Page 1





WE ARE MOREHOUSE “There is no collection of black men in the country that can rival the depth and breadth of Morehouse Men.” — Harold L. Martin Jr. ’02, Interim President “Morehouse is the nucleus of black male excellence.” — Alexander Harris ’18 brings it all to life.




22 |

24 | 7 | 8 | 10 | 12 |

President’s Message Celebrating 150 Years of Excellence

Students Honor WWII Soldiers in Belgium Secretary of State Lauds Diplomats Program Two Graduates Join Teach for America Chris Tucker’s Son Enters Morehouse

26 | Accounting Students Win Deloitte Innovation Challenge

Debate Team Wins International Title Student Creates Job-Finding App Phi Beta Kappa Recognizes 50th Year Danzler:Freshman has Musical Roots

Morehouse Named One of 10 Most Beautiful Georgia Campuses King Statue Dedicated on Capitol Grounds


14 14 |

16 |

18 |

28 |



30 |

Rudy Horne Leaves Mark on “Hidden Figures” Zatlin Book Wins International Recognition Massey Awarded Harvard Honorary Doctorate “Daughters of the Dust” Film Re-Released Ron Thomas is Award-Winning Teacher, Mentor

32 |

Morehouse Location Popular in Movies, TV

34 |

Morehouse in the Media


36 |


20 |

Scholar-Athlete Hits His Stride Violinist Composes New Future for Himself From Africa to Morehouse College

Basketball Team Will “Run All Out” NBA’s Harold Ellis ’92 Joins Knicks Front Office Rugby Players Scrum Their Way to Popularity


Devoted Professor Tobe Johnson ’54 Retires Barksdale to Write Morehouse History Book Computer Science Chair Kenneth Perry Retires

New Offense, New Attitude for Football Team

Grant Hill Donates $25,000 to Morehouse JPMorgan Chase Grant to Help Females, Minorities Chick-fil-A Gives $100,000 to Taggart Scholarship Fund Research Project Receives $147,000 Grant Morehouse Grant Will Help Curb Youth Incarceration Trustee Dan Cathy Named CEO of the Year Newell Brands Donates $1 Million for STEM Initiatives

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine






Morehouse Family’s 100-Year Legacy



College’s Rich Legacy Includes Producing Political Powerhouses



Maroon Tigers Athletics Have Storied History at Morehouse



Historic Pipeline for Health Professions


 Mercedes-Benz Stadium and New Friendship Baptist Church... and the Morehouse Man Who Built Them

In honor of our 150th anniversary, Morehouse Magazine would like to present you with a special gift. After page 42, you will find a Morehouse College timeline that you can remove, frame, and enjoy.




Stately Graves Hall is Sacred Space On Morehouse Century Campus


66 |

Morehouse 150th Anniversary Class Graduates In “Radically New Era”


68 |

Straight-A Scholars Share Valedictorian Title at Commencement ’17

70 |

Morehouse Chairmen Emeriti Honored for Leadership, Dedication


 Mays’ Lessons of Leadership, Service Led Morehouse Men to Become Presidents Themselves


 Morehouse Men Forge Exemplary Careers as Spiritual, Religious Leaders Themselves Morehouse Men: Legacy of Excellence in Film, TV, and Media





72 | “A Candle in the Dark” Gala Celebrates 150th Legacy and Men Who Embody It



74 |

Honorees Give Advice to Morehouse Students



75 |

Morehouse, GA Tech Partners Design 150th Anniversary Torch



‘Mother Morehouse’ Personified: Watts Helps Keep Traditions Alive Among Thousands of Morehouse Graduates are Morehouse Women Margaret Mitchell was Morehouse Financial Supporter

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence


| Morehouse Makes Historic Pilgrimage to Augusta

Members of an early 1900s Atlanta Baptist College football team pose in uniforms of that era.

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Create your path For the future... Harold L. Martin Jr. ’02 Interim President

Michael Hodge Acting Provost

D. Aileen Dodd Managing Editor for Morehouse Magazine Media and Public Relations Manager Staff Executive Assistant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dieuvalda Lamartiniere Director of Web and Social Media. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kara Walker Special Events & Brand Coordinator. . . . . . . . . Chimere Stanford Social Media Coordinator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Synera Shelton Contributors Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peggy J. Shaw Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Add Seymour Jr. D. Aileen Dodd Shandra Hill Smith Tammy Joyner Margaret Shaw Synera Shelton Delia McIntyre Photographers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Phil McCollum Add Seymour Jr. Elijah Dormeus David Collins J.F. Robins Malaika Aminata Clements Graphic Design. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ibiyomi O. Jegede IJ Creative Designs, Atlanta Morehouse Magazine is published by Morehouse College’s Office of Strategic Communications and the Office of the President. Opinions expressed in Morehouse Magazine are those of the authors and interview subjects, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the College. Letters and Comments: Please send letters and comments to Please provide complete contact information, including an email and cell phone number. Send to: Morehouse Magazine Editor Morehouse College, Office of Strategic Communications 830 Westview Dr., S.W., Atlanta, GA 30314

If you light a candle for someone else, it will also brighten your path. Morehouse College needs you to ignite the path for future generations by becoming a member of The Legacy of Light Society. By simply notifying the College of your estate intentions in writing and submitting the accompanying paper work you will join an esteemed group of Alumni and Friends changing the lives of Morehouse Men for years to come.

Send change of address to: Send alumni news and passages to: Morehouse College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, which includes four schools. Morehouse does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, handicap, or national or ethnic origin in the recruitment and admission of its students, in the administration of its educational policies and programs, or in its staff, as specified by federal laws and regulations.


For more information, please contact: Angela Glover Director, Development Services & Planned Giving Office 470-639-0462 Mobile: 404-431-2113 cell

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence


Greetings, Morehouse Community.

Former trustee Harold L. Martin Jr. ’02 returns to his alma mater to serve as interim president of Morehouse College.

My name is Harold L. Martin Jr., and I am honored to serve as the Interim President of Morehouse College. As a 2002 graduate of Morehouse, it has been a tremendous blessing to return to campus to lead my beloved alma mater. I have worked tirelessly with our senior leadership team, faculty members, and staff to continue Morehouse’s tradition of excellence in this, our 150th year of serving scholars. We are laser-focused and on course to becoming one of the nation’s top liberal arts schools. I believe deeply in our mission to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service. Over the past few months, we have launched aggressive campaigns to grow student enrollment, improve our graduation rate, engage alumni in the life of the College, and honor alums for their success thus far as professionals and community servants. Morehouse alumni

are the foundation of our 150-year legacy. It is important that our scholars, our future students, our stakeholders, and the public know more about the caliber of graduates that Morehouse produces annually. We have graduates who are game-changers worthy of praise in every sector. The National Science Foundation, for example, recently ranked Morehouse as the No. 1 producer of black men who go on to receive doctorates. The foundation also ranked Morehouse as the No. 1 producer of black men who receive doctorates in education, life and physical sciences, math and computer sciences, psychology and social sciences, as well as humanities and the arts. I am similarly proud of the excellence that is not captured in statistics—the countless fathers, brothers, sons, mentors, and professionals who serve as role models every day. Our tradition of excellence is rooted in our rich history as a school where young black men develop as leaders capable of

transforming the lives of others and, in turn, transforming communities and generations. We now have more than 16,000 alumni across the world who pursued the light of knowledge at Morehouse. And this year at Morehouse, we are grooming the next generation of Morehouse Men. We are challenging scholars to push themselves academically and intellectually, to seek experiences that strengthen their resolve as young men, and to pursue opportunities to serve their communities. We want them to surpass the goals that they have set for themselves, and to live their dreams after leaving campus. For a Morehouse alumnus who loves the College, being Interim President is a dream come true. It is an honor to play a small part in advancing this wonderful institution. As a former member of the Board of Trustees, I will continue to serve Morehouse College in a manner that is steadfast, honest, and true, wherever my path leads. M

Harold Martin Jr. Interim President, Morehouse College special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


150 Years of Morehouse Excellence College Finds Inspiration in Distinguished History



That’s the unique sense of purpose that this place has always infused: the conviction that this is a training ground, not only for individual success, but for leadership that can change the world.” — FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA


hen the sun’s rays pierced through the clouds for the first time to begin the historic life of what is now Morehouse College, no one knew what could be expected.

Starting a college for black men to become preachers and teachers just a couple of years after the end of the Civil War, in 1867, would be a daunting task. Indeed, those first years as the Augusta Theological Institute in the basement of Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., proved difficult, though far from impossible, as the vision of the Rev. William Jefferson White, the Rev. Richard Coulter (a former slave), and the Rev. Edmund Turney of the National Theological Institute provided for a need—the need for educated, strong, morally-based, black male leadership. Through war, Depression, the painstaking work of the civil rights movement, and other national and international events, what is now Morehouse College grew into a strong, standard-bearing beacon that sent Morehouse Men into the world to lead. Leadership in human and civil rights, as well as politics, has shone through the work of Morehouse Men such as Howard Thurman ’23, Martin Luther King Jr. ’48, Maynard H. Jackson ’56, and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond ’95. Former Maroon Tigers, such as track and field legend Edwin Moses ’78 and 1969 World Series MVP Donn Clendenon ’56,

have excelled in athletics. And the talented actor Samuel L. Jackson ’72 and fearless director Shelton “Spike” Lee ’79 have produced trailblazing work in the arts. Many others have been part of an illustrious list of Morehouse Men who became candles lighting a sometimes-dark world. “That’s the unique sense of purpose that this place has always infused: the conviction that this is a training ground, not only for individual success, but for leadership that can change the world,” said former U.S. President Barack Obama to Morehouse graduates in 2013. That 150-year mission to lead in some way is a charge that each man of Morehouse—and even a few dozen women who attended the College in the 1930s— has taken upon entering the gates of the historic campus. “As the moon rotates around the Earth, and the Earth around the sun, so Morehouse will always provide the epicenter of virtue, truth and justice towards which we gravitate,” said Joshua Packwood ’08 during his valedictory address. “This is our promise, this is our commitment as we continue to serve.” Et Facta Est Lux. M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Morehouse Campus Named

One of the

Most Beautiful

in Georgia by D. AILEEN DODD

The Morehouse College campus is full of knowledge, history… and beauty, too. In February, LendEDU, a marketplace for private student loans, named the campus one of the 10 most beautiful in the state of Georgia. Morehouse ranked number 10 on LendEDU’s list of 30 schools. The website examined more than 115 colleges and universities across the state. They were ranked based on their architecture and grounds, location, and the surrounding environment. Noted in LendEDU’s review of Morehouse’s 61-acre campus is Graves Hall, which was the tallest building in Atlanta when it was built in the 1880s. Also mentioned was Forbes Arena, constructed for the 1996 Olympic Games. Morehouse was one of four Historically Black Colleges and Universities to make the list. View the entire list on LendEDU’s website at




Morehouse was number 10 on LendEDU’s list of 30 schools. Rankings were based on architecture, grounds, location, and the surrounding environment.

MAIN CAMPUS special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Our actions here today symbolize the evolved mindset of our state as we continue to reconcile our history and our hearts.” — GEORGIA GOV. NATHAN DEAL

Statue of

Martin Luther King Jr. ’48

Graces the Grounds of the State Capitol




King now majestically stands on the Georgia State Capitol grounds, where Confederate monuments are plentiful. About a mile from where he attended Morehouse College, the late Martin Luther King Jr. ’48 has now gone where no other African American has: honored as a statue on the Capitol grounds, overlooking a street named after him and across the street from, appropriately, Liberty Plaza. In a ceremony held on Monday, Aug. 28—exactly 54 years from the day that he delivered the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington—hundreds gathered at the Georgia State Capitol to celebrate the unveiling of the King statue. “Our actions here today symbolize the evolved mindset of our state as we continue to reconcile our history and our hearts,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. The ceremony had a big Morehouse presence. King’s Morehouse brother, music professor Timothy Miller ’03, opened the ceremony by singing “Georgia On My Mind,” popularized by the namesake of the building Miller teaches in, Ray Charles. And the invocation was delivered by Lawrence E. Carter Sr., dean of Morehouse’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. Also in attendance was the Rev. Raphael Warnock ’91, pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church that King once led. The confluence of the unveiling on this leaders to bring the project to completion. historic day during a period in which issues A statue of Martin Luther King Jr. ’48 “Today is a shining and joyous and historic of race and discrimination are a heightnow stands at the Georgia State Capitol. day in the history of the state of Georgia,” ened topic, was no accident, said King’s Smyre said. “As a Georgian and a native son, daughter, the Rev. Bernice King. Dr. King inspired our nation and the world with his message and “As many people in the nation are removing and taking down Convision. He was such an inspirational leader.” federate monuments, it’s appropriate today in the state of Georgia, State politicians said the building of the statue and the which was once a Confederate state, that we are unveiling a statute unveiling during the current racial climate should send a positive of a man who represents liberty, justice, freedom, righteousness, message across the country. and equality,” said King. “And in doing so, it is my hope and my “We have the responsibility and the duty to seek equality and prayer that on this day, all across this nation, that conversations will justice,” said Speaker of the House, Rep. David Ralston. “We begin on the appropriate ways to represent this nation in our public are charged by our creator to strive for righteousness… “It is so spaces. fitting that Dr. King’s statue faces the east. This statue will see “This day is no accident,” she stated. “It had to happen on this day, the dawn of every new day in Georgia, and it will stand watch as at this time, with everything that’s happening in this nation because, we continue to strive for the righteousness that each and every once again, Martin Luther King Jr., standing erected, is provided a Georgian deserves.” sense of direction as we deal with the current controversial climate.” The Capitol building in Georgia is listed on the National Register The King statue was a bipartisan effort, with Georgia Gov. of Historic Places. It is the primary office building of the governor Nathan Deal signing legislation in 2015 to erect the first statue and his staff. It also houses the chambers of the Georgia General on the Capitol grounds in two decades. Rep. Calvin Smyre chamAssembly, which meets annually from January to April. M pioned the effort, as he worked with the King family and state

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine



Inside | the | House

My task was primarily to check that the mathematics on the blackboards in the background scenes and in notebooks was consistent with the things that NASA did at the time.”— RUDY HORNE

Professor Rudy Horne Served as Math Consultant on ‘Hidden Figures’ by SYNERA SHELTON Morehouse Associate Professor of Mathematics Rudy Horne didn’t appear on-screen in the acclaimed film “Hidden Figures.” But Horn left an indelible mark on the movie about African American women working as human computers for NASA. As the movie’s math consultant, Horne made sure that all figures used in the script added up. His handwriting covers the chalkboard in a scene in which NASA genius Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson) solves a quadratic equation. And Horne made sure the math used in the movie was historically relevant.


