Atlanta University Center Consortium

AUC Alumna Creates First Lady Portrait for Smithsonian


Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald

In a Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, ceremony, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery museum unveiled its portraits of former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

It is the first time in history the museum commissioned African-American artists to paint a president and his wife. The Washington, D.C.-based museum unveiled the paintings in the ceremony attended by both the president and first lady as well as the two artists, one of which is a Clark Atlanta University graduate and a Spelman College International Artist-in-Residence.

Amy Sherald, who lives in Baltimore, received her bachelor’s in painting from CAU in 1997 and became an artist-in-residence at Spelman’s Portobelo, Panama, Summer Art Colony the same year.

For more on the Obamas portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, see: Obama portraits.

For more on Sherald and her work, visit: about Amy Sherald.



AUC Graduates Launch Education Incubator


Spelman College alumnae Karina Liles and Gayla Robbins and Morehouse alumnus Emmanuel Deas have co-founded Acceler8K12, an educational incubator for entrepreneurs who want to transform K-12 education. On May 9, 2016, the three will host the Atlanta Innovation Inaugural Meetup at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

“Our mission is to empower a community of problem solvers who are passionate about innovating K-12 education,” said Liles, a 2007 Spelman graduate in computer science, who is pursuing a doctorate in computer science and engineering, and has received a master’s both in educational technology and computer science and engineering from the University of South Carolina. “Our educational incubator will build a community of education professionals, entrepreneurs, and innovators to develop products and solutions for education.”

Liles, Robbins and Deas came up with Acceler8K12 after years of wishing for an organization that could help cultivate more education entrepreneurs in the K-12 markets, particularly in Atlanta. According to Liles, they would regularly speak to others who wanted the same opportunity. Finally, they adopted the Nike principle and just did it.

“It’s important to have an ecosystem of education entrepreneurs dedicated to transforming Atlanta’s K-12 schools,”said Robbins, who graduated from Spelman in 2007 with a degree in chemistry and later received a master’s degree in organizational and school leadership from Columbia University. “Having such a community allows for the leveraging of resources, insights, and inspirations that will ultimately increase academic performance and 21st century skills of Atlanta’s K-12 students.”

The Atlanta University Center graduates believe in the power of education, and standby the core values that an education is a pipeline to success. The trio hopes to bridge the entrepreneurial, technological and educational gap by bringing together like minds in meetup sessions.

“The three of us share the vision of an empowered community of problem solvers dedicated to innovate Atlanta’s K-12 schools,” said Deas, who graduated from Morehouse in 2001 with a degree in business management. “All of us have always had a passion for educating and delivering quality education to teach, and through our new venture we will help generations of learners.”

The Atlanta Education Innovation Inaugural Meetup is Monday, May 9, 2016, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. The price to attend is $10 if purchased by May 6 and $15 thereafter. Food and drinks are provided. To reserve your ticket, visit www.the



To assist west Atlanta residents with legal issues, COMMUniversity, a program of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, will host “Know Your Rights! Free Legal Information Forum at CAU Money Smart Week,” Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at the Clark Atlanta University Bishop Cornelius P. Henderson Student Center.

COMMUniversity, which represents a commitment by Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College to reach the community, in partnership with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, attorneys from Atlanta Legal Aid, and members of the Gate City Bar Association, will be on hand to provide free legal tips on expunging a criminal record; obtaining information for children’s rights, such as support payments and Individualized Educational Plans; defending against pushy debt collectors; understanding probates and wills; resolving disputes with difficult landlords; and managing encounters with the police.

Free and open to the public, this forum is one of many programs by COMMUniversity to connect the neighboring community with Atlanta University Center institutions.

For more information on the legal forum and other COMMUniversity events, call 404-523-5148, extension 1525.

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