Campus Life

Former Atlanta mayor becomes current Spelman professor

The trademark flower on her lapel has been replaced by a pin. The large City Hall office has given way to a smaller one at Spelman College. And the 18-hour work days are down to 12.

But former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin is passionate about what she’s been doing since leaving office three months ago — trying to shape the next generation of women leaders, who’ve surprised her.


Student Receives Life Sentence for Murder of Spelman Student

A 22-year-old man was found guilty Saturday in the September shooting death of a Spelman College student from Kansas City.

A Fulton County jury convicted Devonni “Devo” Benton of murder and two counts of aggravated assault in the shooting death of Spelman sophomore Jasmine Lynn. Benton was given a life sentence plus 25 years for the killing.

After deliberating over two days, the jury also convicted Benton of a weapons possession charge.

Prosecutors said Benton was in a fight outside a Clark Atlanta University dorm and fired at least six shots into a crowd, killing Lynn as she walked near the campus.

Atlanta Police Lt. Keith Meadows told The Kansas City Star in September that a friend walking with Lynn “actually heard the gunshots, actually saw the weapon and told her to get on the ground. Before she was able to get on the ground, she was struck in the chest.”

Campus Life

Colleges Take Action to Boost Minority Grad Rates

Many colleges and universities place a premium on enrolling a racially diverse student body. But at most of these schools, their graduates might not be as varied as the students who entered as freshmen. Only about 40 percent of underrepresented minority students—blacks, Latinos, and American Indians—graduate from college within six years; the same statistic for nonminorities is 60 percent.

Experts say that much of the disparity in graduation rates can be attributed to the different economic backgrounds students bring when they enter college, a criterion in which minorities tend to be disadvantaged. This relationship between economic background and graduation rates is particularly significant for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which generally enroll more students with limited financial resources. The six-year graduation rates at even the top three black colleges as ranked by U.S. News are 78 percent (Spelman College), 69 percent (Howard University), and 61 percent (Morehouse College), according to 2007 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. For comparison, the graduation rate for U.S. News’s top three National Universities are 98 percent (Harvard), 96 percent (Princeton), and 97 percent (Yale). At many HBCUs, the graduation rate hovers in the range of 30 to 40 percent. But many HBCUs are striving to ensure that more students of color earn a degree. “There are many systemic institutional programs and solutions that are beginning to address this,” says Alvin Thornton, interim provost and chief academic officer at Howard University in the District of Columbia.

Campus Life

Fmr. Bennett Pres. urges Aggies to ‘live a good life’

by Joya Wesley
Carolina Peacemaker
Originally posted 12/16/2009

Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole returned to Greensboro as the keynote speaker for the Fall 2009 Commencement of North Carolina A&T State University, and to gratefully accept an honorary degree.
Before proceeding with her address at the Greensboro Coliseum on Monday, she acknowledged that receiving the degree satisfied a long-held desire.
“I always wanted to have the right to say Aggie Pride.”


“In addition to taking this very, very well-earned degree and going out in not the best of times to seek employment, or better yet to go on to more study, I advise you, of course, to try to make a good living. But, I’m going to tell you, even more important is to live a good life.”

She offered four keys to doing the latter:

1. Continue to learn.
“I’m not talking about schooling,” she said, “I’m talking about learning – that incredible, exquisite human experience of remaining open to ideas, learning things that even A&T could not teach you. Asking those questions, figuring out even as you move through your ages, what else you can take on.

2. Be of service.
“I am particularly proud that no one graduates from this university without 50 hours of community service. I think that this university acknowledges the words of Dr. Martin Luther King when he said that ‘life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?’
And this I promise you: In the act of doing for others, watch out. Because there is a boomerang effect.”

3. Speak up and stand up against any form of injustice.
“Today, while legalized Jim Crow no longer exists in our country, we still have such a long way to go to rid America of racism, sexism, heterosexism and all of those systems of inequality. Wherever you hear any expression of bigotry, whenever you witness any act of discrimination, speak up and when necessary take action in the interest of justice and equality.”

4. Acquire or deepen a world of interest in the world of the arts.
“Art will speak to your mind and soul about human conditions and it will do so in moving ways. … Quality art connects with that part in each of us that is inspired by what is creative and what is simply beautiful.”