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

“My task was primarily to check that the mathematics on the blackboards in the background scenes and in notebooks was consistent with the things that NASA did at the time,” he said in an interview with KGOU public radio. Horne also helped generate some excitement about math on the set, one of the key things he wanted to accomplish. “I had a student here at Morehouse who came up to me and mentioned that after he had seen the film it really inspired him to want to do mathematics,” Horne said. “If the film helps gets more people involved in math and science and STEM fields, that’s a great thing.” M


President Emeritus Walter E. Massey ’58 Awarded Harvard Honorary Doctorate

Art Book by Professor Linda Zatlin Wins International Recognition “Aubrey Beardsley: A Catalogue Raisonné,“ by Morehouse English Professor Linda Zatlin, was chosen as a finalist for the 2016 George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award presented by the Art Libraries Society of North America. The book received an honorable mention in the prestigious book award contest.

I just wanted to get this book out so that Beardsley’s drawings could be seen in all their glory, and to have in one place everything that was written on a scholarly level about them. ” — LINDA ZATLIN Published by Yale University Press, “Aubrey Beardsley: A Catalogue Raisonné” was also listed on the national “Best of 2016” list by The Hollywood Reporter, and praised as a spectacular work by the The Sunday Times in London. Beardsley was a late 19th-century, English artist who completed more than 1,100 works of art before dying from tuberculosis at 25. “I never expected anything like this,” said Zatlin, about the Wittenborn recognition. “I just wanted to get this book out so that Beardsley’s drawings could be seen in all their glory, and to have in one place everything that was written on a scholarly level about them.” Zatlin has been following Beardsley’s work since she was 9 years old and would “steal his books off my parents’ book shelves to look at the black-and-white drawings and movement of the figures.” This interest prompted her to conduct in-depth research on Beardsley’s life and art. Zatlin’s book features a complete collection of drawings, a detailed record of their creation, and their exhibition history, including 50 sketches never released. A catalogue raisonné is a comprehensive, annotated listing of all the known works of an artist either in a particular medium or all media. M

Former Morehouse College President Walter E. Massey ’58 was one of 10 game-changers to receive honorary doctorates from Harvard University May 25, during the Ivy League institution’s 366th Commencement ceremony. Massey, Morehouse’s ninth President, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. He led the College between 1995–2007 and retired after successfully completing one of the most aggressive capital campaigns in College history. Massey later became the first African American chairman of the board of directors of Bank of America before returning to higher education. He currently serves as chancellor of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Massey’s Harvard “class” of fellow honorees were: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; actors James Earl Jones and Dame Judi Dench; composer John Williams; Somali human rights activist Hawa Abdi Dhiblawe; former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Norman R. Augustine; feminist literary critic and author Sandra M. Gilbert; pioneering theoretical computer scientist Michael Rabin; and Huda Y. Zoghbi, physician, medical researcher, and founding director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, Massey is the second Morehouse President to receive an honorary doctorate from Harvard. The first was awarded nearly 50 years ago to Dr. Benjamin E. Mays during the centennial anniversary of the College and his 27-year tenure retirement as Morehouse’s sixth President. M Former Morehouse President Walter E. Massey ’58 was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard University on May 25.

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine



‘Daughters of the Dust’ Film Restored for New Audiences


In 1991, visiting professor Julie Dash changed the landscape of movies about African Americans, post slavery, with her visually stunning film, “Daughters of the Dust.” The feature-length film, the first directed and produced by an African American woman, was screened at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival, where it earned the Excellence in Cinematography Award. In 2016, the film, which explores the traditions of the Gullah people was restored and re-released to new audiences, and is now on Blu-ray. (Gullah people are descendants of African slaves who worked plantations and later inhabited islands along the South Carolina and Georgia coastlines.)

Julie Dash is a pioneering, legendary director. It’s really important for Morehouse College Cinema, Film & Emerging Media Studies program to have someone with her talent and generosity in wanting to share with students all that she has learned and is still doing in filmmaking. ”

Dash, the former Morehouse Distinguished Professor of Cinema, Television & Emerging Media Studies, made history with her Sundance award-winning film (Best Cinematography), becoming the first African American woman to have a wide theatrical release of a feature film. In 2004, The Library of Congress placed “Daughters of the Dust” in the National Film Registry—the only current such distinction for the film work of an African American woman. Dash returned to Morehouse recently to record an interview about “Daughters of the Dust” with Stephanie Dunn, director of the Morehouse College Cinema, Film & Emerging Media Studies program. Dash spoke about the vision she had for her award-winning film and the challenges she faced during its production in 1989: braving the early winds of Hurricane Hugo, and the sandflies of the Sea Islands while pregnant, and leading a film crew at a time when women, particularly, black women, hadn’t ascended to the director’s chair. “Julie Dash is a pioneering, legendary director,” Dunn said. “It’s really important for Morehouse College Cinema, Film & Emerging Media Studies program to have someone with her talent and generosity in wanting to share with students all that she has learned and is still doing in filmmaking. She was navigating the politics of race and gender and doing things before a lot of opportunities existed particularly for black women in film.” Julie Dash earned her master of fine arts degree in Film & Television production at UCLA, received her B.A. in Film Production from the City College of New York, and was a Producing and Writing Conservatory Fellow at the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film Studies. M

Visually stunning film by former visiting professor Julie Dash earned the 1991 Excellence in Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival.


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence


Journalism and Sports Program Director Hits Career Grand Slam Professor Ron Thomas receives Legacy, Professor of the Year awards Ron Thomas, the creator and director of the Morehouse College Journalism and Sports Program, hit a career grand slam this year. He was presented with a Legacy Award in August at the National Association for Black Journalists Convention in New Orleans for his work as teacher and mentor of budding journalists at Morehouse College and throughout the country. And in May 2017, Thomas was also named as Morehouse’s first Professor of the Year. He was overjoyed to be recognized for doing a job that he loves. “This is my personal Pulitzer,” Thomas said as he gripped the glass Legacy Award before a room of more than 800 people. “Without all of you supporting me, I wouldn’t be here.” Because of Thomas’ passion for writing and his focus on professionalism, many of his students have become successful journalists. He has helped to launch the careers of Morehouse and Spelman College graduates now working at national magazines, newspapers, online publications, and in broadcast newsrooms across the United States. Some of those students include: Mark Anthony Green, associate editor of GQ Magazine and Style Guy columnist; Curtis D. Jackson III, football communications coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons; and Quincy Young, CNN video producer and formerly an associate producer at “The Bleacher Report.” In addition, under Thomas’ advisement, the student publication Maroon Tiger has won numerous awards, including one for general photography in 2016 and a first place for layout and design from the Georgia College Press Association. Thomas uses his connections to help his students land prestigious internships and gives them opportunities to cover national news events. In recent years, Thomas’ student reporters have interviewed celebrities, politicians, and civil rights leaders,

including former Ambassador Andrew Young, and Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington. In the 2016-17 academic year: • Four student reporters joined Thomas in covering the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Three Maroon Tiger reporters covered the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in April. • The “Rising Stars in the Media” Founder’s Week program brought back four former students to talk about their experiences as professional journalists. One of the presenters, Jordan Jones ’14, later was named a Fulbright Scholar. • Isaiah Smalls, a journalism minor, was one of six HBCU students to be named a Rhoden Fellow. This year, he is being mentored and trained by ESPN’s Bill Rhoden, the distinguished sports columnist and author. Smalls also was chosen as a national contributing writer for ESPN’ online publication. • Senior Bundrea Conway received a $1,000 scholarship from the National Newspaper Publishers Association of black newspaper publishers for excelling at videography. • Morehouse senior Ayron Lewallen and Spelman’s Kelsey Jones received $15,000 in scholarships and stipends, along with eight-week internships at black newspapers, as “Discover the Unexpected” fellows sponsored by NNPA and Chevrolet. Thomas’ career as a sports writer was inspired by the writings of Dr. Harry Edwards and Sports Illustrated’s Jack Olsen in the 1960s, which made America acutely aware of racism in sports. Among his body of work in journalism, Thomas is most proud of the stories that he wrote on that topic. In 2011, Thomas won the Excellence in Sports Journalism Lifetime Achievement Award from Northeastern University’s School of Journalism and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society. He specifically

by D. AILEEN DODD was honored for his articles and publications about the racial dimensions of sports. Since 2012, Thomas’ columns have appeared in The New York Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Huffington Post. He has been a guest on several radio and TV programs. He also wrote the book “They Cleared the Lane: the NBA’s Black Pioneers,” which was published in 2002 by University of Nebraska Press. It was the first book written about the process that brought black players into the NBA after team owners secretly banned them from the league’s first four seasons. M

I can’t imagine a week that could make me feel prouder than that one. No one knows the quality of your work better than your peers. So, when they honor you once, much less twice, it gives you a special feeling that can’t be matched.”


Stories by Shandra Hill and Add Seymour

Johnson officially retired in May after nearly 60 years of devotion to teaching generations of Morehouse Men.

Tobe Johnson ’54 Retires With Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award


hen he was only 16 years old, a young man from Alabama traveled to Atlanta to begin taking classes at Morehouse College. He graduated in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, went on to earn his doctorate in government at Columbia University in 1963, and then began his journey to becoming the longest-serving faculty member in Morehouse’s 150-year history. Dr. Tobe Johnson ‘54 is still on campus this fall, teaching Introduction to Public Management. But Johnson, a familiar face and beloved educator at Morehouse College, officially retired in May after nearly 60 years of devotion to teaching generations of Morehouse Men. Johnson, former acting chair and professor in the Department of Political Science, joined the Morehouse College faculty as an instructor in 1964. During his time at Morehouse, Johnson


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

largely shaped the political science department and its curriculum, and served as interim dean of the division of humanities and social sciences. Johnson’s students have included former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson ’79, Atlanta mayoral candidates John Eaves ’84, Ceasar Mitchell ’91, and Michael Sterling ’04, as well as Harvard Law School Prof. Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. ’89, and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard ’72. “Morehouse really is an idea about helping students to become people with a purpose, to seek to do work in a world that’s beyond their own individual needs,” said Johnson. “It means that you ought to try to do something to enrich, to ennoble, and to enhance people in communities outside of yourself. That’s what gives us purpose. “The way Dr. Mays put it: ‘Is the world somewhat better that you came into it?’” M


Kenneth Perry Retires as Chair of Computer Science Department

Retiree Marcellus Barksdale ’65 is completing a 700-page book on two centuries of Morehouse history.

Marcellus Barksdale ’65 Writing Morehouse History Book Since he began teaching at Morehouse College in 1977, Dr. Marcellus C. Barksdale ’65, retired history professor and director of African American Studies, changed the lives of many Morehouse Men who sat in his class, eager to learn more about black culture and themselves. “It’s been a great ride” said Barksdale, 74, known as “Dr. B” to his students. What Barksdale will miss most about teaching, he said, is the bond he created with students, a mentorship enhanced by laughter and a good meal. End-of-semester dinners at Paschal’s Restaurant in Atlanta, for example, were a ritual in his classes for decades. Barksdale considered students to be “the most important thing” to him. His own teaching method, which he dubbed “the Barksdale style” of teaching, is a student-centered style in which students learn by doing, through writing papers, giving oral presentations, working in groups, and having other interactive involvement. “His request for excellence is insatiable, and as a student you become enthused by

the conquest of high expectations that he has set forth,” said Class of 2017 co-valedictorian Douglas A. Bowen. “He has prepared me to tackle future endeavors with quality in mind, and if ever I deviate from that formula I know his voice of reason shall serve as guidance,” Bowen said. Barksdale may have retired from teaching, but he’s not leaving Morehouse entirely behind. Barksdale is completing a 700-page book on two centuries of College history, to be titled “The Cross, The Candle, and The Crown: A Narrative History of Morehouse College, 1867-2017.” After earning a bachelor’s degree in history from Morehouse, Barksdale received a master’s degree from Atlanta University, and doctorate from Duke University. During his career, he taught as a secondary teacher in Gainesville, Ga., as well as a professor at Morehouse, Clark College, Emory University, Atlanta University, the Morehouse School of Medicine, and Tuskegee University. He was named Morehouse’s Vulcan Teacher of the Year in 2010. M

When Dr. Kenneth Perry was head of the computer science department at Clark Atlanta University, he noticed a trend: Morehouse College students always seemed to win the annual Atlanta University Center computer programming competition. “So, I said, ‘Let me try to go over there to Morehouse and see what they’re doing,’” Perry remembered. “That’s how I got to Morehouse.” It turned out to be a good match, with Perry becoming an associate professor and department chair. He retired last spring. In the 11 years that Perry taught at Morehouse, the College’s computer science department produced a valedictorian, a Rhodes Scholar, a salutatorian, and graduates who went on to work for prominent organizations in significant fields. “I think the department is in much better shape than it was when I came, so I feel good about leaving it now,” Perry said. “We have been able to place graduates in Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc., and we’ve had about a dozen students go into doctoral programs. “I think we’ve been able to develop good, well-rounded computer science graduates and some good entrepreneurial graduates,” Perry, a Howard University graduate, received his electrical engineering master’s and doctoral degrees from Stanford University. Before his career at Morehouse, he worked for both Clark Atlanta University and Florida A&M University. M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Inside | the | House SCHOLAR NEWS Stories by D. Aileen Dodd

Decathlete Blake Benyard ’17 ran track, graduated magna cum laude, and won the award for having highest grade point average in the physics department.

