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From data scientists, educators and artists to CEOs, doctors, economists and ambassadors, Spelman College has unparalleled success at producing global change agents through providing an exceptional education to Black women. The New York Times notes that on average, a Spelman education leads to increased social mobility – moving up two or more income levels.

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Finance Firm to Support the Growth of the Spelman College Innovation Lab


Jason Fink
Butler Associates
(646) 213-1369

Jazmyn Burton
(404) 798-5212
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia

Siebert-Williams-ShankATLANTA (February 1, 2021) -- Siebert Williams Shank & Co. LLC., the nation’s top-ranked minority and woman-owned investment banking firm, recently announced plans to support educational programs for the next generation of African American innovative business leaders.

Suzanne Shank, president, CEO and majority owner of SWS, and a member of the Spelman College Board of Trustees, will partner with Christopher Williams, chairman of SWS, and equity partner Gary Hall, to provide a monetary gift in support of a new fellowship designed to support bourgeoning business leaders.

In partnership with Spelman’s Innovation Lab, a campus-wide resource for creative inquiry, the fellowship will support students as they learn key elements of business strategy and entrepreneurship.

“Even prior to my joining the board, I knew Spelman College was a strong training ground for women who lead and excel in their careers and communities,”  said SWS President and CEO Suzanne Shank, who has been a member of the Spelman College Board of Trustees since 2011. “I knew this first-hand, as my mother was a Spelman graduate who gave me an appreciation for the impact of a quality education on changing the trajectory of one’s life. Supporting an educational institution that has a rich history of matriculating Black leaders in many fields, including business, is the perfect way to kick off Black History Month.”

During the year-long program, students will develop their professional skills, create a sustainable business model, and have access to mentorship and internship programs.

“We are grateful for this generous gift from  Siebert Williams Shank to Spelman’s Innovation Lab, a space on campus that enables students to experiment with technology to realize their entrepreneurial and creative efforts,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman.

Founded in 2016 within the Division for the Arts, the Innovation Lab serves as a center for creativity at the intersections of science, art, engineering and technology. Through the Lab, students have access to 3D printers, laser cutters, 4-axis CNC routers, 3D scanners and other conventional hand and power tools that make prototyping possible.

A veteran of the business industry, Shank joined the Spelman’s Board of Trustees in 2011. She has been widely recognized in the industry, including being named one of the Top 25 Women in Finance by U.S. Banker and one of the 50 Most Influential Black Women in Business by Black Enterprise.

Siebert Williams Shank & Co., is dually headquartered in New York City and Oakland, California. With more than 20 offices throughout the country, the firm is among the most diverse in its industry, with 64 percent of its workforce comprised of women and minorities.

The firm will also gift Howard University’s School of Business with a donation in support of its 50th anniversary strategic initiatives.

About Siebert Williams Shank & Co. LLC.
SWS is an independent non-bank financial services firm that offers investment banking, sales and trading, research, advisory, and asset management services. It was created through a merger in late 2019 of the nation’s top-ranked woman and minority-owned municipal finance firm and the top-ranked minority-owned corporate bond firm.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 14th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and partnerships have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit

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Keisha Leverette, C'2002
Campaign Director

Hazel D. Dean

Large Blue Quote LeftMy choice to change the world occurred at Spelman through hard work and perseverance. I realized very early in my college career that you are expected to excel and lead — a requirement of being a Spelman woman. Additionally, you are expected to be a change agent and be in service to others. Spelman provided my foundation for impactful leadership, and affirmed my life’s work of being a change agent in service for the public’s health. --- Hazel D. Dean, ScD, MPH, FAC, C'83, Deputy Director at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Spelman Alumna Mya Harvard

Large Blue Quote LeftAt Spelman, I was taught by distinguished professors who looked like me and genuinely cared about my success. I had sisters who constantly encouraged me and helped me build an unbreakable confidence. I also learned about my history and my community in refreshing and unique ways. Overall, my experience at Spelman was priceless and I will cherish it forever.” ---Mya Havard, Product Manager at Dropbox