August 17, 2021

Dear Spelman community,

Back in 2014, I received a phone call that would change my life. Spelman College invited me to put my hat in the ring to serve as its 10th president. I had always regarded the college as a national treasure and felt deeply honored even to be considered to lead such a historic institution, committed to educating Black women to become global leaders.

Although I was retired at the time, I decided to take a leap of faith. When the position was offered, I accepted the role because I felt in my heart that I could make a meaningful contribution to this extraordinary place. Since then, it has been the privilege of a lifetime to partner with the community of students, faculty, staff, my senior leadership team, alumnae, parents, trustees and friends of the college to make meaningful advancements in academic excellence and witness one of the most transformative periods in our 140-year history.

Today, we are in a position of strength and well-equipped to continue to advance our mission. That's why after much thought, I made the difficult decision that the end of the 2021-2022 academic year is the right time to re-enter retirement and pass the baton onto the next leader so they can continue to build on our momentum.

Over the last almost six years, we have accomplished so much together. We made significant investments in our academic program, attracted new financial aid for our students, upgraded our technology infrastructure, sought and received support for our stellar faculty, and planned and funded the physical renewal of our campus to provide students with enhanced learning opportunities and the best environment to support their growth. We strengthened our business model with eSpelman, a new enterprise that will deliver online education and certificates to support the upskilling and career exploration of working adult learners and bring new revenue to the school. We continue to be the leading producer of Black women scientists thanks to our new Center for Excellence for Minority Women in STEM and the outstanding suite of faculty-led programs that support our STEM students. We continued to achieve a six-year graduation rate of 75 percent, a rate over 30 percentage points higher than the national average for African Americans. And, together, we navigated an unprecedented global pandemic, taking bold action to keep our Spelman sisters and the entire Spelman campus community safe.

I’m proud that Spelman continues to be ranked by U.S. News and World Report as No. 1 among historically Black colleges and universities, No. 54 among national liberal arts colleges and No. 4 among top performers in social mobility. I’m even more proud that we intend to ensure that every student graduates and every graduate has a productive professional opportunity to pursue.

I have loved every minute of serving as the president of this truly singular institution. I greatly look forward to continuing to serve the Spelman community through this year. I’m certain Spelman’s future is bright because of this special community and each and every one of you.

Thank you for your continued support and the opportunity to serve.

With love and immense gratitude,


Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
President, Spelman College

Office of the President

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