Scholar-Athlete Alumnus Hits His Stride at Morehouse When Blake Benyard ’17 was a Morehouse College scholar-athlete, he dashed and hurdled, vaulted and jumped, and pushed himself to reach the end of a race. His endurance was unyielding. But at Commencement, this decathlete finally paused at the finish line. After four years on the run, the physics major from Lorain, Ohio, graduated magna cum laude with an award for having the highest grade point average in the physics department—a 3.8.

A man who takes care of his business, has tunnel vision yet is aware of his surroundings, keeps his head on straight, is competitive by nature, and very competent wherever he goes.” — BLAKE BENYARD ‘17 Benyard was accepted into three doctoral programs and is now attending the University of Wisconsin on a SciMed Graduate Research Fellowship that will help cover the full cost of his Ph.D. “I want to become a clinical medical physicist working in hospitals with cancer patients,” Benyard said. “I would love to be in the midst of the research on a cure for cancer.” Benyard credits his success to Morehouse College and the investment that professors, coaches, and donors made in his future. When he graduated from Lorain High with a perfect 4.0, Benyard had his “heart set” on Morehouse, but his acceptance letter came without financial aid. As the son of a single mother, he knew he needed to make his own way.


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

And so his race began. “I worked with my high school advisor, and we kept calling Morehouse almost every day until we found someone who could help,” Benyard recalled. The dean of admissions at the time told Benyard to write the College to explain his situation. Benyard said his plea helped him land a $23,000-a-year annual scholarship, which brought tears to his mother’s eyes. He then joined the track team as a walk-on and dedicated himself to striving for excellence on the field and in the classroom. Benyard became fluent in Mandarin, for example, and dedicated himself to being a physics major and math minor. He understood, however, that physics was a difficult subject and would require the same dedication that he gave to decathlons. So, on Saturdays, he trained. He went to six-hour tutoring sessions with his physics professor, Dr. John Howard, and a drop-in class of ambitious young scientists. Benyard kept straight A’s throughout his sophomore, junior, and senior years. His chemistry professor also recommended him for a summer research internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. “The work made me more passionate about my major,” he said. “It showed me the kind of research time you have to put in as a scientist.” Benyard has said he is thankful for his experience at Morehouse. It’s where he learned to be a “Morehouse Man,” which he defines this way: “A man who takes care of his business, has tunnel vision yet is aware of his surroundings, keeps his head on straight, is competitive by nature, and very competent wherever he goes.” Now, the alumnus is taking Morehouse teachings with him as he moves toward a new finish line—the journey that ends in a doctorate. M


Violinist Composes New Future After Commencement Corbin Sanders ’17 grew up in one of Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods, where riots locked down prep schools, grocery stores abandoned blocks, and a skinny kid with a violin and no gang affiliation was a walking target. But he escaped it with a music scholarship to Morehouse College. On May 21, Sanders graduated with honors and prepared to begin a professional music career. The youngest of five born to a single mom, Sanders believes that Morehouse College gave him a new life. “I graduated from John Hope College Prep High School,” he said. “It used to be a top-notch school, but by the time I got there it was out of control.” Teachers who saw promise in Sanders encouraged the honor roll student to study hard and get out of Englewood. He took advantage of after-school programs and picked up a special skill from one teacher—learning to play the violin. “I used to be ashamed to walk around

the hood with a violin,” Sanders admitted. Nevertheless, he hauled his violin through the city blocks and avoided eye contact. His teacher said playing violin could be his ticket to college. And Sanders, who had heard about Morehouse as a child, during a Black History Month lesson, applied. He received a full tuition offer and grant from the Department of Music. “It was a dream come true,” he said. At first, Sanders was in shock when he walked onto the Morehouse campus. Black men in suits were walking swiftly to class as if they were execs in training. They greeted him with respect. They didn’t “mean mug” or look through him as if he were invisible. And he didn’t have to fear for his safety. He could just focus on improving himself and his artistry. In the music department, the violinist worked overtime to develop his technique. He got lessons from a true professional in the business, a teacher who also plays with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. And Sanders played with an orchestra, too: the Atlanta University Center Orchestra. With a regimen of intense practice sessions five days a week at the Ray

Charles Performing Arts Center, Sanders learned to play flawlessly. He practiced the classics and challenged himself with contemporary pieces. Today, Sanders mimics masters such as Itzhak Perlman, but he’s also inspired by hip-hop violin artists Tourie and Damien Escobor. Sanders has already begun to record music professionally. Recently, for example, he laid some tracks with Kennard Garrett, a Morehouse adjunct professor and recording industry pro. However, the young musician hasn’t ruled out teaching the violin or taking on contracts. And whatever his future holds, he’s thankful for Morehouse because it’s where he learned to be a Morehouse Man, which he describes as “someone who stands out when he walks in a room, is captivating, carries himself with confidence, has integrity, handles his responsibilities, and represents himself well at all times.” Coming to Morehouse changed the way Sanders sees himself in the world. “To this day, when I tell people my story, I still can’t believe that my violin playing got me here.” M

Alumnus Forging a Path—From Africa to Morehouse College On May 21, Dofan A. Koné ’17 graduated from Morehouse College summa cum laude with a major in accounting—nearly 9,000 miles away from his Ivory Coast home. “I am here because someone gave me an opportunity,” Koné said proudly at Commencement. “I know a million of other guys who are more brilliant, and would have loved to have this chance. I owed it to them to do my very best.” Koné’s choices looked different years ago in his home city of Abidjan. “I was not academic in high school,” he said. That changed after Koné passed a pre-college exam and entered a

leadership academy in South Africa. He struggled at first but made the grades to get into college. Then, a recruiter from Morehouse College, spotted Koné. The young man landed a full scholarship and headed to the United Sates. “I came to Morehouse very academically focused,” Koné said. “But I understood quickly that academics was a small part of the experience. At the end of the day, the goal was to also effect change on society in unprecedented ways.” Koné majored in accounting and finished his required classes early to study abroad in an academic immersion program. He also gained practical experience, working at Barclays in New York City the summer after his freshman year. By his senior year, he’d

been offered a full-time job there as an investment banker. Koné tabled his offer at Barclays— with officials’ approval—to get his license in accounting. He was also accepted into Ohio State University’s master of accounting program. Koné’s senior year, he earned awards for having the highest GPA in the accounting department and for being the top student in the Division of Business Administration and Economics. He knew his Ivory Coast community would expect nothing less. Dofan A. Koné describes being a Morehouse Man this way: “A Morehouse Man is one that deeply loves and cares for his community, and for that mere reason, he serves that community in the most ethical way.” M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Inside | the | House STUDENT NEWS


Men of Morehouse Honor Black WWII Soldiers at Site of Belgian Monument


ight Men of Morehouse traveled to Belgium in May to honor the memory of soldiers known as the “Wereth 11,” the only African American unit to receive a monument in Europe for bravery in battle against the Nazis. The Wereth 11 were part of a World War II segregated unit that provided artillery support during the Battle of the Bulge. In December 1944, when the 11 men became separated from their comrades in the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion, a Belgium family gave them refuge. Nazi fighters later found the black soldiers and killed them. At part of a Nations Builders trip, Morehouse scholars visited the monument to learn more about the Wereth 11 and meet some of their descendants, as well as descendants of those who gave the


Americans safety. At the site, Morehouse students honored the fallen soldiers in a special ceremony. “It was very eye-opening and important for us to get that story out,” said history major Jarod Harper. The Morehouse delegation also served as American ambassadors to young people in a Belgium, where the chief option for fighting oppression and marginalization is joining extremist terrorist organizations. The cultural exchange began when a group of young people from Belgium visited Morehouse during Founder’s Week to learn about Martin Luther King Jr., the American civil and human rights movement, and Morehouse College. M

It was a very eye-opening experience and important for us to get that story out.”

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence



photo credit:

Morehouse scholars traveled to Belgium to learn more about the “Wereth 11,” the only African American unit to receive a monument in Europe for bravery in battle against the Nazis.

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine



Khalil Waddell (left) and Jonathan Carlisle, both members of the Class of 2017, have joined Teach for America, a national corps of leaders who teach in low-income schools and work to increase students’ opportunities in life.

(Left to right) Diplomats-in-Residence James Watson and Vallera Gibson join Julius Coles, executive director of the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership.

U.S. Secretary of State Lauds Morehouse Diplomats Program U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has singled out Morehouse College as one of the institutions doing outstanding work in helping to boost the lagging number of African Americans in the nation’s diplomatic corps. “People of all backgrounds should know that a State Department career is possible,” Tillerson said during a news conference in Washington, D.C., Aug. 18. “We need to work harder to find those individuals. Twenty-five percent of our civil service is African American, but only 9 percent of our foreign service specialists and 5 percent of our foreign service generalists are African American.” Julius Coles ’64, director of Morehouse’s Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership, spent 28 years as a respected member of the foreign service, most notably as a senior official with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Tillerson noted that the Diplomats-In-Residence Program at Morehouse College, as well as at Spelman College, Howard University, and Florida A&M “do an outstanding job ensuring that people understand the opportunities at the State Department.” Coles said that Tillerson’s remarks are very encouraging, and the assignment of two Diplomats-in-Residence at Morehouse and Spelman—James Watson of USAID and foreign service officer Vallera Gibson—sends a clear message to students that a foreign service career is a great option. “It’s very important in the sense that our country needs to show its representation abroad to be representative of the American people and the population,” Coles said. “We are a multicultural society, a multiracial society, and currently the State Department is not very representative of the U.S. population. This has to change. We have to do more to get more of our people into those jobs.” Watson and Gibson give class lectures about their foreign service responsibilities and participate in career fairs, Coles said. M


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

Two Alumni Join Teach for America to Help Low-Income Communities By SHANDRA HILL SMITH Two recent Morehouse graduates—Jonathan Carlisle and Khalil Waddell—have joined Teach for America (TFA), a national corps of leaders who teach in low-income schools and work to increase students’ opportunities in life. Carlisle and Waddell, both from Alabama, are drawn to TFA’s mission to eliminate educational inequity. “I personally think everybody has the ability to be smart,” said Carlisle. “It’s just about the starting point and the conditions and the environment we come from. “For me, creating educational equity is making sure that we can mitigate those factors as much as possible or create a space in the classroom where it’s almost as if those factors don’t exist.” Waddell believes that “ideally everybody should receive the same level of education irrespective of socioeconomic status, where they were born, or other environmental factors they have no control over.” TFA members may work in one of 53 low-income communities around the country. To participate, each corps member must be a U.S. citizen, have a 2.5 GPA, and demonstrate leadership. They commit to an initial two-year requirement, and may continue in education or go on to work in other fields, like law, medicine, and the nonprofit sector. For the 2017 season, the TFA received some 49,000 applications nationwide. Each year, the nonprofit accepts about 14 percent of those who apply. Twenty-one Morehouse students applied this year. Carlisle and Waddell join more than 125 TFA alumni from Morehouse. “Every student at Morehouse made it to The House because someone invested in their potential,” said Audrey Williamson, a Spelman alumnus and TFA’s recruitment manager for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. “It’s inspiring to see Morehouse Men committing to teach in our corps and have that same impact on the next generation.” While Morehouse doesn’t offer a teaching degree, a collaboration with Spelman College enables students to take classes in education, beginning their sophomore year. M


Destin Tucker Begins Hollywood Dream at Morehouse

Hollywood by learning his way around an editing studio at Morehouse’s Cinema, Television, & Emerging Media Studies program (CTEMS). The program is making Morehouse a competitive choice for budding filmmakers who want to study show biz and network with Hollywood producers and directors outside of California and New York. Georgia’s $7-billion film and television industry is third in the nation behind California and New York. Last school year, CTEMS hosted screenings or panels with the directors of four Academy Award-nominated films, including “I Am Not Your Negro,” the 2017 Oscar-winning Best Picture film “Moonlight,” and Best Picture nominee, “Hidden Figures,” which was partially shot at Morehouse. M

Morehouse Interim President Harold L. Martin Jr. (right) speaks with (left to right) Destin Tucker, Azja Pryor and comedian/actor Chris Tucker.

Destin Tucker is planning a career in the family business: film and entertainment. He’s left his home in Southern California and begun his freshman year at Morehouse College, which offers him the best of both worlds—a great education at a college steeped in history and a campus that’s close to his dad. Tucker, the 19-year-old son of comedian and actor Chris Tucker and casting director Azja Pryor, was one of more than 600 new freshmen to move into dorms at Morehouse College in August. And during New Student Orientation, he bid his family farewell at the annual Parents’ Parting Ceremony, the time when families turn over the guidance of their sons to Morehouse College. The handoff officially launches the journey that students must take to become a Morehouse Man. Destin Tucker, a graduate of Oaks Christian School just outside of Los Angeles, says it was totally his idea to choose Morehouse College. “I wanted to come here,” he said emphatically. “I have family here, it’s an all-male school, and it’s historically black. “I’ve never been in this type of environment, so I’m excited to be coming here to learn because I know it will be a top-flight education.”


