Amidst a sea of black gowns that will fill the Georgia International Convention Center during the Spelman College 2015 Commencement ceremony on May 17, attendees will see a large swath of powder blue tassels hanging proudly from the mortar boards of some of this year’s graduates. The tassels symbolize their participation in the Senior Legacy Giving Campaign, an initiative to create awareness within the senior class about the importance of giving back to Spelman.
The first time Kelly Debro Brooks became aware of her parents’ desire for her to attend Spelman, she immediately pushed back. She had no interest in attending the College, and thwarted their attempts to get her to visit the campus. A friend’s invitation changed everything. A then-teenage Kelly was open to the idea of visiting Spelman without a parental chaperone. She enjoyed spending time with her friend, and finally understood why the campus is so special. Read more…
Keecha Harris knew when her daughter, Khadija Jahfiya, was 5 years old that she wanted her child to attend Spelman College. Now, as Khadija prepares to graduate with an economics degree in May, a mother’s dream is being fulfilled.
“I have several friends who attended Spelman. I was familiar and impressed with the brand,” said Dr. Harris, a public health professional whose practice is based in Alabama. “I had to be patient for Spelman to become her choice.”
And Khadija has made the most of her time on campus. She is president of the Spelman College Glee Club, served as an associate in the Social Justice Fellows Program, and has volunteered at Café 458, an initiative of the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency. Also, Khadija’s college experience has motivated her to be more aware of her health. She participates in the Boom Shock ‘n Lock fitness classes as part of the College’s “Wellness Revolution,” a comprehensive program that encourages students to eat better, move more, and sleep well.
Her mother couldn’t be more proud.
“Khadija is more self-assured and conversant on social justice issues,” said Harris. “She grew up with a strong sense of self as a Black woman, and Spelman has expanded that mindset through its interactive mode of inquiry.”
Dr. Harris goes the extra mile in showing her support for the College that has enhanced her daughter’s social, physical and intellectual horizons by serving as the South Central region co-coordinator of Spelman’s Parent and Family Association.
“I became involved with SPFA because I wanted to learn more about how to navigate the College, while giving my daughter the space to transition to adulthood,” Harris said. “The association provides loved ones with information about the opportunities available for our daughters. Spelman is ripe with opportunities that sometimes students do not cue into, and SPFA helps us to know what is going on so we can share with students.”
In addition to volunteering her time, Harris also gives to Spelman via auto-draft to demonstrate her financial commitment to the College and its mission.
“Giving to an academic institution that is strongly aligned with my values is an act of deep admiration and respect to those who are to come and those who paved the way,” she said. “The amount that is donated is not as important as the level of participation; it is debt money cannot repay.”
As she completes her senior year and prepares to leave Spelman, Khadija is following her mother’s path into the health arena with plans to become a urologist. Her mother says she will maintain a connection with the place that helped her child learn and grow.
“I know that the value of [Khadija’s] experience far exceeds what is covered by tuition,” said Dr. Harris. “I plan to donate to the College for as long as I live.”