Spelman College will name its Performing Arts Center after alumna LaTanya Richardson Jackson, who credits the Atlanta school with launching her acclaimed acting career, and her movie star husband, Samuel L. Jackson.
The couple have agreed to contribute an undisclosed amount to the college for the center’s renovation, which is scheduled to be completed between October 2022 and January 2023, Spelman officials said Wednesday. Other contributors include Bank of America, David Rockefeller Jr. and the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. The foundation is named after businesswoman and personal financial advisor Mellody Hobson and her husband, George Lucas, best known for directing the popular “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” movie franchises.
Richardson Jackson, an Atlanta native, first joined Spelman’s summer theatre as a 14-year-old high school student. The Jacksons met in the early 1970s when she enrolled at Spelman and he was a Morehouse College student. They performed alongside each other in campus productions.
“The benevolence of God placed me, Sam and our daughter Zoe inside a miracle which out of great gratitude, we work hard to share. Sam and I are invested in the success of Spelman because Spelman first invested so much in us,” said Richardson Jackson, who served on Spelman’s Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2006.
Richardson Jackson received a Tony Award Best Actress Nomination for her performance as Lena Younger in the 2014 Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.” Her film and television work includes roles in “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “U.S. Marshals,” and “Malcolm X.”
Samuel L. Jackson has been named the highest grossing actor of all time and won numerous awards for his performances.
“Their dedication to their artistry will leave a legacy that will inspire students in the Atlanta University Center for years to come,” Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell said in a statement. “We are grateful for their gift and that of the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, Bank of America and David Rockefeller Jr. to renovate the space where these beloved talents got their start. Pioneers and leaders in producing important stories, LaTanya and Sam’s excellence will forever resonate in the arts center named for them.”