Skip To Content
Spelman College Graduates

Division of Business and Financial Affairs

Welcome to the Division of Business and Financial Affairs. Our division has responsibility for the management of functions at the College ranging from finance and accounting to contractual operations at the College bookstore. Specifically, the staff of the Division of Business and Financial Affairs:

  • Manages the College's Operating and Capital Budgets
  • Prepares financial reports for both internal and external constituencies
  • Manages the Compensation Program administration for non-academic employees and training programs for a cross section of the entire campus
  • Manages some aspects of student services, such as:  bookstore sales, and food service contract administration
  • Manages safety and security cooperatively with the Division of Student Affairs
  • Manages acquisition of property and building construction and renovation projects
  • Manages College's public debt issues
  • Manages College's Endowment Funds

Dawn Alston

Dawn Alston Named Spelman CFODawn Alston, who has enjoyed a 20-year career at Spelman College, was appointed chief financial officer and vice president for business and financial affairs, effective September 1, 2019.

In her new role presiding over the Division of Business and Financial Affairs, she succeeds Robert "Danny" Flanigan Jr., who will continue in his role as treasurer and assume the new title of chief investment officer.

“Dawn’s years of service to Spelman have provided her with a unique vantage point that will help ensure the College’s financial health and well-being. Her appointment provides a seamless transition in the leadership of the division,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., Spelman president. “She will be instrumental in assisting the College in reaching its strategic goals, including enhancing operational excellence.”

“Flanigan is a legend in the world of finance. His stewardship of the College’s nearly $400 million endowment has given Spelman the capacity to support stellar students, faculty and staff and assure the excellence and continued growth of Spelman,” Dr. Campbell continued. “His institutional knowledge is invaluable and will continue to advance the goals of the College.”

A native of Washington, D.C., Alston joined Spelman in 1999 as a research technician in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry. During her 17-year tenure in the Division of Business and Financial Affairs, she was responsible for the budgetary oversight of Administrative Support and auxiliary services. In her new role, she will have oversight of Facilities Management and Services, the Office of Human Resources and the Office of the Controller. She will share oversight of Public Safety and Dining Services with the Division of Student Affairs.

Before coming to Spelman, Alston served as a compliance officer at the Department of Defense and was an adjunct biology instructor at Wofford College and Tri-County Technical College.


Robert D. Flanigan Jr.

Pride Points

  • Balancing the budget over the last 40+ years
  • Growing the endowment from $4 million to almost $400 million
  • Construction of new campus buildings and renovations

Danny FlaniganRobert D. Flanigan Jr. served as vice president for Business and Financial Affairs and treasurer of Spelman College, presiding over the Division of Business and Financial Affairs where he managed in excess of $600 million of the College’s assets, from 1994-2019. However, he joined the Spelman team in 1970 as the assistant to the business manager.

As chief financial officer, Flanigan presented financial reports and business plans to the Spelman College Board of Trustees, and participated in financial meetings with external constituents. Flanigan is recognized by his peers nationally, regularly conducts financial seminars and lectures on accounting systems, and makes presentations to numerous professional organizations concerning financial accountability, accounting methods and procedures, cash management, basic investment theory, and financial self-assessment.

In his 49-year tenure at Spelman, Flanigan was instrumental in the development and construction of several buildings on campus. Highlights of these projects include: The Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center, the Albro-Falconer-Manley Science Center (which includes the renovation of Tapley Hall), the renovation of Manley Center, the renovation and addition to MacVicar Hall, and, most recently, Rockefeller Hall.

Flanigan's board memberships have included: the Commonfund, Tuition Plan, the Paideia School, the Children’s School, and the American Academy of Religion. Past board memberships include Leadership Atlanta, the Northwest Georgia Girl Scouts Council, Atlanta Arts Festival, National Association of College and University Business Officers, Georgia Center for Children, and the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers.

His professional affiliations include the American Management Association, College and University Personnel Association, National Association of Accountants, and the National Association of College and University Auxiliary Services. He has consulted with several national colleges and universities, the National Institutes of Health, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the United States Department of Education.

Flanigan, who will continue in his role as treasurer and assume the new title of chief investment officer, holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Clark College and an MBA in finance and management from Emory University. He also attended the London School of Business.