Spelman College

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Spelman College
Spelman College logo.png
Motto Our whole school for Christ
Established April 11, 1881 (1881-04-11)[1][2]
Type Private women's college
HBCU
[3]
Endowment 309 million[4]
President Beverly Daniel Tatum
Students 2,200[2]
Location Atlanta, Georgia, USA
33°44′46″N 84°24′40″W / 33.746°N 84.411°W / 33.746; -84.411Coordinates: 33°44′46″N 84°24′40″W / 33.746°N 84.411°W / 33.746; -84.411
Former names Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary
Colors Blue and white[2]
Athletics None[5]
Formerly NCAA Division III GSAC
Nickname Jaguars
Affiliations Annapolis Group
ACS
Website spelman.edu

Spelman College is a four-year liberal arts women's college located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The college is part of the Atlanta University Center academic consortium in Atlanta.[1] Founded in 1881 as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, Spelman was the fourth historically black female institution of higher education to receive its collegiate charter in 1924. It thus holds the distinction of being one of America's oldest historically black colleges for women.[1]

Spelman is ranked among the nation's top liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report. The college is ranked among the top 50 four-year colleges and universities for producing Fulbright Scholars, and was ranked the second largest producer of African-American college graduates who attend medical school. Forbes ranks Spelman among the nation's top ten best women's colleges. Moreover, Spelman has been ranked the #1 regional college in the South by U.S. News and World Report and is ranked among the Best 373 Colleges and Universities in America by the Princeton Review.

Spelman is often reckoned as the Radcliffe, Wellesley or Smith of the African-American world.[6] It has a longstanding relationship with all-male Morehouse College.

Spelman is the alma mater of several notable Americans including the CEO of Sam's Club and former Executive Vice President of Walmart Rosalind Brewer, Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker; Dean of Harvard College Evelynn M. Hammonds, and actress Keshia Knight Pulliam.

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

The Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary was established on April 11, 1881 (1881-04-11) in the basement of Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, by two teachers from the Oread Institute of Worcester, Massachusetts: Harriet E. Giles and Sophia B. Packard.[1] Giles and Packard had met while Giles was a student, and Packard the preceptress, of the New Salem Academy in New Salem, Massachusetts, and fostered a lifelong friendship there.[7] The two of them traveled to Atlanta specifically to found a school for black freedwomen, and found support from Frank Quarles, the pastor of Friendship Baptist Church.

Giles and Packard began the school with 11 African-American women and $100 given to them by the First Baptist Church in Medford, Massachusetts.,[1] and a promise of further support from the Women's American Baptist Home Missionary Society (WABHMS), a group with which they were both affiliated in Boston.[7] Although their first students were mostly illiterate, they envisioned their school to be a liberal arts institution - the first circular of the college stated that they planned to offer "algebra, physiology, essays, Latin, rhetoric, geometry, political economy, mental philosophy (psychology), chemistry, botany, Constitution of the United States, astronomy, zoology, geology, moral philosophy, and evidences of Christianity".[7] Over time, they attracted more students; by the time the first term ended, they had enrolled 80 students in the seminary.[7] The WABHMS made a down payment on a nine-acre (36,000 m²) site in Atlanta relatively close to the church they began in, which originally had five buildings left from a Union Civil War encampment, to support classroom and residence hall needs.[8]

In 1882 the two women returned to Massachusetts to bid for more money and were introduced to wealthy Northern Baptist businessman John D. Rockefeller at a church conference in Ohio.[1] Rockefeller was impressed by Packard's vision. In April 1884, Rockefeller visited the school. By this time, the seminary had 600 students and 16 faculty members. It was surviving on generous donations by the black community in Atlanta, the efforts of volunteer teachers, and gifts of supplies; many Atlanta black churches, philanthropists, and black community groups raised and donated money to settle the debt on the property that had been acquired.[7] Rockefeller was so impressed that he settled the debt on the property.[8] Rockefeller's wife, Laura Spelman Rockefeller; her sister, Lucy Spelman; and their parents, Harvey Buel and Lucy Henry Spelman, were also supportive of the school. The Spelmans were longtime activists in the abolitionist movement. Thus, in 1884 the name of the school was changed to the Spelman Seminary in honor of Laura Spelman, John D. Rockefeller's wife,[1] and her parents, who were longtime activists in the anti-slavery movement. Rockefeller also donated the funds for what is currently the oldest building on campus, Rockefeller Hall, which was constructed in 1886.