His father agreed. “I think it was a great decision; it was like Morehouse chose us,” said Chris Tucker. “I’m from Atlanta, and it’s just great for [Destin] to be down here and I’m here. “It’s a great college and has a great history, like my son said,” he added. “Martin Luther King is one of my heroes. Spike Lee is a good friend of mine. So many of my friends’ kids came here and had a great experience. I’m excited about it.” Oscar-winning filmmaker Spike Lee ’79 got his start at Morehouse before going to film school at NYU. Morehouse alumni have followed his path to stardom. After seeing Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” Seith Mann ’95 decided he wanted to be a director. He has since directed episodes of the critically-acclaimed “Grey’s Anatomy,” as well as “The Wire,” “The Walking Dead,” and other series. Tucker isn’t the only celebrity son to attend Morehouse. That list includes former Morehouse football star John David Washington, son of Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington, and Kwame Morris, son of music legend Stevie Wonder. The young Tucker, who wants to become a director, will blaze his trail to

FRESHMAN HAS MUSICAL ROOTS Name: Aquil Dantzler Major: African-American Studies Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa. Future Career Goal: To be a high school teacher. Why I chose Morehouse: “I wanted to be at an institution that was centered on black intellect and excellence. Morehouse is that for me. I also wanted to make my parents proud by being a prime example of what it means to be a successful black man in my own regard.” Parents: Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon, the successful neo soul and R&B duo known internationally as Kindred The Family Soul. What my family thinks: “They are very proud of me and the school I attend.”

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine



Debate Team Wins International Competition Accomplished Morehouse team now ranked fifth in the nation

Accounting Students Win First Deloitte Innovation Challenge

Six Morehouse College students have won the inaugural Deloitte National Audit Innovation Campus Challenge— a cutting-edge case study competition. The students used technology to streamline the audit risk assessment process. Juniors Matthew Manning, Kameron Nobles, and Eric Wells, along with sophomores George Cristaff, Paul Bryant, and Maximilian Sanders, defeated finalists from the University of Southern California, University of Arkansas, the College of William & Mary, the University of Wisconsin, and Pace University in the first-ever competition. The competition was April 5. “Morehouse College’s team defeated much larger institutions’ teams at the regional and national levels,” said Emmanuel Onifade, director of the accounting program at Morehouse, and the team’s coach. “That speaks to the quality of our accounting program, as well as the quality of our students.” The team won a $10,000 first-place prize for developing an application that uses artificial intelligence to identify non-financial data from external sources. The data would contribute to auditors’ ability to identify risks of misstatement in a company’s financial statements and enhance audit quality. “Auditors have to read a lot of articles and look for information on the web,” said Manning, an accounting major. “So, we decided to bring the information to them and put it in a presentable manner so they can make decisions.” The event, hosted by Deloitte and The Deloitte Foundation at Deloitte University, is designed to expose students to the need for bringing tech-savvy skills to the accounting field. M


The Morehouse College Debate Team has won a first-place, international title after defeating Vanderbilt University in the final round at the Lafayette Debates North American Championship in Washington, D.C. The victory, which came with a traveling trophy that dates back 235 years and a study tour in Paris, is a first for Morehouse College. “This is a very big deal,” said Assistant Professor of Communication Kenneth Newby ‘96, who is the debate coach and director of the Morehouse Speech and Debate program. “This was a difficult competition staged in two parts over two days. We had to battle our way through the quarterfinals and the semifinals, which we won unanimously. And in the final round, we faced-off against Vanderbilt and won 3-2.” Newby took a two-man team to the Lafayette Debates in April: Jonathan Carlisle ‘17 and junior Keith Matier. After the duo was selected to present, the entire College team worked together to strengthen Morehouse’s argument for and against the topic: “Should Democracies Prioritize Interculturalism as a

Strategy for Managing Diversity.” “One of our strengths is a deep understanding that black voices matter,” Newby said. “We usually take a novel approach that other teams don’t take and make points that they don’t expect. Adding that diversity of opinion in debate really reinforces how important it is for students to make their voices heard in the world.” “I am extremely proud of the collaborative approach that we took to develop our arguments,” he added. “It truly makes it a victory that everyone can share.” Carlisle emphasized that the win is a victory for HBCUs, as well. “What this victory says to me is that I chose the right school, and the education that I’m receiving is valuable,” Carlisle said. “I believe that I can do anything in the world because of the experiences that I’ve had at Morehouse College.” Morehouse has won seven national and four international titles since 2011 under Newby’s leadership. The Morehouse Debate Team raises funds to attend competitions and has an ongoing need for financial support. Visit: M

(Left to Right) Jonathan Carlisle ’17, Prof. Kenneth A. Newby ’97, and Keith Matier ’18 at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., after winning the Lafayette Debates North American Championship.

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence


Morehouse Student Creates Werk, an App to Help Students Find Jobs Courtlynd “Justice” Mallory struggled to find work after his freshman year at Morehouse, so he created Werk, an intuitive website and app that helps students find and apply for work related to their majors. Unreliable job sites, and the lack of good job search apps pushed Mallory to create the app last year. “I tried to use one of the large job-finding sites and found it confusing,” he explained. “It seemed as if I would create accounts and receive tons of emails every day but I’d still find myself to be unemployed.” Mallory was a chemistry major, though, so creating an app was challenging. He received guidance—including legal and financial advice—from Morehouse professors, put together a development team, and changed his major to business management. Still, he

did a lot of the work, himself, learning computer coding and web development. “I found myself unable to sit by and do nothing,” he said. The finished site — werkapponline. com — has no ads and is targeted to high school and college students who want to apply for jobs and internships from cell phones or laptops, whenever they have free time. And employers can submit job listings. “To create an employer account on our site, a company will pay less per year as they pay per month using the larger, less effective job sites,” Mallory said. Mallory, CEO of Mallory Integration, L.L.C., is now a junior at Morehouse, but already thinking ahead to being an alumnus. “Once I graduate from Morehouse College,” he said, “I plan to return and invest into the ideas of the students.” M

A dinner program following the ceremony featured speaker Michael Lomax ’68, Ph.D., who is president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund. Lomax was a founding member of Phi Beta Kappa at Morehouse, along with Frederic Gordon Ransom ’68, Willie Frank Vann ’68, and Benjamin Frank Ward ’68. Lomax spoke of the importance of letting people know why Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) matter. “They aren’t weak institutions,” he explained. “They’re powerful because they survived.”

HBCUs produce a spirit of audacity in their graduates, he said. “You have to have a strong sense of yourself to be audacious. You have to believe you have the capacity to make a difference.” Lomax added that he believes that Phi Beta Kappa inductees have the audacity to lead, and hoped that the honor society’s key would “open many doors for you.” Morehouse President Benjamin E. Mays was the founding chapter president of the Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Morehouse. M

Phi Beta Kappa Students Inducted In Chapter’s 50th Anniversary Year by SHANDRA HILL SMITH Twenty-two Morehouse Men became members of Phi Beta Kappa last May during the 50th anniversary of the society’s chapter at Morehouse College. The nation’s oldest academic honor society celebrates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. This year’s inductees—many of them first-generation college students—joined the Delta of Georgia chapter during an induction ceremony at the Walter E. Massey Leadership Center. Professor David Morrow ’80, secretary of Delta of Georgia, read the charge to the group, and Tobe Johnson ’54, Delta of Georgia president and retiring professor of political science, congratulated the 2017 members. “You are now lifetime members in the nation’s oldest academic society,” Johnson said.

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Inside | the | House FIELD & COURT NEWS


MAROONTIGERS Excited about 2017 Football Season When the 2016 Morehouse football season ended, Head Coach Rich Freeman said it was time for some changes. The Maroon Tigers had gone 3–7, a far cry from recent glory days when the Morehouse football team was an NCAA playoff team and had even defeated national power Tuskegee. So, the 2017 season has started with a new assistant coach, a new offense, and a different kind of spirit around the football program. Despite the Maroon Tigers being picked to finish in fifth place in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s (SIAC) East Division, and some early season struggles, Freeman said he sees brighter days. “It definitely motivates me because I don’t see fifth-place talent when I look around our locker room,” he said. “And I definitely don’t see fifth-place coaching when I see the experience of our staff, and I don’t see fifth-place scholarship resources as our institution invests in grant-in-aid so we can go out and bring in good players. We don’t have everything we need, but we have what we need to be a lot better than fifth place, and I’m looking forward to that happening.” Last season. the Maroon Tigers finished



We had an exciting spring practice. Not just reinvigorating our offense, but our entire football team. We needed success and a lot better tone. We got that tone back, in a football perspective, during that 15 days of spring practice.”

3–7, largely because of an offense that sputtered despite having lots of talent, a defensive secondary that gave up way too many big plays, and inconsistent play on special teams. All those issues have been addressed during the offseason. Five Maroon Tigers were chosen for the SIAC’s preseason All-Conference team announced in July: linebacker David Smith, tight end Ryan Edwards, and kick returner Ricci Nuckles made the first team, while defensive linemen Antonio Johnson and Voris Bryant were named to the second team. Freeman’s staff recruited a new kicker to help the special teams play, while added emphasis in recruiting and coaching is being put on shoring up the secondary, he

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence


said. That will help what is already one of the SIAC’s top overall defenses. The biggest change has been the hiring of Harry Williams as the team’s new offensive coordinator. Williams, who was at Langston University last season, brings a spread offense that scored nearly 41 points a game and helped Langston lead its conference in scoring last season. Gone is an offense heavy on reads and intricate blocking schemes. Now the Morehouse offense will be one that is more aggressive and will spread the ball all over the field. “With Coach Williams, he’s brought in a bunch of new looks and he kind of reinvented the spread look, and



We have a lot of pride in Morehouse. We know that Morehouse is not the biggest football or athletic school, but with this new offense and the type of defense we have, The Maroon Tigers’ 2017 football season began with a new assistant coach, a new offense, and a different kind of spirit. Five Maroon Tigers were chosen for the SIAC’s preseason All-Conference team: linebacker David Smith, tight end Ryan Edwards, and kick returner Ricci Nuckles made the first team, and defensive linemen Antonio Johnson and Voris Bryant were named to the second team.

we’re looking to make some noise in our conference.” RYAN EDWARDS, TIGHT END

interspersed some power into it,” said quarterback Kivon Taylor. “So, it’s a new look. The conference hasn’t seen this look. Now we have an offense designed around our strengths.” It’s an offensive scheme that’s also brought about more enthusiasm to the entire team, Freeman said. “We had an exciting spring practice,” Freeman said. “Not just reinvigorating our offense, but our entire football team. We needed success and a lot better tone. We got that tone back, in a football perspective, during that 15 days of spring practice.”

Edwards said this is also an important season for the Morehouse seniors who want to show the entire Morehouse community that football at Morehouse is in great shape. “We have a lot of pride in Morehouse,” he said. “We know that Morehouse is not the biggest football or athletic school, but with this new offense and the type of defense we have, we’re looking to make some noise in our conference and looking for different types of people to come to the games. That’s what it’s about—fans and support—so we’re going to give it to them.” M

For more about Morehouse football and the 2017 schedule, go to: special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine



Basketball Team

Goes All Out For 2017-18 by ADD SEYMOUR JR. Morehouse head basketball Coach Grady Brewer ’80 has been walking around Forbes Arena wearing a t-shirt that reads “Run All Out.” It’s the mantra of an experienced, guard-heavy, quick, and fast-scoring Maroon Tigers basketball team that will take the court this season, so expect to hear those words often. “We hang our hats on defense,” Brewer said. “But with what we lack in size, we try to create turnovers by using our quickness and speed. I think we were one of the top teams in the country in turning teams over, so that takes the place of not being a big team—creating turnovers and getting easy points off the turnovers. So that’s what we went to. We kind of went to space, pace and quickness.” It’s a recipe that worked well as the Maroon Tigers won 17 games last season and made the semifinals of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament. They lost to eventual champions, Clark Atlanta, a team they had beaten by 28 points just two weeks before that.

