Spelman College is a private, historically black college for women, based in Atlanta, Georgia. The four-year, liberal arts college is an integral part of the Atlanta University Center, a cluster of six black colleges and universities. It was ranked among the top-75 Best Liberal Arts Colleges by the U.S. News & World Report, in its 2004 edition.
Spelman College was founded on April 11, 1881, when two teachers, Sophia Packers and Harriet Giles, from Boston, Massachusetts, began to teach 11 black women in the basement of Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta. It was then known as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary. In early 1883, the seminary moved to a new home on nine acres at Fort McPherson, a military training site during the Civil War.
Donations from John D. Rockefeller in 1884 assured the school’s growth, and it was renamed Spelman Seminary, in honor of Rockefeller's wife and her parents. In 1886, Rockefeller Hall, consisting of a chapel, offices, and dormitory rooms, was opened.
In 1924, the seminary became Spelman College. Thanks to generous grants from northern philanthropists, the college eventually grew to 32 acres and 26 buildings.
Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the college offers baccalaureate degrees in more than 20 areas of study, including the arts, anthropology, computer science, child development, economics, environmental science, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology.
The Center for Leadership and Civic Management, Marian Wright Edelman Center, Merck Center for Science Excellence, and MacVicar Health Center, are located on the campus. In addition, the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, housed in the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Academic Center, is an inspiring cultural institution. The Women’s Research and Resource Center, and a media complex also are at the academic center.