Spelman College will become the first HBCU to grant a bachelor’s degree in documentary filmmaking thanks to a generous donation.
The all-women’s college has been gifted a $1 million endowment from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation to create a new center focused on documentary media studies. The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation supports organizations that advance social justice by empowering world-changing work in investigative journalism, documentary film, and arts & culture.
The new center will be established in the Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., Center for Innovation & the Arts. According to the university, the documentary film program and the motion capture room and corridor will bear the Foundation’s name.
Spelman College president, Helene Gayle expressed her gratitude in an official statement. “We are grateful to the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation for this generous contribution to Spelman College to establish the new Center for Documentary Media Studies, which will help deepen the intersection of the arts, technology, and entrepreneurship for our students,” Gayle said.
“This support creates pathways for our professors and students to develop innovative and groundbreaking work through our liberal arts curriculum.”– Spelman College President Helene Gayle
“Our gift to Spelman comes at a time when hearing new voices in the documentary field is more vital than ever.” Jonathan Logan, president & CEO of the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation added. “The talented women of Spelman College have insights to share and important stories to tell, and documentary film is a powerful way to bring them to light.”
Spelman College also announced that it will name the Documentary Production Lab within the Center for Innovation & the Arts, in honor of Dr. Ayoka Chenzira as a result of this gift.
Dr. Ayoka Chenzira is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and division chair for the Arts at Spelman and the Diana King Endowed Professor in Film and Filmmaking, Television, and Related Media.
“I am grateful to the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, known for its commitment to storytelling from underrepresented communities and advocacy for social justice, for recognizing our program. The generous new gift will allow our students to be the next group of emerging Black women documentary filmmakers to produce their creative and bold ideas for films in a state-of-the-art facility,” said Dr. Chenzira. “It is a surprise and an honor to have a production lab in the Mary Schmidt Campbell Center for Innovation & the Arts bear my name. I am forever grateful to the Foundation and Spelman College.”
Scheduled to open in the fall of 2024, the Center for Innovation & the Arts will serve as “a learning-hub for entrepreneurs and innovators.” The center will be home to Spelman’s arts programs and Innovation Lab, allowing students access to “cross-disciplinary learning opportunities.” The state-of-the-art facility will also house innovative initiatives such as the Arthur M. Blank Innovation Lab, the Center for Black Entrepreneurship, and a Spelman College Museum of Fine Art satellite gallery. The Center is the first new academic facility at Spelman in nearly 25 years.