Packard was appointed as Spelman's first president in 1888, after the charter for the seminary was granted. The first college degrees were awarded in 1901. Packard died in 1891, and Giles assumed the presidency until her death in 1909.

Growth[edit]

The years 1910 to 1953 saw great growth and transition for the seminary.[9] Upon Giles' death, Lucy Hale Tapley became president. Although the college was a stride in and of itself, at the time, neither the founders nor the current administration had interest in challenging the status quo of young women as primarily responsible for the family and the home.[7] Tapley declared: "Any course of study which fails to cultivate a taste and fitness for practical and efficient work in some part of the field of the world's needs is unpopular at Spelman and finds no place in our curriculum." [9] The nursing curriculum was strengthened; a teachers' dormitory and a home economics building were constructed, and Tapley Hall, the science building, was completed in 1925.[9] The Granddaughters' Club, a club for students whose mothers and aunts had attended Spelman was also created, and this club is still in existence today.

In 1927, Spelman Seminary officially became Spelman College. Florence Matilda Read assumed the presidency in 1927. Shortly thereafter, Spelman entered into an "agreement of affiliation" with nearby Morehouse College and Atlanta University by chartering the Atlanta University Center in 1929.[10] Atlanta University was to provide graduate education for students, whereas Morehouse and Spelman were responsible for the undergraduate education. At a time during which black students were often denied access to graduate student at predominant white southern research universities, access to Atlanta University allowed the undergraduate students at Morehouse and Spelman immediate access to graduate training.

In 1927, one of the most important buildings on campus, Sisters Chapel, was dedicated. The chapel was named for its primary benefactors, sisters Laura Spelman Rockefeller and Lucy Maria Spelman. The college also began to see an improvement in extracurricular investment in the arts, with the organization of the Spelman College Glee Club, inauguration of the much-loved Atlanta tradition of the annual Spelman-Morehouse Christmas Carol Concert and smaller events such as the spring orchestra and chorus concert, the Atlanta University Summer Theater, and the University Players, a drama organization for AUC students. The school also began to see more of a focus on collegiate education, as it discontinued its elementary and high school divisions. In 1930 the Spelman Nursery School as created as a training center for mothers and a practice arena for students who planned careers in education and child development. Spelman celebrated its 50th anniversary in April 1931. This milestone as accompanied by the construction of a university library that was shared amongst the Atlanta University Center institutions, and the center continues to share a library to this day.

The school continued to expand, building and acquiring more property to accommodate the growing student body. IN 1947, Spelman joined the list of "approved institutions" of the Association of American Universities.[11] In 1953, Florence Read retired, and Albert E. Manley became the first black and first male president of college. Under his presidency and the presidency of his successor, Donald Stewart, Spelman saw significant growth. The college established its study abroad program, the Merrill Foreign Travel-Study Program.[10] Stewart's administration tripled the college's endowment and oversaw the establishment of the Comprehensive Writing Program, an across-the-curriculum writing program that requires students to submit portfolios of their written work; the Ethel Waddell Githii College Honors Program; and the Women's Research and Resource Center.[10] In 1958, the college received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Civil rights involvement[edit]

Going into the 1960s, the Spelman College students became involved in the heated civil rights actions going on in Atlanta. In 1962, the first Spelman students were arrested for participating in sit-ins in the Atlanta community. Noted American historian Howard Zinn was a professor of history at Spelman during this era, and served as an adviser to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee chapter at the college. Zinn mentored many of Spelman's students fighting for civil rights at the time, including Alice Walker and Marian Wright Edelman[12] Zinn was dismissed from the college in 1963 for supporting Spelman students in their efforts to fight segregation; at the time, Spelman was focused on turning out "refined young ladies." Edelman herself writes that Spelman had a reputation as "a tea-pouring, very strict school designed to turn black girls into refined ladies and teachers."[13]

1980–present[edit]