2017-2018 MAROON TIGERS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE NOVEMBER 11/02/17 – University of Alabama-Birmingham, Bartow Arena – 7:00pm 11/10/17 – Rollins College, Orlando, Fla., – 1:00pm 11/11/17 – Florida Institute of Technology, Orlando, Fla., – 2:00pm 11/17/17 – Winston-Salem State University, Raleigh, N.C.,– 5:30pm 11/18/17 – Shaw University, Raleigh, N.C., – 7:30pm 11/21/17 – University of West Georgia, Forbes Arena, – 7:00pm 11/25/17 – Tuskegee University,* Tuskegee, Ala., – 3:00pm 11/27/17 – Miles College,* Birmingham, Ala., – 7:00pm DECEMBER 12/02/17 – Paine College,* Forbes Arena, – 3:00pm 12/09/17 – Lane College,* Jackson, Tenn., – 4:00pm 12/14/17 – University of the Virgin Islands, Forbes Arena, – 7:00pm 12/16/17 – Kentucky State University,* Forbes Arena, – 3:00pm 12/18/17 – Central State University,* Forbes Arena, – 7:00pm





The Maroon Tigers were the SIAC’s second-best in scoring and scoring margin, and first in steals, turnovers and turnover margin. Leading that charge again this year will be All-SIAC guard Tyrius Walker. He was the SIAC’s fourth best scorer with nearly 19 points a game, and was second in steal and assists last season. He is joined in the backcourt with Martravious Little, who scored 13.1 points a game, scoring at least 21 points four times. Forwards Duby Maduegbuna (12 points, six rebounds per game) and Omar Alston (eight points, 7.6 rebounds per game) are also back. They will be joined by junior college transfers James Walker and Tony Evans. Both add rebounding and toughness under the basket, as will Lees-McRae transfer center Keith Heard. “I feel very good about the team because we have so many returning players that played a lot of minutes and gave us a lot of points,” Brewer said. “So, I’m looking for those guys to be better at their positions and we play better as a team.” M


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

JANUARY 01/01/18 – Spring Hill College,* Mobile, Ala., – 7:00pm 01/04/18 – LeMoyne-Owen College,* Forbes Arena, – 7:00pm 01/06/18 – Lane College,* Forbes Arena, – 3:00pm 01/13/18 – Fort Valley State University,* Fort Valley, Ga., – 3:00pm 01/15/18 – Albany State University,* Albany, Ga., – 7:00pm 01/20/18 – Claflin University,* Forbes Arena, – 3:00pm 01/22/18 – Benedict College,* Forbes Arena, – 7:00pm 01/27/18 – Paine College,* Augusta, Ga., – 3:00pm FEBRUARY 02/01/18 – Claflin University,* Orangeburg, S.C., – 7:30pm 02/05/18 – Benedict College,* Columbia, S.C., – 7:30pm 02/08/18 – Clark Atlanta University,* Atlanta, Ga., – 6:00pm 02/13/18 – Livingstone College, Forbes Arena, – 7:00pm 02/17/18 – Albany State University,* Forbes Arena, – 3:00pm 02/19/18 – Fort Valley State University,* Forbes Arena, – 7:00pm 02/22/18 – Clark Atlanta University,* Forbes Arena, – 7:00pm Feb. 27, 2018 thru March 3, 2018 – SIAC Tournament Home games in BOLD All game times are local

*Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Games


Harold Ellis ’92 Joins New York Knicks Front Office Morehouse College’s biggest basketball star has joined the front office of one of the most storied franchises in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Harold Ellis ’92, Morehouse’s leading career scorer who went on to play in the NBA, has been named director of player personnel for the New York Knicks, team officials announced on Aug. 8. “We are adding a host of highly-regarded and respected basketball people to work with the Knicks to fortify the franchise for years to come,” said Knicks General Manager Scott Perry. This isn’t Ellis’ first front office NBA job. He spent the past five years as director of pro scouting for the Orlando Magic, and before that worked as a scout and assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons. Ellis also served as a scout and minor league coordinator with the Atlanta Hawks. A member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, Ellis led Morehouse in scoring during each of his four seasons as a Maroon Tiger from 1988-1992. The team was 90-30 during his career and made the NCAA Division II Final Four in 1990. Ellis’ number, 30, has been retired at Morehouse. Ellis played three years in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets. He also played in the Continental Basketball League, the United States Basketball League, and in Greece. He has also been a successful minor league head coach, winning back-to-back titles in the now-defunct World Basketball League in 2005-2006 where he was named Coach of the Year each season. M

Morehouse Rugby Players Scrum Their Way to Popularity By D. AILEEN DODD

Interest in the Morehouse College Rugby Club is growing as athletes and national supporters rally to help the winning team become more competitive. Launched in 2012, the club now has 50 members ranging from freshmen to alumni, who continue to play with the team. The National Small College Rugby Organization donated sports equipment to the club, maroon-and-white players are now competing in the Atlantic Conference, and coaching the team are Wanita “Scorpio” McCoy (who plays for the semi-pro Atlanta Harlequins) and men’s rugby club veteran Shawn Elms. “We started getting more buzz as a team in 2014 because we had a reputation for being very tough competitors,” said Jeff Bonilla ’17, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehouse. “We were winning a lot.” Those impressive wins have come against teams such as Emory University, Georgia Tech, and the University of North Georgia, as well as men’s rugby clubs across Metro Atlanta.

Bonilla attributed some of the sport’s growing popularity to its long history, gritty, physical challenges, and distinction as a gentleman’s sport. “You can be playing against someone who works for a Fortune 500 company and not even know it until after you shake his hand when the game ends,” he said, adding that there is also a networking aspect to rugby that football lacks. “After every rugby game against a men’s club, we have socials with the other team,” he explained. “You meet the guy you just stiff-armed not too long ago and play pool or darts and mingle. You meet people who are established that can help you in your career.” Bonilla’s rugby connections, for example, landed him an interview for a finance job after graduation. He got the opportunity after rugby players with 21st Century Financial came to Morehouse College to lead a personal finance seminar. Today, Bonelli and other players are hoping that the popular sport will become part of the regular athletic program at Morehouse College. M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Inside | the | House IN THE MEDIA NEWS

In 2016-17, Morehouse welcomed the directors, actors, and film crews of several major Hollywood movies. The College has also hosted a growing share of television show and commercial crews.


StAr is on The Rise Location is Popular Choice for Movies, TV Shows By D. Aileen Dodd



orehouse College reigns high on metro Atlanta’s A-list of popular set locations for television shows and movies. And the show has just begun. The College’s Office of Strategic Communications recently hired a site coordinator for film and television production to keep up with demands for shooting time. The site coordinator, Damon Phillips ’96, gives tours of Morehouse’s mix of historic and modern buildings when film execs come to campus and manages the shoots. Choosing Morehouse led to a national award for film location managers Wes Hagan and Dan Gorman, who scouted Morehouse for the film “Hidden Figures.” The duo won the “Location Managers Guild Award” for best location in a period film. A story in the Los Angeles Times on May 5 noted the award and Morehouse’s rising star in Hollywood: “To the unfamiliar eye, Morehouse seems like many other colleges. But it’s not. Most schools are not used as filming locations for big-budget Hollywood productions. Morehouse, however, has been the setting for two in just a single year: the Oscar-nominated ‘Hidden Figures’ and BET’s ‘The Quad,’ ” wrote reporter Tre’vell Anderson. Movie and television execs pay Morehouse for filming on campus


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

and using College furniture and equipment on their sets. Those funds help to support College operations and student scholarships. The contracts also show that Morehouse promotes the arts and the freedom of expression through the arts. The College joins a growing list of higher education institutions nationwide that rent their facilities to film and television shows. For example, the popular crime drama “How To Get Away With Murder” has filmed scenes at Pennsylvania’s Ursinus College and the University of Southern California. In 2016-17, Morehouse welcomed the directors, actors, and film crews of several major Hollywood movies. The College has also hosted a growing share of television show and commercial crews. Some of those projects have even used professors as consultants and students as interns. Kara Walker, Morehouse’s liaison for film and television, says the 2017-18 project list is growing faster than last year’s production schedule as more films and television shows do business in Georgia. The state’s more than $7-billion film and television industry is third in the nation behind California and New York. And that means Morehouse will be seen more often on the big screen.


“The demand for using Morehouse’s buildings and grounds has increased without advertising, based on the successful productions of high visibility projects like ‘Hidden Figures’ and the ‘The Quad,’” Walker said. “We get calls weekly from location scouts and show producers who want to tour Morehouse or film at our College. “You’ll see Morehouse in several upcoming projects, including a couple of 20th Century Fox films,” Walker added. “We also continue to be the main site location of season two of ‘The Quad.’” M

Projects filmed recently and/or scheduled to be filmed at Morehouse include: “Hidden Figures,” “Shot Clock ATL,” “The Yard” TV pilot, “Google Fiber” commercial, “Step Sisters,” “The Quad,” “MacGyver,” “Manifesto,” Mohawk Group Video, Reebok Web Video and Photo Shoot, Smash Program (Summer Math and Science Honors), NFL Films, “Halt and Catch Fire,” and “The Hate U Give.”

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine



“Life Well Lived: Educator and activist Samuel D. Cook dies at 88” NBC News Sunday Today With Host Willie Geist; June 11, 2017.

College Makes Local, Regional and National News in 2016-2017 The Morehouse College brand continued to grow strong even during times of transition in 2016-17 as the search for a permanent president was launched.

“Harold Martin Jr. Appointed Interim President of Morehouse College” by Fran Daniel, Winston-Salem Journal; Jun 27, 2017.

Alumni made headlines for their career moves, elections, and humanitarianism, including 1995 Morehouse graduate and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), who was elected president of the Congressional Black Caucus on Nov. 30, 2016. Morehouse College was also the topic of more than 150 stories in 2017 that appeared in online publications, newspapers, magazines, broadcast media, and social media. Here are some of those headlines.

“What is the Future For America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities?” NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt (Warren Allen reporting); Feb. 26, 2017.

“These black colleges in Atlanta are some of Hollywood’s best kept filming secrets” by Tre’vell Anderson, Los Angeles Times; May 5, 2017.


“Bill Taggart, 55: Morehouse Officer Succeeded in More Than Business” by Nancy Badertscher, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 14, 2017.

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

“On its 150th Anniversary, Scenes From Morehouse College Through The Years” by James Pelfrey, The Atlanta JournalConstitution; February 2017.


“Beloved Morehouse Professor to Retire After 59 Years” “Second Chances Were Made for Kids Like This Morehouse Senior” by Molly Bloom, The Atlanta JournalConstitution; May 19, 2017.

by Jennifer Bellamy, WXIA 11 Alive; May 19, 2017.

“Van Jones Tells Morehouse College Class of 2017 to Shrink Their Egos” by Yvette Caslin,; May 22, 2017.

“Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and Charles Olgetree at the Morehouse College Legacy of Light event” by Jonathan Soroff, The Improper Bostonian, Sept. 15, 2017.

“Morehouse College Debate Team Wins Major International Title” by D. Aileen Dodd,; April 17, 2017.

“Exclusive: JPMorgan Chase to grant $400K to Morehouse to grow minority, women-owned Atlanta tech companies” by Phil W. Hudson, Atlanta Business Chronicle; Apr 25, 2017.

“Atlanta City Council to Honor Morehouse College on 150th Anniversary” by David Pendered, SaportaReport, Feb. 5 , 2017.

“For a Gwinnett County Elementary School, it’s Not Too Early To Tour A College Campus” by Eric Stirgus, The Atlanta JournalConstitution, May 19, 2017.

“Morehouse interim leader hopes to boost enrollment, graduation rates” by Eric Stirgus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Sept. 8, 2017.

“SMASH Is A Hit On Morehouse College Campus” Staff reports The Atlanta Voice, July 28, 2017.

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Inside | the | House DEVELOPMENT NEWS

Hawks’ Co-Owner Grant Hill Gives $25,000 to Morehouse

Grant Hill, Atlanta Hawks co-owner and vice chair of the board of directors for the sports franchise, has donated $25,000 to Morehouse in honor of the College’s 150th anniversary year of serving scholars. The gift was an honorarium Hill had received for being named the 2017 recipient of the NCAA President Gerald R. Ford Award. The award honors an individual who has provided significant leadership as an advocate for college sports. “The NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award is a tremendous honor, and I am humbled to be in such great company with past honorees, including Coach (John) Wooden, Coach (Pat) Summitt and Billie Jean King,” Hill said in a statement. “Collegiate athletics teaches us to lead by example, and it is my ambition to continue to lead by example for generations to come.” M

JPMorgan Chase Grant Helps Female, Minority Entrepreneurs The Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center (MCEC) has received a $400,000 grant from JP Morgan Chase & Co. to help launch Ascend 2020 Atlanta, a program offering minority and female entrepreneurs a network of support from experts in the fields of business management, marketing, finance, and technology. Morehouse College is partnering with TechSquare Labs, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, and the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech in the effort. “Morehouse is very excited about the potential of this partnership, which allows the College to extend our reach and support to minority entrepreneurs here in Atlanta,” said Dr. Tiffany Rogers Bussey, MCEC director. “These engagements afford us the

opportunity to build upon our leadership in decreasing the income inequality gap in our communities.” Research shows that minority-owned businesses rely significantly more on investments of personal or family wealth than on outside debt or equity. In 2013, only 16 percent of conventional small business loans went to women entrepreneurs and fewer than 2 percent of African American-owned businesses received SBA loans, according to a recent report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “Connecting underrepresented small businesses with the resources and capital they need to grow is not only good for the economic health of the community, but it’s also good business,” said Rey Curva, head of Chase Business Banking in Atlanta. M

Chick-fil-A Foundation Gives $100,000 to William J. Taggart Scholarship Fund In honor of the legacy of late Interim President William J. “Bill” Taggart, the Chick-fil-A Foundation is giving $100,000 to the College’s new William J. Taggart Scholarship Fund. ​ Taggart passed away unexpectedly at his Atlanta home on June 8. “Our friend Bill Taggart was a great supporter of the Chick-fil-A Foundation and a fellow advocate for youth in the Atlanta community,” said Rodney Bullard, vice president of community affairs at Chick-fil-A, Inc., and


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation. “To honor Bill and continue his legacy of giving back, the Chick-fil-A Foundation is proud to make a special gift of $100,000 over the next two years to Morehouse College and The William J. Taggart Scholarship Fund.” Support the fund online at givingtomorehouse or mail a donation to Morehouse College, Office of Institutional Advancement, c/o Gift Accounting, 830 Westview Drive, Atlanta, GA 30314. Checks should be made payable to Morehouse College. Please indicate William J. Taggart Scholarship Fund on the memo line. M


Morehouse Grant Will Help Curb Youth Incarceration

Morehouse College Research Project Receives $147,000 Grant Morehouse College has received a $147,000 grant from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to study connections between cultures of Africa and the diaspora, specfically the Gullah-Geechee community and the Black Cherokee community in the Southeast. The Morehouse College project, The Africana Digital Ethnography Project, was launched in July and is being led by Morehouse College Asst. Prof. Aaron Carter-Ényì, who is working with a team of colleagues and students on the project. The grant is being used to fund travel expenses and stipends for students, among other expenses. The group recently traveled to South Georgia to interview and document the campaign of residents with Native American heritage there who are attempting to establish Georgia’s first federally recognized tribe. The American Council of Learned Societies awards up to $150,000 to projects that advance humanistic scholarship. The program, now in its second year, is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “ACLS Digital Extension Grants enable recipients to broaden the impact of collaborative digital research projects,” said John Paul Christy, director of public programs at ACLS. “The diversity and continued high quality of the applications for these awards are compelling reminders of the power of the digital current in the humanities.” This year’s grantees were chosen from a multidisciplinary field of over 80 applications by a panel of scholars with expertise in digital scholarship. M

