For more than a century, Spelman College has been the leading liberal arts institution for African-American women. From its inception in 1881 as a school for black freedwomen in Atlanta, GA to its status as the #1 HBCU in the United States, it has consistently produced graduates that embody the academic excellence and intellectual, creative, ethical, and leadership qualities of its notable alumni.
Type: 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Colors: Columbia Blue and White
Motto: Our Whole School for Christ
Campus housing: Yes
Student population: 2,5360 (as of Fall 2018)
- Campus Events: Homecoming, Miss Spelman, Alumnae March, & Founders Day Convocation
- Greek Organizations: Yes
- Tuskegee College Mascot: Jaguars (formerly)
- Athletic Association: NCAA Division III GSAC (formerly)
- Athletic Programs: None
Atlanta, GA & The Spelman College Campus
Spelman College is located in the heart of Atlanta, GA, next to Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and the Morehouse School of Medicine. Students enjoy many of the events that are offered at HBCUs in the Atlanta University Center Consortium, including football games and co-educational social activities; they can also travel to the State Farm Arena and Centennial Olympic Park for national and international events.
Spelman College History
Spelman College was founded in 1881, when Harriet E. Giles and Sophia B. Packard moved to Atlanta, GA to start a school for black freedwomen. With only 11 students and $100 from the First Baptist Church in Medford, Massachusetts, the first class was held in the basement of Friendship Baptist Church. Over the course of the next three years, the school would grow to a student body of 600 students and 16 faculty members; it also gained the patronage of Northern Baptist tycoon John D. Rockefeller, whose wife, Laura Spelman Rockefeller, and her sister had been avid members of the abolitionist movement. In 1884, the school’s name was changed to Spelman Seminary to honor the Spelman family’s dedication to their cause.
During the 20th Century, the institution evolved from a school for former slaves to a college that was dedicated to the education and advancement of African-American women in all areas of society. From the Civil Rights Movement to the development of prominent figures like Keshia Knight Pulliam, Maxine Smith, and Alice Walker, Spelman College made a name for itself as one of the best women’s colleges in the nation.
Spelman College Tuition & Admissions Process
Due to its national and international reputation as one of the leading all-female liberal arts colleges, Spelman College has earned its place at #1 on the Historically Black College and Universities list and #51 on the National Liberal Arts Colleges list, according to U.S. News & World Report. It’s no wonder that Spelman is one of the most selective women’s colleges in the nation, especially when you consider the fact that it has one of the highest graduation rates of any American HBCUs.
To maintain the quality of its programs, Spelman College tuition is $27,314 per year (as of 2018-2019). Spelman also offers financial aid to 89% of their students, which has made it one of the Best Value Schools in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report.
Spelman College Majors & Academic Programs
Spelman College offers undergraduate degrees in more than thirty majors, including English, biology, documentary filmmaking, and psychology. In addition to the wide range of Spelman College majors, students can participate in the following academic programs: African diaspora and world studies, Asian studies, curatorial studies, food studies, honors programs, health careers, social justice fellows, and G-STEM.
Spelman College Athletics
Spelman College was part of the Great South Athletic Conference (GSAC) from 2003 to 2013, when the school announced that it would discontinue its formal athletics program. Students are encouraged to pursue a healthy lifestyle in their own time and in their home life when they are off campus.
Spelman College Notable Alumni
These women are some of the most well-known Spelman College notable alumni:
- Alice Walker attended Spelman College in the 1960s, and went on to become a bestselling author and activist. Walker’s most popular work, The Color Purple, won the Putlizer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction.
- Keshia Knight Pulliam is an Emmy Award-nominated actress who is best known for her role as Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Pulliam graduated from Spelman College in 2001 with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology.
- Marian Wright Edelman was valedictorian when she graduated from Spelman College in 1960, and three years later, she earned her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. Edelman later gained international acclaim as the founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund; due to her lifelong advocacy for children’s rights and disadvantaged Americans, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000.
Source: Spelman College