Stewart retired in 1986, and the following year, Johnnetta Betsch Cole became the first black female president of Spelman College. During this time, the college became noted for its commitment to community service and its ties to the local community. Cole also led the college's most successful capital campaign; between 1986 and 1996, the college raised $113.8 million, including a $20 million gift from Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille Hanks Cosby, whose daughter attended Spelman. In honor of this gift, the Cosby Academic Center was constructed.[10]

In 1997, Cole stepped down and Audrey Forbes Manley became Spelman's first alumna president. After her retirement, in 2002, Beverly Daniel Tatum, the college's current president, took the post. The campus now comprises 26 buildings on 39 acres (160,000 m2) in Atlanta.[2]

Presidents[edit]

Since its inception Spelman has had nine presidents:

  • Sophia B. Packard, (1888) founded women's seminary with Giles in a basement of an historic African-American church and cultivated Rockefeller support for the school
  • Harriet E. Giles, (1891) under whom the school granted its first college degrees
  • Lucy Hale Tapley, (1910) under whom the school decided to focus on higher education, the school officially became Spelman College (1927), and Sisters Chapel, one of the main buildings on campus, was erected.
  • Florence M. Read, (1927) a Mount Holyoke College graduate, under whom the school established an endowment fund of over $3 million, the school came into agreement with Atlanta University and Morehouse College to form the Atlanta University Center (later Clark-Atlanta University, Morris Brown College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the Interdenominational Theological Center were added), the Arnett Library was built, and Spelman earned approval from the American Association of Universities;
  • Albert E. Manley (1953) (the first black and first male president of Spelman), under whom study abroad programs were established, the fine arts center was built, and three new residence halls and several classroom buildings were renovated. According to Howard Zinn, Manley tried to suppress the student civil rights movement that was taking place on campus during his tenure.
  • Donald M. Stewart (1976, under whom the departments of women's studies and chemistry were founded, and three strategic programs were formed: the Comprehensive Writing Program, the Women's Research and Resource Center, and the Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Program, and a continuing education department and a computer literacy program were established;
  • Johnnetta B. Cole (1987) (the first African American female president of Spelman), under whom the college received $20 million from Drs. William and Camille Cosby for the construction of the Cosby Academic Center and instituted the Cole Institute for Community Service;
  • Audrey F. Manley (1997) (the first alumna president of Spelman), under which Spelman gained a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, Spelman was accepted as a provisional member of NCAA Division III athletics, a Science Center was finished;
  • Beverly Daniel Tatum, (2002) who was appointed in 2002 after teaching and serving as an administrator for a number of years at Mount Holyoke College, and under whom the renovation of Sisters Chapel was begun

Academics[edit]

University rankings
National
Forbes[14] 238
Global
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[15] 68
Washington Monthly[16] 8

Spelman ranks 59th in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report ranking of America's Best Liberal Colleges. Spelman has amassed an endowment fund of over $291 million, and was ranked 68th in the 2010 U.S. News ranking of all U.S. liberal arts colleges.[17] The 2009 US News rankings placed Spelman first among Historically Black Colleges and/or Universities.[18]

Spelman is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Spelman is a member of the Coalition of Women's Colleges, National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, The College Fund/UNCF, National Association for College Admissions Counseling, and State of Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC).[2]

Spelman offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in the following majors: Art, Child Development, Comparative Women's Studies, Drama & Dance, Economics, English, Foreign Languages (French and Spanish), History, Human Services, Independent Major, International Studies, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology.

Spelman offer a Bachelor of Science degree in the following majors: Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer and Information Sciences, Dual Degree Engineering, Environmental Science, Mathematics, and Physics.

Spelman has a four-year graduation rate of 61%, a five-year graduation rate of 73%, and a six-year graduation rate of 74%.[2] It has a student:faculty ratio of 12:1.

Honor societies[edit]

Registered honor societies include Alpha Epsilon Delta, Alpha Lambda Delta, Alpha Sigma Lambda, Beta Kappa Chi, Golden Key International Honour Society, Kappa Delta Epsilon Society, Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Sigma Alpha, Psi Chi, Sigma Tau Delta, and the Upsilon Pi Epsilon.[19]

Student body[edit]

Students are all women and predominantly African-American.[2] Thirty percent come from Georgia, 69% from the rest of the United States, and 1% are international. Of the incoming class, 99% applied for need-based financial aid, and such aid was awarded to 97% of the first-year class.[2] In 2007-08, a total of $44,399,221 in financial aid was awarded.[2]

Student life[edit]

Spelman offers organized and informal activities. The college's 82 student organizations include community service organizations, choral groups, music ensembles, dance groups, drama/theater groups, a jazz band, varsity, club, and intramural sports, and student government.[19]

The Spelman campus in Atlanta consists of 39 acres and 26 buildings. The cost of tuition is $24.600 and room and board is set at about $11,000. Ninety-seven percent of incoming students receive financial aid.

