department at Boston College for five years. She became a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts in 1979.

In August of 1979, Dr. Patterson came to Spelman College as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Education and Psychology and was appointed in 1998 as Associate Professor of Psychology and continues to work on departmental and college-wide committees. She served as Chair of the Psychology Department for two consecutive terms from 2003-2009.

Dr. Patterson has faithfully served her alma mater and is one of the few faculty who has chaired two academic departments. She was the longest-serving Chair/Co-chair for the Spelman College Annual United Way Campaign that raised in one year the highest amount of donations for any given campaign. Academically, she is active as a research mentor for so many student research projects in psychology who have received awards for their research at Spelman College and Atlanta University’s Research Days. She currently supports the renewed WELS Program. In her years at Spelman College, she has served on over 60 committees, programs, administrative positions, task forces and thinktanks, conferences and faculty/student programs, and projects.

In the early 1980’s Dr. Patterson became a part of Atlanta’s mental health community when she was selected to spearhead a Mental Health Task Force to develop a city-wide program to address the fears and anxieties that families were experiencing due to the Atlanta Child Murders crisis. This task force of healthcare professionals, teachers, parents, and other community-based organizations developed strategies to help the community to deal with the fears surrounding this grim time. She was a spokesperson for the City of Atlanta during this crisis appearing on local and national news and quoted in several newspapers such as “Good Morning America,” and the New York Times. Dr. Patterson received awards from the National Association of Black Psychologists and the City of Atlanta for her work during these challenging times.

Dr. Patterson has served on numerous community boards and consulted with agencies such as Leadership Atlanta, the Task Force on Violence Prevention developed by the Georgia Human Relations Commission and American Psychological Association Task Force on Adolescent Girls. She holds professional memberships with the Southeastern Psychological Association, the Society for Teaching in Psychology and service membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated amongst other organizations.

Her students are successful leaders as psychologists, researchers, consultants, educators, statisticians, and a range of many other professions. Dr. Patterson received an award from Spelman College for Outstanding College Service in 2013.

In the profession of psychology Dr. Patterson has written several other publications. She was lead author in completing a prevention guidebook for the Commission entitled, Coping with Trauma: Its Impact on Learning Abilities of Students.

Dr. Patterson was married to the late Roy Patterson and is mother to four children, Chaka, Angela, Malika, and Shaundra, and grandmother to seven beautiful grandchildren. She is also a faithful member of Ben Hill United Methodist Church.