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Office of the President

Convocation 2007

Spelman Faculty Honored With Presidential Awards, and President Tatum Delivers 'A Choice to Change the World' Convocation Speech to a Captive Audience

During the opening Convocation for the 2007-2008 academic year, President Beverly Daniel Tatum awarded four Spelman professors 2007 Presidential Awards; and one professor the Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award.

Dr. Tarshia Stanley, associate professor of English, and Dr. Tasha Inniss (pictured), assistant professor of mathematics, received the Excellence in Teaching award. Dr. Kimberly Jackson, assistant professor of chemistry, was honored with the Scholarly Achievement award, and Dr. Derrick Hylton, associate professor of physics, received the Distinguished Service award. Nicole Wesley, assistant professor in the department of drama and dance, also received the Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award.

The Presidential Award recognizes and rewards faculty excellence for outstanding contributions in teaching, scholarly achievement and distinguished service. Each recipient was nominated for the awards based on teaching effectiveness; participation in collaborative or independent research and productivity; research grants; and contribution to college service, among various other criteria.

A Choice to Change the World
Opening Convocation Speech by President Beverly Daniel Tatum
August 30, 2007

Page 1 of 8

Good morning! Thank you, Kimberly, for your lovely introduction. I look forward to working with you and all of the SGA leaders in this academic year. Let’s take a moment to thank our musicians this morning – Dr. Joyce Johnson, college organist and professor emerita of music -- and our wonderful Glee Club, under the direction of Dr. Kevin Johnson. I would also like to take this opportunity to publicly congratulate our Dean of the Chapel. This summer Reverend Lisa Diane Rhodes became Reverend DOCTOR Lisa Diane Rhodes, completing her doctor of ministry degree at Union Theological Seminary.

Please join with me in congratulating her!

It is wonderful to see all of you here – I am excited about the coming year and I hope you are too. I want to extend a special welcome to our newest students – our exchange students, new transfer students, new Pauline Drake Scholars, and members of the class of 2011. Welcome to your first opening convocation! And to members of the class of 2008, welcome to your last opening convocation as students at Spelman! And of course, we welcome our sophomores and juniors as well.

I also want to thank our faculty and staff who have joined us this morning. We also have a few special guests – visiting alumnae, family members and friends. We welcome you too! I suspect that some of our special guests are here to help us honor the faculty members we will honor this morning. You will hear more about them later, but let me say now how pleased I am that we will have the opportunity to recognize five fabulous members of our faculty as part of this morning’s program – a very important part of what we will do together here, and we thank their friends and family members for joining us to help celebrate their achievements.

As some of you know, last week I was in Bellagio, Italy to attend a gathering of women’s college presidents, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. It was a wonderful meeting – a gathering of twenty leaders of women’s colleges and universities from around the world. The countries represented included Bangladesh, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Japan, India, Pakistan, Bahrain, the Philippines, Australia, and the United States. We gathered to talk about the unfinished and important agenda of educating women for leadership around the world. We know that so many of the world’s problems impact women disproportionately - for example, health disparities, environmental challenges that prevent access to clean water and air; political and armed conflicts leaving women and children homeless, and HIV/AIDS (the number one killer of young Black women). So many issues impact women and call for the solutions generated by educated women.

At the Bellagio meeting we began to share best practices across regions, and talked about the common and unique challenges we face in our mission to educate women in the liberal arts tradition, a tradition which is explicit in its intention to foster critical thinking and provide students with the tools of problem-solving and analysis – the tools of liberation - the tools most needed in the rapidly changing “flat world” we now live in.

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