The college offers students more than 60 organizations, with Greek life being a major element. Spelman is part of the Great South Athletic Conference and is a NCAA Division III program. It offers seven varsity sports and numerous club and intramural offerings.

Student publications and media[edit]

Spelman offers a literary magazine (Aunt Chloe: A Journal of Candor), a student newspaper (Spelman Spotlight) and student government association newsletter (Jaguar Print).[19] The yearbook is called Reflections.

Religious organizations[edit]

Religious organizations currently registered on campus include Baha'i Club, Al-Nissa, Alabaster Box, Atlanta Adventist Collegiate Society, Campus Crusade for Christ, Crossfire International Campus Ministry, Happiness In Praise for His Overflowing Presence, Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship, Movements of Praise Dance Team, The Newman Organization, The Outlet, and The Pre-Theology Society Minority.[19]

International student and social organizations[edit]

NAACP and Sister Steps are registered campus organizations.[19] Spelman also has chapters of Colleges Against Cancer, Circle K, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, National Council of Negro Women, National Society of Black Engineers, Operation Smile, United Way, and Young Democrats of America. Spelman is also the first HBCU to charter a chapter of Amnesty International on its campus.

Spelman has all four National Pan-Hellenic Council sororities on campus: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and Sigma Gamma Rho. In addition, Spelman has a chapter of the Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority and a chapter of Gamma Sigma Sigma, a national service sorority.

End of athletics[edit]

On November 1, 2012, Spelman College announced that it would be dropping all intercollegiate sports at the end of the 2012-13 academic year to promote healthy lifestyles amongst students. The vision is that with this change, students will implement these healthy practices in their home life outside of college.[5]

Notable people[edit]

