The ambitious fundraising campaign entitled Spelman Ascends was launched four years ago.
What We Know:
- Spelman President Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell announced they had reached 96% of their $250 million goal, scheduled to end in 2024. The program is aimed to provide resources that help increase financial aid, endow faculty professorships and fund a technology infrastructure transformation. The campaign also looks to install a new building on campus called the Center for Innovation & the Arts. According to Spelman in a press release, the new building will house programs in the arts, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
“We’re about $30 million short on our new building, but we will get there,” stated Dr. Campbell.
- Hundreds of donators have contributed to the campaign, including Spelman alumni, who have made almost $17.5 million in commitments to cover scholarships that honor notable school graduates.
- Spelman was founded in 1881 and, according to U.S News and World Report, has been the number one historically black college or university for the past 14 years. Additionally, Spelman is currently the leading producer of Black women who complete doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.
- Rosalind Brewer is an alumnus of Spelman and is currently the chair of Spelman College Board of Trustees. On March 15th, Brewer is slated to become the CEO of Walgreens and is the only black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Brewer is just one of many alumni who have contributed to the goal Spelman is pushing for. Brewer graduated from Spelman in 1984 and was the CEO and Group President of the Starbucks Corporation until the announcement of her new Walgreens position.
- The main goal of Spelman Ascends is prioritizing innovative and pioneering academic programs. The initiative will support The Center for Black Entrepreneurship in a partnership with fellow HBCU Morehouse College and the Black Economic Alliance. Together, they are committed to building an Institute for the Study of Gender and Sexuality as well as The Atlanta University Center for Art History.
Contributions to Spelman Ascends continue to add up, providing a good public head start to the college’s ambitious goals.
Michael Jordan Donates $1 Million to Morehouse College, Allocated to Enrich the School’s Journalism and Sports Program
Michael Jordan and Nike’s Jordan Brand’s donation will enrich Morehouse College’s Journalism and Sports Program founded by actor and director Spike Lee and late sports columnist Ralph Wiley.
What We Know:
- The contribution comes from Jordan and Jordan Brand’s Black Community Commitment, which grants monetary gifts to associations that preserve Black culture. Previously, the Black Community Commitment assisted the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Ida B. Wells Society.
“We want to help people understand the truth of our past and help tell the stories that will shape our future,” said Jordan about the endowment.
- Morehouse College wrote in a news release that the donation would make scholarships, technology, and educational programming more available to students. Monique Dozier, Morehouse’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement, expressed gratitude for the charity. Dozier declared the funds would ensure “equity, balance, and truth in the way sports stories are framed and the way the Black experience is contextualized within American history.”
- The program, which Morehouse provides as a minor, focuses on the absence of Black leadership in sports journalism and athletics. So far, more than 80 students have added Journalism and Sports to their undergraduate studies.
- Lee and Wiley came up with the idea after discussing the fact that sports journalism lacks minority reporters, despite many athletes being people of color. This motivated the two friends to find a way to fix this disparity. Eventually, officials from Lee’s alma mater entered the discussion, and they added a Journalism and Sports concentration to Morehouse’s curriculum in 2007. After some time, the university upgraded it to a minor.
- Morehouse prepares their pupils with four core courses on reporting, interviewing, ethical fundamentals, online writing, social media, and sports coverage while using photography and videography as storytelling tools. Undergraduates may also partake in internships and register in elective courses that teach them topics such as African-American politics, history, psychology, and economics.
Moreover, Lee has stated that Jordan’s donation will create “a rich legacy of storytellers” to influence the representation of Black people on television and Hollywood. “We’ve got to tell our story,” Lee declared.
The Bodies of 215 Children Discovered at Former Canadian School for Indigenous People
Using ground-penetrating radar, officials were able to identify a mass gravesite with 215 bodies at the former Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia, Canada.
What We Know:
- The Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia, was established by the Roman Catholic Church in 1890 and closed in 1978. Residential schools were a part of a nationwide Canadian initiative to assimilate indigenous children forcibly. Children between the ages of 4 and 15 were taken from their families and prohibited to practice any aspect of native culture.
- The Tk’emlups te Secwépemc people announced the discovery. Chief Rosanne Casimir says some of the victims were as young as three years old. The causes and timing of their deaths are unknown.
- Kamloops was one of the largest Residential Schools in Canada. In total, 150,000 children attended the institution. Former students recall unsanitary conditions and exposure to numerous contagious diseases.
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calculates a minimum of 3,201 residential school deaths. This number is uncertain because of unaccounted deaths and destroyed files. In the case of Kamloops, a local museum archivist is working with the Royal British Columbia Museum to find a paper trail documenting the victims.
Mass graves at residential schools have long been an urban legend in indigenous communities across Canada. This discovery at Kamloops proves these suspicions to be true. “This is the reality of the genocide that was, and is, inflicted upon us as Indigenous peoples by the colonial state. Today we honor the lives of those children and hold prayers that they, and their families, may finally be at peace,” said Grand Chief Stewart Philip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.
Colorado Bans Legacy College Admissions
Colorado’s public colleges will no longer contain a legacy section in their applications. It is the first state to enact such a ban.
What We Know:
- Gov. Jared Polis signed this into effect on Tuesday. Alongside this, Polis also removed public colleges’ requirements that a first-year student must submit their SAT or ACT scores as part of their application. The new bill makes sending test results an option.
- Polis passed these bills, so higher education access becomes more equitable. According to the legislation, 67% of middle-to-high-income students and 63% of white ones go straight to university from high school, but only 47% of low-income students and 42% of Latino pupils achieve the same goal.
- Polis stated legacy admissions severely block first-generation college students, people of color, and illegal immigrants from receiving an education.
“Just because your parent or grandparent went to one of our colleges in Colorado, that doesn’t mean that you automatically get in… Because that could take the spot of somebody who is more worthy of that spot,” Polis said.
- Richard Kahlenberg, director of K–12 equity and senior fellow at The Century Foundation, says this ban denies “affirmative action for the rich”.
- Although Colorado became the first state to install these prohibitions, several universities and states already enacted similar measures. For example, Texas A&M University declared in 2004 they would end legacy admissions. Johns Hopkins University also terminated their requirement in 2020.
- In 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed requirements into law that order institutions to disclose if they give preferential admissions to donor or alumni-related applicants. Earlier this month, Washington also declared their public universities would no longer look at test scores when deciding on admitting a student.
With the establishment of these new educational rules, obtaining a college degree will become much easier for students across all walks of life.
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