Dr. michael spalding
2018 bridge builder
Along with our exceptional immigrant honorees, Siloam also honors one U.S.-born individual each year who has helped our city take great strides in support of immigrants and refugees. These Bridge Builders often stand in the gap, empowering immigrants and native Nashvillians to work alongside one another for the benefit of all.
Dr. Michael Spalding is the founder of Equal Chance for Education.
Born and raised in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Dr. Spalding attended Washington and Lee University and received his MD degree from University of Virginia. He has served as a Lieutenant commander and general surgeon at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for two years, followed by a fellowship at Great Ormand Stree Hospital in London. Upon completion of his urology residency at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Spalding entered into private practice, where he worked for 37 years until this retirement.
Upon retirement, Dr. Spalding founded Equal Chance for Education (ECE), a scholarship program for undocumented immigrants in Nashville, TN, after he saw a family friend denied equitable access to higher education. Founded in 2014, ECE began by supporting two students and has grown exponentially since then. This fall, 200 scholars all over Tennessee will have access to affordable education thanks to the work of ECE. Dr. Spalding has negotiated partnerships with 13 Tennessee universities and colleges and established an intensive mentor program to help student retention remain at 98%. ECE has graduated five students to date on a path to increased opportunity. They include: a CPA working at HCA, an RN at Vanderbilt, a Ph.D. candidate at Vanderbilt, a medical student at Meharry, and one with plans to attend Yale Law School. This year, 13 more students will graduate and begin their careers as educators, engineers, social workers, and many plan to attend graduate programs. The picture to the left is the very first student who benefitted from Dr. Spalding's support through Equal Chance for Education.