Spelman College has just received one of its largest donations in history! At $12 million, the donation will help Spelman to build a modern new academic building. Get the full story from the Spelman release below.

A $12 million gift from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation will place Spelman College closer to opening the doors of a state-of-the-art academic facility designed to bring creative disciplines, technology, and innovation into close collaboration.

“Spelman College is an exceptional institution,” said Russ Hardin, president of the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation. “We are pleased to support the Center for Innovation & the Arts with a grant that will allow Spelman to fulfill its ambitions in arts, technology and innovation.”  

The Center is designed to become a catalyst for interdisciplinary interaction by clustering together numerous arts departments, now scattered across the campus, to create a vibrant community of innovators, collaborators, artists, musicians, and scientists.  

“The rapid convergence of art, technology, and entrepreneurship with the liberal arts and sciences are beginning to yield new solutions to old challenges,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “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.” 

This is the second largest gift that the College has received in support of the Center. In December 2018, The Center received its largest contribution; a $30 million gift from Ronda Stryker and her husband Bill Johnston. To date the College has raised $81.5 million toward the completion of the building.

“The Center stands to redefine the way the arts are accessed at Spelman and lead to groundbreaking, cross-disciplinary discoveries,” said Trustee Lovette Twyman Russell, C ’83.

“Spelman is one of the greatest assets to Atlanta and I’m happy to know that one of the city’s most influential foundations wants to invest in the success of our students by supporting the new Center for Innovation & the Arts,” said Russell. “The College’s demonstrated strength in STEM, coupled with its extraordinary assets in the arts, position Spelman to become an epicenter for artistic expression and digital innovation.”

The Center will be the home to Spelman’s existing Innovation Lab, the forthcoming Center for Black Entrepreneurship and will include a “ front porch” atrium that will link Spelman to its Westside community. Complete with community-facing spaces such as a second gallery for the Spelman Museum of Fine Art, “The Porch” will also include a dance performance studio, a high-tech digital black box theatre and a small café/retail outlet that faces a public plaza. 

The Center will also include several digital media and gaming labs, and a multi-purpose classroom/event space. On the upper two levels of the building, a double-height atrium is envisioned as a multi-zoned area to enhance learning, teaching, practice, and the exchange of ideas across disciplines.

Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans was a generous philanthropist and accomplished businesswoman. She was the wife of Joseph B. Whitehead, one of the original bottlers of Coca-Cola.  Gifts to Spelman from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation and associated Woodruff and Whitehead Foundations over the last six decades total more than $36 million.