A new computer graphing system developed at Morehouse has captured national interest for its ability to supply data to agencies working to curb the incarceration of young men of color. The Morehouse College Computing Research Lab Center was recently awarded a $60,011 grant from the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation to support development of the new technology. “The tool works by creating dynamic graphs and charts based on data collected by juvenile detention centers across the nation,” said Dr. Kinnis

Gosha, assistant professor of computer science and director of the Morehouse Computer Research Center Lab. “Now sites are able to look at years’ worth of data to see what initiatives and reforms are working and which ones are not.” The lab’s revolutionary tool is designed to supply agencies and organizations with faster access to data evaluating the success of their strategies; such data was typically only available in annual reports. The tool uses visualization technology to help the organizations analyze real-time data on the clients of 200 youth facilities nationwide. M

Trustee Dan Cathy Named 2017 CEO of the Year Chick-fil-A Chairman and CEO Dan T. Cathy, a member of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees, was named the Herman J. Russell CEO of the Year by the Atlanta Business League (ABL) during its 39th Annual Chief Executive Officer Appreciation Luncheon Program May 16. The late Bill Taggart, who was ABL’s chairman and served Morehouse as interim president in spring 2017, presented the award to Cathy. The award is the most prestigious recognition a CEO can receive from the Atlanta Business League. It recognizes the true measure of a CEO’s success: commitment and fairness to people, while maximizing shareholder profits. In a speech that earned him a standing ovation, Cathy passionately talked about the importance of saving and revitalizing Atlanta’s Westside. M

Newell Brands Donates $1 Million for STEM Initiatives Morehouse College has received a $1-million donation from Newell Brands Inc. to support the expansion of its innovative science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program. The generous donation is a continuation of Newell Brands’ support of Morehouse College in its 150th anniversary year. “At Newell Brands, we make life better for hundreds of millions of consumers every day, where they live, learn, work, and play,” said Newell Brands CEO Michael Polk. “We are proud to help Morehouse students learn the valuable skills they need to succeed in the future.”

​Morehouse is using the $1-million donation to enhance its STEM offerings, as the College’s profile in STEM education grows nationally. Computer science major Prince Abudu ’16, for example, is now a Rhodes Scholar, pursuing his master’s degree in computer science and his MBA at Oxford University. And recently, a new, nationally recognized computer graphing system was developed at Morehouse to supply data to agencies working to curb the incarceration of young men of color. M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Inside | the | House ALUMNI NEWS

Steven Scott ’79 Named Interim CEO of Upstate Medical University

Bowman joined the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia in 2013. He has published research on a variety of topics, including Parkinson’s disease, depression, and cocaine addiction. He also founded the Center for Biomedical Imaging Statistics at the Rollins School of Public Health at Atlanta’s Emory University. Learn more about Bowman’s honor on Columbia University’s website: https:// our-faculty/fb2403

boxing license for Ali after officials in other cities denied him a license, following the fighter’s refusal to be inducted into the U.S. Army. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College in 1949, a master’s degree in 1951 from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), and a law degree from North Carolina Central University in 1957. ​He continues to practice law.

​ teven Scott ‘79 has S been named interim CEO of Upstate Medical University at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Syracuse. ​ cott has worked in academic medicine S for more than 30 years, most recently as vice-president and CEO of Georgia Regents Medical Center (currently the Augusta University Medical Center in Augusta, Ga.). “I am pleased to have Steven Scott’s leadership during this transition as Upstate Medical University seeks greater integration of our educational, research and clinical missions to strengthen our future,” said Danielle Laraque-Arena, M.D., president of SUNY Upstate Medical University. “His success and experience in academic medicine will serve the university, our patients, and students well.” Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Morehouse College and a master’s degree in public health, health care administration, and management from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.

F. DuBois Bowman ’92 Named Endowed Professor at Columbia University F. DuBois Bowman, a 1992 graduate of Morehouse College, was recently named the Cynthia and Robert CitroneRoslyn and Leslie Goldstein Professor at Columbia University. Bowman is the chair of the Department of Biostatistics at the prestigious Ivy League school.


Fmr. Sen. Leroy Johnson ’49 Receives Lifetime Achievement Award Former Georgia State Sen. Leroy R. Johnson ’49 has been honored by the State Bar of Georgia and the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism with a Justice Robert Benham Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards are given to judges and lawyers in Georgia who have been leaders in community service. Johnson was recognized on Feb. 28. at the State Bar of Georgia in Atlanta. A civil rights lawyer, Johnson opened his law firm, Leroy R. Johnson & Associates, in 1960. He represented many notable civil rights leaders and those involved in historic civil rights demonstrations, including black college students arrested during sit-ins. In 1962, Johnson became the first African American elected to the Georgia General Assembly since the end of Reconstruction. He broke barriers in the State Capitol, leading to the desegregation of many of its areas. In honor of his achievements, the State of Georgia authorized his portrait to be hung in the halls of the Capitol in 1996, making him the first black elected official and the first living person (aside from the governor or lieutenant governor) to receive such recognition. In 1970, Johnson helped bring Muhammad Ali back to the ring. Johnson obtained a

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

Tyrone McGowan Jr. ’10 Named National Field Director for Rainbow PUSH Coalition On March 11, the Rev. Jesse Jackson named Tyrone McGowan Jr. ’10 the National Field Director for Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a multiracial, multi-issue, international organization fighting for social change. In his role, McGowan coordinates the organization’s satellite offices in Atlanta, New York, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley. He also works to expand the coalition’s involvement in churches and community organizations, and develops neighborhood-centered campaigns. “Tyrone is an incredibly able, educated young minister with a multiracial and multicultural vision,” said Jackson in a news release. “He has an acute sense of social justice and a real desire to mobilize our people.”​​​ McGowan received a PUSH Excel Scholarship to help finance his education at Morehouse. He studied political science and government and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 2010 before going on to Yale Divinity School, where he earned a master’s degree, with honors, in philosophy and religious studies.​​​ In 2015, McGowan was named the senior pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Robbins, Ill.


Lamell McMorris ’95 Addresses Grads at Saint Augustine’s University

J​ udge holds a B.S. in computer science from Morehouse, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from Georgia Tech. The CEO and co-founder of Luma has been represented in many national media outlets including ABC World News, CNN, and the Los Angeles Times. In 2016, he was featured in “Black Enterprise” magazine

McMorris is the founder and CEO of Perennial Strategy Group and Perennial Sports and Entertainment. He is also a member of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees. ​ cMorris holds a B.A. in religion and M society from Morehouse College, and a Master of Divinity in social ethics and public policy from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Keith A. Wallace ’08 Writes, Stars In One-Man Play “The Bitter Game”

Kevin Rome ’89 Named President of Fisk University Fisk University’s Board of Trustees has named Morehouse College alumnus Dr. Kevin D. Rome Sr. ’89 as their 16th president. His term began in July. Rome arrived at Fisk with more than 15 years of experience in higher education, including: president of Lincoln University of Missouri; vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management at North Carolina Central; vice president for student services at Morehouse; and roles at Clayton State University and Indiana UniversityPurdue University, Indianapolis. “Fisk was looking for a transformational leader who would be able to shape our future and accelerate our growth as a leader in the liberal arts and STEM disciplines,” said Barbara Bowles, chair of the Fisk University Board of Trustees. “We believe that Dr. Kevin Rome is that person.”

Launches Luma Wi-Fi System

Rome said he was looking forward to working with faculty and staff at Fisk to continue cultivating scholars and leaders.

Technologist, inventor, and philanthropist Paul Judge ’98 has launched Luma, a surround Wi-Fi system that focuses on speed, safety, and security.

“Our nation’s HBCUs are facing an interesting chapter in history and I am certain Fisk will see its story of academic excellence, diversity, and integrity expand over the next 150 years,” Rome said.

Luma is designed to “empower users with visibility and control over their home network’s safety,” Judge has said.

After graduating from Morehouse with a B.A. in English, Rome earned a master’s degree from the University of Georgia

Paul Judge ’98

Rome is just one of many Morehouse Men chosen to lead a college or university. In March, Robert E. Johnson ’82 was named chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

​ e is a 2015 Morehouse College Bennie H Achievement Award Honoree.

Lamell McMorris ’95 addressed graduates at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C., on May 13, and was awarded an honorary doctorate.​​ During his commencement address, McMorris emphasized to graduates that faith would be integral to their success. “We are faith,” he said. “We are living, walking, breathing faith, and when you come to understand that you are the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, then there’s nothing you cannot do.”

and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

Keith A. Wallace ’08 took center stage—and center court—at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles this year in his one-man show, “The Bitter Game.” The play, which has five acts structured as the four quarters and overtime period of a basketball game, explores the experience of being black in America through the relationship between a young man and his mother. ​ allace, who holds an MFA from the W University of California, San Diego, is a playwright, actor, and filmmaker.

Yaegel T. Welch ’01 Joins Everyman Theatre Yaegel T. Welch ’01 has joined Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre Resident Company of actors. “We have long considered Yaegel to be part of the extended Everyman family of artists,” said Founding Artistic Director Vincent M. Lancisi. “Now, we bring him into the fold and welcome Yaegel as our immediate family.” Yaegel has performed at the Everyman Theatre in several productions, including Dot, By the Way, and Meet Vera Stark. During the 2017-18 Season, Yaegel will appear as “Marc” in David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning drama, “M. Butterfly.”

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine



Hakim J. Lucas ’99 Named President of Virginia Union University Alumnus Hakim J. Lucas ’99 has become the latest Morehouse Man to be appointed a college or university president. He was recently named the 13th president of Virginia Union University (VUU).

Lucas, who had been the vice president for Institutional Advancement at BethuneCookman University, was scheduled to begin working at VUU on Sept. 1.

Lucas studied history at Morehouse College, and earned his master’s degree in education at Tufts University and his doctorate in philosophy from Fordham University. He also has a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary.

landscape and a raft of legal challenges. Voter suppression, police misconduct, loss of civil rights, and overall erosion of rules of law have made it necessary for groups such as the NBA to “step up and present solutions,” Thomas said.

Lucas’ experience in higher education made him a top contender for the job as president of VUU, officials said.

As the NBA’s 75th president, Thomas will reignite a commitment to civil rights and social justice, he told NBA members during the group’s annual convention. “An American poet (Lawrence Ferlinghetti) once said, ‘Pity the nation and the people who allow their rights to erode, and their freedoms to be washed away.’ The NBA is the bulwark against that erosion.”

“Throughout the search process, Dr. Lucas impressed the committee with his clear vision for liberal arts education and creating an enhanced student experience,” said W. Franklyn Richardson, chairman of the Virginia Union University Board of Trustees. “He is an energetic and wise leader and we believe that he will serve Virginia Union University well.”

“Virginia Union University has a rich history of academic excellence, and I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this distinguished university,” Lucas said in a statement from VUU. “I look forward to joining the dedicated administrators, faculty, and staff as we continue to make a difference in the academic lives of our students.” Lucas joins a long list of Morehouse College graduates who have become college and university presidents. The latest came in March when former Lincoln University, Missouri, President Kevin Rome ’89 took the top post at Fisk University, and former Becker College President Robert E. Johnson ’82 became Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Harold L. Martin Jr. ’02 was named the interim president at Morehouse College in April. Lucas had led institutional advancement at Bethune-Cookman University since 2012. Under his leadership, unrestricted and restricted giving rose by 30 percent while the university’s endowment increased by 53 percent. He also developed a strategic government relations plan that resulted in millions of dollars in appropriations from the state of Florida. Prior to Bethune-Cookman, Lucas served as director of development at the State University of New York at Old Westbury, and dean of institutional advancement and development at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, N.Y. He also was a tenured lecturer and deputy chair of the philosophy and religion department at Medgar Evers College.


Thomas practices real estate/estate planning, labor and employment, and family law. He also provides counseling and training to clients in personnel, collective bargaining, and business development. He was named to The National Black Lawyers’ list of Top 100 Trial Lawyers, an honor given to a select group of lawyers for their superior skills and qualifications. Before starting The Thomas Law Group in 2003, Thomas was involved in political and governmental affairs. He served as the legislative liaison for Citizen Action, Illinois. Prior to being the NBA’s new president, Thomas served as national vice-president and secretary of the organization.

Juan Thomas ’92 Installed As President of National Bar Association Morehouse College alumnus Juan R. Thomas ’92 is leading the nation’s oldest and largest bar association of mostly African American lawyers and judges. The Chicago attorney was installed as president of The National Bar Association (NBA) in August during the organization’s 92nd convention in Toronto. Thomas succeeds Kevin Judd, a bankruptcy attorney from Washington, D.C. The NBA was founded in 1925 and represents some 60,000 lawyers, judges, law professors, and law students worldwide. Thomas, a nationally acclaimed attorney, is Of Counsel at the Chicago law firm of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. in Chicago. He is also the founder and principal of The Thomas Law Group in Aurora, Ill. Thomas’ tenure comes as the United States faces a changing political

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Morehouse. He received his Juris Doctor and a master’s degree in educational policy studies from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

Joe Carlos III ’04 Joins Morehouse Staff Higher education and marketing consultant Joe Carlos III ’04, who holds a B.A. in political science from Morehouse and an M.B.A. from Kennesaw State University, has returned to Morehouse College as program manager for the Young Alumni Engagement Program. The program’s first initiative, We Are Morehouse, was launched in August with a website designed to profile the accomplishments of Morehouse graduates since 1990, and market the College. For more, visit:

President Benjamin E. Mays greets fans as he attends a Morehouse football game.