Marian Wright Edelman Founder, Children's Defense Fund, MacArthur Fellow
U.S. Air Force photo of Marcelite J. Harris
Author Alice Walker
Audrey F. Manley, former Surgeon General of the USA
Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Tina McElroy Ansa 1971 author, Baby of the Family, Ugly Ways, The Hand I Fan With, and You Know Better [1]
Blanche Armwood 1906 Educator, activist; the first African-American woman in the state of Florida to graduate from an accredited law school; Armwood High School in Tampa, FL is named in her honor
Mary Barksdale 1942 Past President, Jack and Jill (organization)
J. Veronica Biggins 1968 Director, AirTran Airways; former Managing Partner of Diversity and Sr. Partner, Heidrick & Struggles and former Director of Presidential Personnel, at the White House for President Bill Clinton
Janet Bragg 1931 Aviation pioneer; first African-American female to obtain a commercial pilot license
Rosalind G. Brewer 1984 Executive Vice President, Walmart Stores, Inc. and President Walmart Stores South, USA; Board of Directors, Lockheed Martin
Linda Goode Bryant 1981 Documentary filmmaker, Flag Wars; Peabody Award winner and 2004 Guggenheim Fellow
Selena Sloan Butler 1888 founder first black Parent-Teacher organization, the National Congress for Colored Parents & Teachers; co-founder the National Parent-Teacher Association
Pearl Cleage 1971 novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and journalist [1]
Cassi Davis 1988 actress House of Payne
Ruth A. Davis 1966 24th Director General of the United States Foreign Service; Director, Foreign Service Institute and two-time recipient of the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service
Phire Dawson 2008 "Barker's Beauty" on The Price is Right
Mattiwilda Dobbs 1937 opera singer; she served on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Opera and the National Endowment for the Arts [1]
Marian Wright Edelman 1960 the founder of the Children's Defense Fund; MacArthur Fellow; Heinz Award; Presidential Medal of Freedom [1]
Christine King Farris 1948 public speaker and educator who teaches at Spelman College, she is the eldest and only living sibling of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tia Fuller 1998 saxophonist, composer, and educator
Evelynn M. Hammonds 1976 Dean of Harvard College, Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University
Marcelite J. Harris 1964 first African-American female to obtain the rank of General in the United States Air Force
Varnette Honeywood 1972 creator of the Little Bill character [1]
Alexine Clement Jackson 1956 Chair, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and former National President of the YWCA
Adrienne-Joi Johnson 1988 actress "House Party", "Baby Boy"
Clara Stanton Jones 1934 First African American President of the American Library Association
Tayari Jones 1991 author of Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling
Alberta Williams King (high school) mother of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bernice King 1986 President, SCLC, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Audrey F. Manley 1955 president emerita of Spelman College and former Acting Surgeon General of the United States
Tanya Walton Pratt 1981 Judge, United States District Court appointed by Barack Obama
Rubye Robinson 1963 Civil Rights activist, Executive Secretary of SNCC
Beverly Guy-Sheftall author, feminist scholar, founder of Women's Research and Resource Center at Spelman College
Deborah Prothrow-Stith 1975 first female Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Professor at Harvard School of Public Health [1]
Keshia Knight Pulliam 2001 Actress The Cosby Show, House of Payne
Tanika Ray 1994 Actress & television personality
Bernice Johnson Reagon 1970 founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock; MacArthur Fellow; Professor Emeritus American University Curator Emeritus, Smithsonian Institute National Museum American History; National Humanities Medal; Heinz Award [1]
LaTanya Richardson 1971 Actress (The Fighting Temptations) and wife of actor Samuel L. Jackson [1]
Esther Rolle c.1942 Actress, Good Times
Shaun Robinson 1984 Co-anchor, Access Hollywood; former host, TV One Access
Dovey Johnson Roundtree 1937 Trial attorney, military veteran and civil rights pioneer; landmark case: Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company
Eva Rutland 1937 Author, When We Were Colored: A Mother's Story; Winner of the 2000 Golden Pen Lifetime Achievement Award, and author of more than 20 Romance novels
Brenda V. Smith 1980 law professor, American University; appointed by Nancy Pelosi to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission
Sharmell Sullivan 1990 Miss Black America 1991, "TNA Knockout", and wife of professional wrestler Booker T
Sue Bailey Thurman 1920 founder and first chairperson, National Council of Negro Women's National Library
Alice Walker c.1965 Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, The Color Purple [1]
Rolonda Watts 1980 journalist, actor, writer, former talk show host
Ella Gaines Yates 1949 first African American director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System

Notable faculty include author Pearl Cleage, former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin, and historian Howard Zinn.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Spelman College". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Fact Book: Spelman College". 2008-11-30. Retrieved 2009-11-28. 
  3. ^ "List of HBCUs -- White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities". 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  4. ^ As of June 30, 2012. "U.S. News & World Report". 
  5. ^ a b "Spelman eliminates athletics in favor of campus-wide wellness initiative". Inside Higher Ed. Nov 1, 2012. Retrieved Nov 4, 2012. 
  6. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1987/07/20/style/spelman-s-college-s-first-sister-president.html
  7. ^ a b c d e f Lefever, Harry G. (2005). The Early Origins of Spelman College. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, No. 47, pp. 60-63
  8. ^ a b http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/437886/Sophia-B-Packard?anchor=ref669898
  9. ^ a b c "College History". Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  10. ^ a b c d http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-1460
  11. ^ http://www.spelman.edu/about-us/about-spelman/history-in-brief
  12. ^ Alice Walker remembers Howard Zinn. January 31, 2010 in the Boston Globe.
  13. ^ Edelman, Marian Wright (2000). Spelman College: A Safe Haven for a Young Black Woman. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, No. 27, pp. 118-123.
  14. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes.com LLC™. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  16. ^ "The Washington Monthly Liberal Arts Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  17. ^ "USNews.com:America's Best Colleges 2008:Spelman College:At a glance". USNews.com. U.S.News & World Report, L.P. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  18. ^ "Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Top Schools". USNews.com: America's Best Colleges 2008. U.S.News & World Report. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  19. ^ a b c d e "USNews.com:America's Best Colleges 2008:Spelman College:Extracurriculars". USNews.com. U.S.News & World Report, L.P. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]