On Tuesday, November 29, Spelman College President Dr. Helene Gayle was joined by Spike Lee and his wife Tonya Lewis Lee to rename the College’s Admissions Office in honor of Spike Lee’s grandmother Zimmie Reatha Shelton (Class of 1929) and mother Jacquelyn Shelton Lee (Class of 1954).
Spike Lee, well-known film director, producer and actor, and Tonya Lewis Lee, attorney, filmmaker, author and activist, participated in the dedication ceremony with Dr. Gayle, Spelman faculty, students and staff, which took place outside of Packard Hall. The Admissions Office is located inside of Packard Hall, which previously served as the residence hall for Spike’s grandmother and mother.
“Spelman women are known for their ability to influence and change the world,” said Dr. Gayle, M.D., MPH, 11th president of Spelman College. “We are witnessing the influence of two Spelman alumnae and the legacy work of their grandson and son, respectively, Spike Lee. We are proud to lay claim to some of their aspirations and impact on Spike, through their experiences in this very place during their matriculation at Spelman, including their dorm life at Packard Hall.”
Following the dedication ceremony, Spike and Tonya joined President Gayle for her inaugural broadcast of “Courageous Conversations: Black in the C-Suite”. Courageous Conversations, a production of Spelman College, was created to ensure stories of Black women in leadership are highlighted. Today’s conversation focused on the Lee family’s pathways to social and economic mobility, through health, wealth and education equity and the power of an HBCU education.