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine





Committed to Service, Striving for Excellence by D. AILEEN DODD


old. Brilliant. Distinguished. Determined. The Morehouse Man is the quintessential embodiment of a servant leader who uses his intellect to move mountains of disenfranchisement so that he can build bridges for others to follow his path to prosperity. Education is key to his success. His brothers at Morehouse College are part of his extended family. As the Morehouse College family celebrates 150 years of serving scholars, Morehouse Magazine would like to pay tribute to several leaders along the way who contributed to our rich history. From our humble beginnings in the basement of Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., as Augusta Theological Institute, a place where former slaves were prepared for careers in ministry and teaching, to our rise the world’s only historically black, liberal arts college for men, Morehouse College has groomed generations of men for global leadership. Morehouse has produced four Rhodes Scholars, a number of college presidents, and many other leaders. We are the nation’s top producer of black males who continue their education and receive doctorates. In fact, the National Science Foundation

also ranked Morehouse as the No. 1 producer of black men who receive doctorates in education, life and physical sciences, math and computer sciences, psychology and social sciences, as well as humanities and the arts. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Morehouse as one of the nation’s top five HBCUs. Morehouse maintained that position in recent rankings. Why have we been so successful? We exist in a culture of success. Our faculty, administration, staff, alumni, parents, and scholars expect nothing less. Some 16,000 “Morehouse Men,” now representing more than 40 states and 14 countries, continue to distinguish themselves in the arts, politics, media, government, and education. Former President Benjamin E. Mays challenged Morehouse Men to always aim high: “Whatever you do,” he once said, “strive to do it so well that no man living and no man dead and no man yet born could do it any better.” And throughout its long and unique history, Morehouse Men have done just that. For 150 years, they have been dedicated to service, and committed to striving for excellence. M



morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

GRAVES HALL 150 Years of Excellence


Graves Hall is Sacred Space On Morehouse Century Campus It’s fitting that in front of Morehouse’s most iconic building, Graves Hall, stands a statue of the College’s most revered president: Benjamin Elijah Mays. It’s one of the reasons that Morehouse graduates circle the place where the College’s two most respected symbols—one brick and mortar, and one a strong black man—occupy space on the Century Campus. They are visual representations of what makes Morehouse College a special institution. And when freshmen move into Graves Hall, they quickly learn why they are living in such a sacred space.


Here are

10 THINGS you should know about the history of Graves Hall:

B  uilt in 1889, Graves Hall was the first building on the current campus and once housed dorm rooms, administrative offices, a dining hall, chapel, classrooms, the President’s residence, and more.


The four-story, red-brick building is named after the College’s second President, Samuel T. Graves.


The cupola on top of Graves Hall became part of the College’s logo because of the building’s iconic status.


 raves Hall sits atop the highest G point in Atlanta.


Graves Hall was built on the site of a former Civil War battleground that now overlooks downtown Atlanta.


It was the tallest building in Atlanta when built.


Stories persist that slaves who were pushed to fight for the Confederacy in the Civil War are buried beneath Graves Hall.


The bell in the Graves Hall tower was used to warn students and faculty that hate groups were riding toward the College to cause a disruption. When the bell rang, students would hide in the basement.


G  raves Hall was the dorm of hundreds of Morehouse Men, including Harold Martin Jr. ’02, interim president of Morehouse.

10. The  bell at Graves Hall is now out of use.

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


150 Years of Excellence

Mays’ Lessons of Leadership, Service Led Morehouse Men to Become Presidents Themselves by ADD SEYMOUR JR.


obert Michael Franklin Jr. ’75 had just gotten his Morehouse diploma and was ready to leave campus to start a new life as a Morehouse Man in 1975. But before leaving campus, Franklin had a brief conversation with the most revered of all Morehouse presidents, Benjamin Elijah Mays. Mays caught up to Franklin and his family, looked at the new graduate and said he wanted Franklin to go out, earn his doctorate, and come back to become president of Morehouse College.


JOSEPH T. ROBERT (1871–1884)


SAMUEL T. GRAVES (1885–1890)

GEORGE SALE (1890–1906)

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

JOHN HOPE (1885–1890)

SAMUEL H. ARCHER (1931–1937)

BENJAMIN E. MAYS (1940–1967)

LEGACY IN LEADERSHIP “I heard those words and I thought he was being ingratiating to my parents who were meeting him for the first time. I quietly thought, ‘He’s probably said this to 40 or 50 guys today. That was a nice compliment to offer.’ But at another level, it really did plant a seed in my imagination,” Franklin recalled. “I never thought about what it would be to become a college president, much less at Morehouse where we always had this lofty understanding of what the Morehouse College president represented… it was humbling to me.” It truly did plant a seed as Franklin twice served as a college president, at the Interdenominational Theological Seminary and Morehouse College. Franklin’s story is just one of many stories of how influential Mays’ influence was on their lives, so much so that they followed in his footsteps and became leaders in higher education themselves. During his tenure as president of Morehouse College from 1940 to 1947, Mays steered the College into its period of heightened international renown, financial growth and academic respect. But most importantly, Mays became a larger than life figure who men of Morehouse and Morehouse Men have fierce respect for, even years after his death in 1984. “If you were an African American youngster embarking on manhood, Benjamin Elijah Mays was just exactly what you needed,” said Dr. Louis Sullivan ’54, former president of the Morehouse School of Medicine and secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in his book, “Breaking Ground:

My Life In Medicine.” One thing even more special: the number of Morehouse Men who were so influenced by Mays’ messages of leadership and service, in addition to academic success, that they followed in his footsteps to become college or university presidents themselves These include Walter E. Massey ’58, Samuel Dubois Cook ’48, Leroy Keith ’61, and Dr. David Satcher ’63. The son of former slaves, Mays valued education while at the same time being a champion for civil rights. He was a trusted advisor for Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter, and he visited and spoke with Mahatma Gandhi. Mays also mentored a young Martin Luther King Jr. ’48. And he cared about the futures of his men of Morehouse. “Mays was telling us that we could do it, and he was telling us how to do it,” Sullivan said in his book. “He was bucking us up with the confidence we needed and maybe didn’t have. He was even insisting it was our responsibility to do it. And it was hardly just his words that were conveying this to us. It was the man himself.” Even after Mays’ presidency ended, he was still an important part of the local and national academic landscape. He served as a senior advisor to the president of Michigan State University and was later president of the Atlanta Board of Education. When Mays decided to run for the Atlanta position, it was 1976 and then-student John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 enthusiastically decided to volunteer in Mays’ campaign. Mays won his race and went to a Morehouse dormitory to

thank his supporters, including Wilson who struck up a conversation with Mays. Mays asked Wilson how he liked Morehouse. “And I said, ‘Dr. Mays, I love it but I don’t always like it,’” Wilson recalled in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine. Wilson said Mays looked back at him thoughtfully and said, “I hear you. I want you to finish Morehouse. I want you to get some more education and experience, and I want you to come back and make a difference.” That’s exactly what happened when Wilson became the College’s 11th president in 2013. The Morehouse that Mays built is an incubator for Morehouse Men who have become presidents of colleges and universities. In 2017 alone, three have taken over the top office at higher education institutions: Kevin Rome ’89 at Fisk and previously Lincoln (Mo); Hakim Lucas ’99 at Virginia Union; and Robert E. Johnson ’82 at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Earlier times also saw a number of other Morehouse Men lead institutions, such as: Albert Walter Dent ’26 at Dillard University; James Alexander Boyer ’31 at St. Augustine’s; James A. Colston ’32 at Knoxville College; William Kenneth Payne ’23 of what is now Savannah State University; James Nabrit ’23 and Mordecai Wyatt Johnson ’11, both at Howard University; Samuel M. Nabrit ’25 at Texas Southern University; and William Henry Dennis ’31 at what is now Albany State University. It all points to a legacy of leadership and service—one that Benjamin E. Mays played a significant part in emphasizing to all men of Morehouse. M

Past Interim and Acting Presidents: David Foster Estes (1884-1885), Charles D. Hubert ’09 (1937-1940), Wiley A. Perdue ’57 (1994-1995), Willis B. Sheftall, Jr. ‘64 ( January 2013), William “Bill” Taggart (April 2017), Dr. Michael Hodge ( June 2017), Harold Martin Jr.*

HUGH M. GLOSTER ’31 (1967–1987)

LEROY KEITH JR. ’61 (1987-1994)

WALTER E. MASSEY ’58 (1995–2007)

ROBERT M. FRANKLIN ’75 (2007–2012)

JOHN S. WILSON ’79 (2013–2017)


special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


150 Years of Excellence

(Top Row, left to right): Otis Moss Jr. ’56, Howard Thurman ’23, Calvin Butts ’72. (Second Row): Jonathan Walton ’96, Martin Luther King Jr. ’48, Otis Moss III ’92 (Third Row): Stephen Green ’14, Jamal Bryant ’94, Ernest Brooks ’05 (Bottom Row): M. William Howard ’68, Raphael Warnock ’91, Amos C. Brown ’64.

Morehouse Men Forge Exemplary Careers as Spiritual, Religious Leaders by SHANDRA HILL SMITH


mos Brown ’64 had already been part of the civil rights movement by the time he arrived at Morehouse College at the age of 17. He’d been the leader of the NAACP’s Youth Council in his native Mississippi; he’d been a Freedom Rider, and he’d gone to jail after protesting racial inequality. At Morehouse, however, he did something only eight people have been able to claim—he’d been Martin Luther King Jr.’s student. “Dr. King taught only one class in his lifetime and I was one of the eight students,” said Brown. “I have a copy of his original handwritten notes. The late Julian Bond ’71 was one of the other students… Dr. King was very down to earth. There was not a haughty, arrogant bone in him. Humble man. He was witty, he was a prankster. He was a connector.” King, a member of the class of 1948, wrote Brown’s recommendation letter to Crozer Theological Seminary. Brown has become one of the nation’s most renowned and respected pastors who has been on the forefront of the civil/human rights movement. He is just one of many Morehouse Men—including King, his father, and grandfather—who have forged exemplary careers as spiritual and religious leaders. The names are many. Howard Thurman ’23, Otis Moss Jr. ’56, and his son Otis Moss III ’92, Calvin Butts ’72, Jamal Bryant ’94, Kelly Miller Smith ’42, Raphael Warnock ’91, Charles Fischer ’97, M. William Howard ’68, Thomas Kilgore ’31 are just a few. The Rev. Stephen A. Green ’14 is representative of a newer generation of Morehouse Men of the cloth. He has served as the national director of the NAACP’s College and Youth Division. Green, who led the organization in protesting at the headquarters of the NFL over the Colin Kaepernick situation, is the senior pastor of Heard AME Church in Roselle, N.J.


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

Ernest Brooks ’05 is the president and CEO of the Academy of Preachers and was once assistant dean of Morehouse’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. Moss Jr., who has spent six decades in ministry, including 33 at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, before retiring in 2008, said he couldn’t recall a time that he didn’t have an urge for ministry. He acknowledged that urge at age 17, and since then has been “trying to teach, preach and practice the unconditional love of Jesus Christ—and allowing that commitment to use me in the struggle for justice, human rights, civil rights, and the transformation of a society of injustice through the instrument of nonviolence.” He said Benjamin Mays constantly challenged every Morehouse Man to stand up against injustice and to fight. That continues to be a hallmark of the Morehouse religious preparation. “I am pleased to say it made no difference whether you were preparing for the ministry or you were preparing for law or education or some area of the sciences,” said Moss Jr. “You felt the same moral urgency to stand up for the rest of your life against injustice wherever you found it. “We felt charged, inspired and obligated to become a part of the forces of history to bring about social change. That was the Morehouse experience. It was education for liberation.” While many other institutions adequately prepare their graduates for religion-based careers, Jonathan Walton ’96, the Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University, said there’s something extra that Morehouse Men know. “We have to be willing to tell the truth about whether we come to Morehouse to simply receive a stamp of authority so that we can then go out into the world and become a big-name preacher,” Walton said. “Or are we actually heeding the call of a Benjamin Elijah Mays—that no matter what we do, we do it so well that no person living, no person dead, no person yet to be born can do it better.” M


We felt charged, inspired and obligated to become a part of the forces of history to bring about social change. That was the Morehouse experience. It was education for liberation.” — OTIS MOSS JR. ’56

150 Years of Excellence

Morehouse Men:

Legacy of Excellence in Film, TV, and Media by D. AILEEN DODD


n the set of the hit comedy “Black-ish”, Derek Watkins ’96, an actor, music producer, and television personality, weighs in on lines with the show’s stars and later leads them through new songs at a recording session for the season premiere. On CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360”, Bakari Sellers ’05 rails against President Donald Trump for ranting on Twitter about NFL football players who take a knee during the National Anthem. Sellers says Trump should instead be focusing his attention on the human suffering in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria. On the campus of Morehouse College, Terrance Daye’17 creates the short film “Colored Hospital: A Visual Poem” for a senior project and is nominated for a student Academy Award. His Oscar nod shatters the College record set by filmmaker Shelton “Spike” Lee ’79, who was first nominated for a student Academy Award in graduate school. What do these men have in common? They are accomplished Morehouse Men


who are creating a legacy of excellence in broadcast journalism, film, and television. Their work speaks truth to power and has the capacity to touch many millions of viewers worldwide. Morehouse’s focus on grooming men to become intellectual thought leaders and community servants gives those who choose to pursue careers in the television and film industry a competitive edge. Watkins, better known as hip hop celeb Fonzworth Bentley, found fame on television as the protégé and personal assistant of Sean Puffy Combs on the hit show “Making The Band” and later as television an MTV show host. Now, with his firm F.J. Bentley Productions, Watkins is composing music and creating choreography. He’s co-produced songs for Kanye West, Andre 3000, and worked with Chance the Rapper. The next phase of his career is primetime network television. “I was able to join the producer’s union through my work on ‘Black-ish,’” Watkins said. “The episode is about Juneteenth … It has animation and musical performances. It could be considered for an Emmy.”

