The Committee on the History of Salem Academy and College, which includes faculty, staff, student, alumnae, and trustee representation, was formed in the spring of 2017 to review College orientation traditions and to make recommendations about possible discoveries resulting from the research commissioned by the administration into the relationship between the institution and slavery.



Michelle Hopkins Lawrence, History Teacher, Salem Academy

Katherine Knapp Watts, Vice President for Enrollment, Financial Aid, and Communications


Krispin Barr, Dean of Students, Salem College,

Jessi Bowman, C’18, chair of orientation traditions committee, Salem College

Wayne Burkette, Trustee, Salem Academy and College

Tina Flowers, Assistant Professor of Accounting, Salem College

Gloria Frost, Librarian, Director of Residential Life, Salem Academy

Lindsay Cunningham Joyner, Alumna, A’96, C’00

Patrice Mitchell, C’89, Trustee, Salem Academy and College

Elizabeth Novicki, Director of Libraries, Salem College

Betsy Overton, History Teacher, Salem Academy

Daniel Prosterman, Associate Professor of History and Race and Ethnicity Studies Coordinator

Amy Rio, Chaplain, Salem Academy and College

Gwynne Stephens Taylor C’72, Member of the Board of Visitors, Salem Academy and College

Mary Lorick Thompson, Interim Head of School, Salem Academy

Rosemary Loftus Wheeler, Executive Assistant to the President, Salem Academy and College

Staff: Shari Dallas, Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Salem College

The Committee met three times during the summer, and several sub-committees were formed and met to address specific topics.


  1. Revise the new student orientation tradition at the College, beginning August 21, 2017, to take place in Salem Square and highlight a broader narrative about Salem’s history.
  2. Update the information presented in the Single Sisters Museum, including clarifications and corrections, as new information is gathered from on-going archival research. Temporary boards are now posted with our best understanding of the historical record. Permanent boards will be installed once the research is complete. An example of the changes: The name of first African American student admitted to Salem in 1785 was Hanna, who was enslaved. This information was confirmed by the research of Dr. Grant McAllister, Associate Professor in the Department of German and Russian at Wake Forest University.
  3. Add language to the Salem yearbook collection of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center. The language recognizes the offensive content of some early 20th century yearbooks. Salem also updated the collection to include all available college yearbooks.
  4. Become a member of Universities Studying Slavery, a multi-institutional organization devoted to addressing historical and contemporary issues of race and inequality in higher education as well as the legacy of slavery in the United States.