Since its founding in 1881, Spelman College has led the charge of educating and uplifting Black women. Today, the all-women liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia is the top Historically Black College and sits as one of two colleges in the nation set to educate Black women. Through the years, Spelman has graduated such luminaries as actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson and writer Pearl Cleage.
Yesterday, the storied institution installed its tenth president, Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell. Held at the Georgia World Congress Center, the Investiture Ceremony was a joyous occasion that attracted leaders in education, students, graduates, faculty and staff.
President Campbell’s arrival at Spelman came after the school’s ninth president, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum left her position at the burgeoning school last year. Campbell is the former dean emerita of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Many believe she was selected to assist the school in further developing its arts programs.
Former Spelman presidents were on hand, along with many alumnae as community and national leaders gave their blessings to Dr. Campbell, engaging in the night’s theme of celebrating equality through the arts.
“Spelman College is a gift to the city and the world,” Mayor Kasim Reed stated during his greeting.
Alfre Woodard was on hand to pay tribute to Dr. Campbell’s work for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
In her inaugural address, Dr. Campbell lauded the accomplishments of the past while looking forward to future growth as a powerhouse of STEM and the arts: “As good as Spelman has become, we have to do more, we have to be more.”
The arts were front and center during and after the inspiring ceremony. A pre-performance directed by Asst. Director or Dance T. Lang set the stage, followed by a rousing rendition of “A Choice to Change the World” by the Spelman Glee Club, and a student tribute to the history and women of Spelman in the form of a spoken word piece entitled ‘The Eleven.” Dance troupe Urban Bush Women, including class of 2010 alumna Tendayi Kuumba, pumped up the energy before the class of 1971 alumna and her work ‘The Nacirema Society’ were introduced.
It was truly a day and evening filled with celebration of past accomplishments and hope for a promising future.