Mary J. Blige honored by Spellman University

October 5, 2010

BLUE, to be held at New York’s historic Plaza Hotel on the evening of Monday, Oct. 4, will bring together an exceptional group of individuals united in support of expanding opportunities for young women to pursue and complete their higher education. Through its tributes of the honorees and its lavish, live auction, the gala will raise scholarship funds to assist Spelman students facing financial hardships.

“We recognize the 2010 awardees for their tremendous contributions toward bettering our communities,” said LaTanya Richardson Jackson, C’71, co-founder of the BLUE Gala. “Their achievements motivate us to pave the way for the next generation to achieve goals that will change the world.”

The 2010 Honorees are:

Mary J. Blige

To many, Mary J. Blige is a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, songwriter, producer and actress. However, she considers her most vital obligation to be giving back to her community. In 2008, Blige and Steve Stoute founded the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now Inc. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to cultivating confidence and skills in women toward reaching their greatest potential. Blige, who has overcome vast obstacles during her personal journey to success, dually serves as a role model and source of inspiration for many young adults – yielding her recognition as the 2009 Breaking Barriers Award recipient.

Rosalind Brewer, C’84

Rosalind Brewer is a vice-chair of the Spelman board of trustees and is executive vice president of Walmart Stores Inc. and president of Walmart’s South business unit, representing nearly 1,200 stores in eight states. She is responsible for establishing the strategic direction of all growth opportunities, including execution of store innovation, people development, acquisitions and real-estate. Through her leadership, Walmart is leveraging its size and global scale to drive greater efficiencies and lower the cost of goods to help accelerate growth. Throughout her career, Brewer has performed as a high-impact strategist with rich experience spanning business unit leadership, global operations, research and development and marketing. She has focused relentlessly on revenue growth and customer satisfaction, and she wields expertise in turn-around and re-engineering assignments.

Kathryn C. Chenault, Esq.

Kathryn C. Chenault, a former practicing attorney, has devoted the past several years to supporting educational institutions, health care institutions and the arts. Mrs. Chenault currently serves on the boards of NYU School of Law, Tufts University board of overseers, The Studio Museum of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Ethical Culture Fieldston School, and Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester. Kathryn Chenault has also had an active role in supporting the Harlem Children’s Zone, a nonprofit community based organization working to enhance the quality of education and life for children and their families. She also currently serves as a member of the international council of the Museum of Modern Art. Mrs. Chenault's tireless commitment to the welfare of young people is often demonstrated through her support of numerous scholarship funds and her development of mentoring programs with diverse educational institutions.

Marian Wright Edelman, C’60

Marian Wright Edelman is the founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund. She has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans her entire professional life. A graduate of Spelman College's Class of 1960 and Yale Law School’s Class of 1963, Edelman was the first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi State Bar and was director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. office in Jackson, Miss.

She has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the nation's highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings: "Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change" and "The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours," to name a few.

About BLUE

BLUE is a black tie gala to benefit Spelman College. The objective of BLUE is simple yet extremely vital: to raise funds to provide scholarships that will enable talented young women to complete their higher education, reach their full potential, and compete at the highest level in a demanding global economy. Blue Champions are an exceptional group of women leaders dedicated to heralding educational excellence and supporting young women in their pursuit of higher education. The founding “Blue Visionaries” of the group are Jerri DeVard (Spelman C’79) and LaTanya Richardson Jackson (Spelman C’71). Blue Champions include Marilyn Booker ( Spelman C’82), Judith I. Byrd, Kathryn C. Chenault, Esq., Sharon Collier, Malaak Compton-Rock, Kim Davis (Spelman C’81), Dawn Hudson, Melanie Kusin, Gwen Adams Norton, Marva Smalls, Sharon Taylor, Pauletta Washington, and Janice Savin Williams.


Spelman College:

Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a prestigious, highly selective, liberal arts college that prepares women to change the world. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this historically black college boasts a 79 percent graduation rate, and outstanding alumnae such as Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; former U.S. Foreign Service Director General Ruth Davis, authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson. More than 83 percent of the full-time faculty members have Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees, and the average faculty to student ratio is 12:1. More than 2,100 students attend Spelman. For more information, visit:

Due to the bad weather, The Queen's plane landed when the ceremony was over. How unfortunate.


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