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Alumnae Stories

Spelman Welcomes New Members to Board of Trustees

June 2020

Spelman College Campus ToursA sales and marketing executive, a higher education leader, an actress and an innovative entrepreneur have joined a Spelman College sophomore as the newest members of the College’s Board of Trustees.

“Each new trustee brings a distinctive voice and perspective to the Board,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., Spelman's president.

“Their ideas, experiences, passions and energy will sustain the vitality of the Board and the visionary decision making needed to ensure Spelman continues to be the incubator for Black women’s advancement it was created to be. We are honored to have them serve and look forward to the contributions they will make.” 

The Role of the Board of Trustees

The Board provides strategic leadership to the College by employing its members' expertise in everything from finance and international affairs to philanthropy and science. Trustees act as members of the governing board of Spelman and are responsible for basic oversight and governance of the institution, including the election of the president of the College, basic educational and fiscal policies, the granting of degrees, and the promotion and tenure based on the recommendation of the president.

Spelman's Newest Board Members

Elizabeth GowansElizabeth Gowans, C’2023, who is pursuing a degree in history with a minor in curatorial studies, will serve a three-year team as the student trustee. A presidential scholar and an active member of the Honors Program, Gowans sees her role as a student trustee as a “means of helping Spelman succeed."

Carmen Harris C2002Carmen D. Harris, C’2002, is co-founder and managing partner of Magnus on Water. For over 15 years, Harris has cultivated innovative strategies between individuals, organizations and campaigns to improve the lives of priority populations -- especially Black women and girls. In August 2018, Harris made a career pivot and became co-founder and managing partner of Magnus on Water -- a cocktail bar and restaurant just outside of Portland, Maine. She will serve the board as an alumna trustee. By serving as a trustee, Harris said she honors what it means to be an alumna of Spelman College. “For me that means you honor who you are, you serve where you are, and you give what you can and how you can to Spelman College."

Cara HughesCara Johnson Hughes, C’2003,
is a senior director of sales, marketing and innovation for Baldwin Richardson Foods. A third-generation Black entrepreneur, Hughes creates and executes the company's growth and innovation strategy. Her late grandmother, Joan B. Johnson, served as a Spelman Trustee. “Spelman’s mission,” said Hughes, “Aligns with my own passions for educating and advancing African American women."

Larry SchallLawrence M. Schall, J.D., Ed.D., the newly appointed president of the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), served as president of Oglethorpe University, from June 23, 2005 until his retirement on June 30, 2020. Under his leadership, Oglethorpe nearly tripled net assets while reducing total debt by more than half, grew enrollment by 65%, established strategic entrepreneurial partnerships and experienced historic levels of philanthropic giving with more than $150 million raised. As president of Oglethorpe, Schall said he has “long been an admirer of the extraordinary accomplishments of Spelman graduates and the succession of strong leaders of the College.”

Spelman College Trustee Pauletta WashingtonPauletta Pearson Washington is an American actress, vocalist and a classically trained pianist. She has had several roles in "The Parkers," "She's Gotta Have It," "Beloved," and "The Real MVP: The Wanda Durant Story." The mother of four children including Morehouse alumnus John David Washington, C’2006, she is married to actor, director and producer Denzel Washington. Washington and her family have established the Pauletta and Denzel Washington Gifted Scholars Program -- a community outreach program that enables undergraduate, graduate and medical students to work on exciting research projects underway in neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai. “I grew up in a family that was very active in and dedicated to educational pursuits and I have always been interested in helping and using my talents in ways that will serve others,” said Washington.