For nearly 150 years, Spelman College has produced scholars that have instrumentally shaped their respective industries. Now, thanks to a historic donation, the HBCU will continue that tradition. The institution received a $12 million endowment from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation to advance its arts programs.
The gift will develop the Atlanta-based school’s Center for Innovation & the Arts. The facility will serve as a hub for students pursuing paths that intertwine the arts, technology and entrepreneurship. The state-of-the-art building will harbor community spaces, a black box theatre, a gallery that is part of the Spelman Museum of Fine Art and an atrium that connects the school to the greater community. Spelman’s Center for Black Entrepreneurship and Innovation Lab will also live in the building.
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., who serves as president of Spelman, says the donation will help cultivate learning environments that foster creativity.
“The rapid convergence of art, technology, and entrepreneurship with the liberal arts and sciences are beginning to yield new solutions to old challenges,” she said in a statement. “This new facility will be a dynamic learning environment that encourages Spelman students to master their chosen fields and utilize technology-inspired solutions to solve persistent urban problems.”
News about the endowment comes nearly a year after actress and director LaTanya Richardson Jackson and her husband actor and filmmaker Samuel L. Jackson donated $5 million to help renovate Spelman’s performing arts center. The school later announced the center would be named after the Jacksons.
“The love that both LaTanya and Sam continue to exhibit for Spelman since their time on stage decades ago is heartwarming,” shared President Campbell. “Their dedication to their artistry will leave a legacy that will inspire students in the Atlanta University Center for years to come.”