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Founders Day - Stronger Together Upholding Our Legacy

Past Founders Day Highlights

Past Honorees


  • Ruha Benjamin
    Dr. Ruha Benjamin, C'2001, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and anthropology in 2001. She continued her studies at the University of California Berkeley, earning a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy in sociology.
  • Marian Rucker-Shamu
    Marian Rucker-Shamu is 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.
  • Edwin Pete Varner
    Edwin “Pete” Varner, the recipient of the 2024 Spelman College True Blue Award, has been a dedicated member of the Spelman College community for 18 years.
  • Dr Sandra Patterson
    Dr. 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.
  • Dr Ernestine Dearing Hogan
    Spelman alumna and Atlanta native, Dr. Ernestine Dearing Hogan is a "giver" in every sense of the word. She believes that "giving is a gift that has always been a primary source of all of my blessings." She says that she is "blessed to be a blessing to others.
  • Tayari Jones
    Internationally best-selling author Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, most recently An American Marriage. Published in 2018, An American Marriage is an Oprah’s Book Club Selection and also appeared on Barack Obama’s summer reading list as well as his year-end roundup.
  • Rosa King Kilpatrick c70
    Rosa 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.
  • Andrea Lewis
    After graduating summa cum laude from Spelman College, Andrea Lewis earned a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate from Georgia State University. She is currently the director of Spelman's Student Success Program and an associate professor of education.
  • Dan Bascelli
    Daniele Bascelli has been with Spelman College and the Comprehensive Writing Program for 26 years. He taught media arts at Algonquin College in Nepean, Ontario, at the beginning of the digital media revolution and has since been exploring the use of new media to enhance written communications, narrative formation and the visual arts.
  • Bernice King c85
    Dr. Bernice A. King is a global thought leader, strategist, solutionist, orator, peace advocate, and CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center For Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), which was founded by her mother as the official living memorial to the life, work and legacy of her father.