Florence M. Read
Florence Matilda Read (1886 - 1973) was raised in Delevan, New York. She was president of Spelman College from 1927-1953. Prior to that she was acting president of Atlanta University from 1936-1937.
Read received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in 1909 and served as alumnae secretary. She taught at Reed College and was also college secretary. Prior to joining Spelman, she was Executive Secretary of the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation. During her time at Spelman, she is credited with almost doubling the enrollment of the college and with enhancing its reputation in the liberal arts. On April 11, 1929, which was also Spelman's 48th celebration of Founder's Day, Read was a co-signer of the Agreement of Affiliation between Spelman College, Morehouse College, and Atlanta University. That agreement was signed in President Reed's office, and the signees breakfasted together afterward.
In her role as Superintendent of Atlanta University, concurrent with her presidency at Spelman, Read was part of arrangements to include women students at Atlanta University into the Spelman student body and college community. Read was awarded an honorary degree by Oberlin College in 1939.
Read was elected President Emeritus when she retired from Spelman in 1953. In 1955, she researched what would later become her history of Spelman College while living in South Hadley, Massachusetts. In 1961 Reed College awarded her an honorary degree, and in 1962, Mount Holyoke College bestowed on her the Alumnae Medal of Honor.
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