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

Watkins says he is being courted for the “Black-ish” spinoff “Grown-ish”, which follows the college adventures of Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) as she moves into an African-American dorm. He’s encouraged by the growing number of Morehouse Men in the entertainment industry that he is meeting along the way. “Folks are really landing and making waves.” The path from Morehouse to box office stardom was paved by the success of pioneer Spike Lee, who gave voice to the black experience of the late 20th century with a series of timeless films that exposed the horrors of police brutality (“Do the Right Thing”) and offered black history lessons on the big screen in hits “Malcolm X” and the documentary “Four Little Girls.” And, like a Morehouse Man, Lee remains true to the big picture. He’s the wry, outspoken thorn in the side of Hollywood moguls when he feels that the talents and contributions of black actors, directors, and other artists of color are being overlooked. Lee received an honorary Oscar on Nov. 14, 2015, at the Governor Awards black-tie banquet for his directorial achievements.


Morehouse Men in front of and behind the camera include (left to right) Shelton “Spike” Lee ’79, political commentator Bakari Sellers ’05, actor/writer Derrick Watkins ’96 (better known as Fonzworth Bentley), director Seith Mann ’95, and student Oscar nominee Terrance Daye ’17.

He gave an unforgettable acceptance speech that criticized the Academy for failing to nominate deserving black actors and directors for Oscars over the years. He also said it was time to shatter the glass ceiling: “It’s easier to be President of the United States as a black person than be head of a studio. Honest.” Lee’s Morehouse brother Samuel L. Jackson ’72, an Oscar-nominated actor saw his star rise after appearing in Lee’s early films. (Lee’s selection of powerhouse Denzel Washington as the leading man also made Hollywood take notice and follow suit.) Jackson is now one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces and most sought-after talents. He can be seen in more than 100 films. Morehouse Men in the entertainment industry also give back to their community by returning home to the campus that groomed their gifts. The launch of Morehouse’s Journalism and Sports Program, for example, was funded by a $1-million donation raised by Spike Lee and a $1-million donation later given by NBA legend Charles Barkley. Hollywood director Seith Mann ’95 returned to Morehouse last spring to premiere upcoming episodes of his new hit ’90s hip-hop drama “The Breaks”, which follows the lives of young artists who dream of becoming rap superstars. The VH1 series uses hip-hop history as a foundation for its storyline. Episodes reflect the music, fashion, culture, and news of the ’90s when some critics dismissed rap music as a passing fad. Hip-hop was the soundtrack to Mann’s formative years. Mann, a writer, director and executive producer, has a master’s degree in film from New York University like his

Morehouse brother Spike Lee. Mann’s first big break in Hollywood came in 2006 when he was given the chance to direct an episode of “The Wire.” From there, he went on to direct top television shows including “The Walking Dead,” “Homeland,” and “Entourage.” His experiences gave him the cache he needed with Hollywood to launch “The Breaks.” Mann says working on “The Breaks” as a director and executive producer allows him to reminisce about an exciting period in time in which artists of meager means became millionaires after sharing their brand of poetry with an audience hungry for a new sound. He added that the time was right for a show like “The Breaks.” “I get to tell a story that I want to see,” he said. Now, he is focusing on a new project — an epic film about Harriet Tubman. Morehouse Men are also making a powerful statement in broadcast news. Bakari Sellers, an attorney and former South Carolina State legislator, is a recurring political analyst on CNN. His Morehouse degree in African American studies keeps him grounded when he faces leftist extremists who challenge the rights of people of color, including political pundits who are black like him. On a recent “Anderson Cooper 360” broadcast, when conservative commentator Paris Dennard referred to NFL players who protest the National Anthem as being “offensive,” Sellers gave Dennard a black history lesson: “Paris’ view is not something that is new to African Americans. In fact, 60 percent of individuals during the 1960s felt like the Montgomery Bus Boycotts and the Freedom Riders were unpopular and that people were doing the wrong thing … When Dr. Martin Luther

King Jr., Ella Baker, and Fannie Lou Hamer decided to start a sit-in movement, do you think that was comfortable and that people were cheering them on? They were not. Protest is messy. Protest is uncomfortable. Protest is supposed to shock the conscious. … I’m glad that it is making people uncomfortable because now we are dealing with the original sin of this country. We are dealing with race.” A new generation of Morehouse Men are following their brothers onto center stage in the news and entertainment industries. And they are well prepared for their time in the spotlight thanks to the lessons taught in Morehouse’s journalism program and the Cinema, Television, & Emerging Media Studies Program (CTEMS). CTEMS was established in 2012 through an implementation grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to provide quality introduction to the intellectual and artistic study of film and television. The program focuses on the craft of impactful storytelling. Its professors include talents in the industry and visiting artists who teach master classes. One of CTEMS’s newest rising stars is Terrance Daye, who was nominated as a finalist for a Student Academy Award. “For a narrative about black men and mental health to be supported at that level is such a high honor,” said Daye, who is in film school at NYU, where Lee and Mann also got their graduate degrees. Daye said Morehouse’s CTEMS gave him the stage that he needed to tell his stories his way. “Ultimately, the sense of self-consciousness on the Morehouse campus really helped me to direct the type of stories that I want to tell and hone my craft as a filmmaker.” M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


150 Years of Excellence

‘Mother Morehouse’ personified

Watts Helps Keep Traditions Alive Morehouse Men worldwide are familiar with the words, “Say your name!” It’s the emotional refrain that Anne Wimbush Watts, the retired associate vice president for Academic Affairs, has ordered newly anointed freshmen at Morehouse to shout to family and friends during the final night of New Student Orientation each August. It’s the night when families are told to leave their sons in the arms of Morehouse College and, in turn, the young men vow to do both them, and the College, well. As iconic as those words have become at Morehouse, they were never found in a booklet. It came as part of the message that Watts drew up in being part of the shaping of what is now a time-honored tradition at Morehouse. Watts, a graduate of Grambling State University where she was her class valedictorian, taught at Morehouse for 42 years before retiring in 2013. But many times since then, she has been asked to come back, mainly by students, to deliver one of her stirring speeches at one of the College’s high ceremonies.



Watts taught at Morehouse for 42 years before retiring in 2013. But many times since then, she has been asked to come back to deliver a stirring speech at one of the College’s high ceremonies.

She has been part of the molding of many of Morehouse’s other traditions and events, including being the voice they heard for many years when they were leaving the College during the Commencement ceremony. The young men who speak eloquently and dramatically during the “A Candle in the Dark” Gala each year? For years, Dr. Watts coached them and helped them with their speeches, speeches which continue in the same memorable style today. “Under President Gloster’s early years, we didn’t have as many rituals and observations and traditions celebrated,” Watts said. “There were a few, but under eighth president, Dr. [Leroy] Keith, I was appointed class dean, so that added things to NSO and the opening of school. And then it was ninth president Dr. Walter E.

Massey who called me one evening and said ‘I’ve asked everybody who is the best person to chair my inauguration committee and guess who they said?’ He said, ‘You.’’ “That allowed me under his leadership to do even more creative things to show Morheouse as she is shown today,” she said. “I have to give credit to Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter, who also brought a lot of ideas and I took them and embellished them.” Carter, dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, scripted the opening of New Student Orientation and asked Watts to deliver a stirring speech to students and families during the Parents Parting Ceremony. He told Watts she should make her portion her own. “What was born was ‘say your name’” Watts said.

In between, Watts has guided, mentored and taught scores of Morehouse Men who affectionately have called her over the years, “Mother Morehouse.” She tells a story about first having been called that maybe a decade ago by students who had taken either a religion or history class and saw the leadership and impact of a woman during ancient civilization. They came to her and said, “That’s Dr. Watts.” It’s something Watts has never taken lightly. “I felt so humbled at that moment thinking that was going to be the end of it,” she said. “And it was just the beginning. I just feel so humbled. I feel so honored and I feel so compelled to do more and more, to be better and better, for the men of Morehouse who want to share part of their name with me.” M

I just feel so humbled. I feel so honored and I feel so compelled to do more and more, to be better and better, for the men of Morehouse who want to share part of their name with me.” special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


150 Years of Excellence

Among Thousands of Morehouse Graduates are 33 Morehouse

Women The late 1920s through the early 1930s were a rough period for schools like Morehouse College. The Great Depression made it tough, nearly impossible, for average Americans to attend college—especially black men looking to attend a private historically black college. Most men had to focus on earning money to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads as U.S. unemployment soared. During that time, Morehouse’s enrollment plummeted until an unlikely source saved the College from an enrollment drought–—women. Among the thousands of Morehouse Men who have graduated from the College, 33 “Morehouse Women” are full graduates of Morehouse College. Most took night courses. The College allowed public school teachers to take extension classes in the evenings, with many going on to earn their degrees from Morehouse. But some pioneering women, including the late educator Mary Cecelia Robinson Spivey, attended classes with the guys during the day. M

Mary Cecelia Robinson Spivey ’33

Everybody was so nice,” she said. “I had no problems.” Spivey was treated the same as her male classmates on campus. A professor once asked the class a question that she could answer and the guys couldn’t. “I said, ‘Oh, I got this,’” Spivey recalled. “[The instructor said] ‘Men, you should be ashamed of yourselves. You let this lady come in here and just run rings around you.’ They couldn’t do anything but look at me and shake their heads.”


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

Lottie Louise Bailey Harris ’33

5 Things to Know About Morehouse Women 1. W  omen have always taken classes at Morehouse. Atlanta University Center students take courses at Morehouse, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University—courses not offered on their own campuses. But between 1929 and 1933, some women were admitted as Morehouse students. 2. Spivey entered Morehouse at 15. 3. S  pivey was the last female admitted to Morehouse and the last Morehouse Woman to graduate with a degree. She went on to have a distinguished career as a teacher and college professor. 4. S  pivey reportedly lost her Morehouse diploma in a theft. She was presented with a replacement diploma during the 2011 Commencement ceremony. 5. Spivey died in 2014 at 99.

WOMEN OF MOREHOUSE Here are the names of some of the 33 female Morehouse graduates (maiden name in italics): Marian Allen Mitchell ’36 Lottie Louise Bailey Harris ’31 Alice Urnestine Bell Lewis ’29 Willie Mae Blayton ’33 Henrietta Serina Branham ’36 Elizabeth Buchanan ’29 Lois M. Burge ’37 Hannah Emma Burney ’25

Ruby Chandler Gray ’32 Rosa Mae Crosby ’33 Rebecca Eloise Dickerson ’29 Florence Mae Harvey ’29 Mabel B. Johnson Dean ’34 Jessie Mae Jones ’30 Ruby Mae Jones ’33 Annie Elizabeth Massey Hubert ’33 Lena Beatrice Maxey ’29 Matherine Ragland ’36

Carrie Badger Pittman ’33 Mary Cecelia Robinson Spivey ’33 Hazel Edith Rucker ’33 Selena B. Tinsley Arnold ’34 Jennie Virginia Thomas Rembert ’33 Helen Maxine Tolliver ’33 Olga Williams Taylor ’33 Ossie Louise Williams ’33

Morehouse College has also celebrated the accomplishments of women by awarding them honorary degrees from the College. Here are some of those honorees.

Ruth J. Simmons

18th president of Brown University and speaker for 122nd Commencement

Cicely Tyson

Oscar-nominated and Emmy Awardwinning actress and speaker for 125th Commencement

Gwen Ifill

Award-winning journalist, moderator of PBS’s “Washington Week,” and speaker at 127th Commencement

Oprah Winfrey Helps ‘Light Up’ The World Through Morehouse Oprah Winfrey had been so moved by Morehouse College and the education of black men after giving the 1989 Commencement address at Morehouse that she asked former President Leroy Keith ’61 if she could bring her purse on stage. She pulled out a pen and her checkbook and wrote a check for $1 million. That act was the start of a relationship in which Winfrey, a media mogul and now contributor to CBS’ “60 Minutes,” has become Morehouse’s largest single donor to date, giving the College $12 million total.

The Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship Program, which has funded the educations of 415 “Sons of Oprah,” went beyond her original hope to help 100 men of Morehouse. And in 2011, on the final “Oprah Winfrey Show,” they paraded on stage and announced plans to contribute their own money toward helping Morehouse students, as she has. Winfrey is also the only woman to ever receive the College’s prestigious Candle Award. Candle Award recipients are recognized for excellence in a variety of fields.

“When you empower a black man, you light up the world,” Winfrey said about contributing to Morehouse and receiving the prestigious award. “When you empower a black man, you empower families. You empower his wife. You empower sons. You empower daughters… You light up the world.” M

Oprah Winfrey is Morehouse’s largest single donor, and the only woman to ever receive the College’s Candle Award for leadership and service to society. She accepted the award during a trip to campus in 2004.

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


150 Years of Excellence

Margaret Mitchell

Celebrated Author Was Morehouse Financial Supporter by PEGGY J. SHAW


argaret Mitchell, the granddaughter of a Confederate soldier and famed author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Gone With The Wind,” was an avid financial supporter of Morehouse College who contributed thousands of dollars to support student scholarships during her lifetime. And at least $1.5 million was donated to the College from her estate, passed down through her brother and then her nephews, after her death. Morehouse alumnus Ira Joe Johnson ’73 and co-author William Pickens wrote about Mitchell’s contributions to Morehouse in the 1996 book, “Benjamin E. Mays and Margaret Mitchell: A Unique Legacy in Medicine.” The book shared a hidden treasure. Johnson was writing a book to celebrate Dr. Benjamin Mays’ 100 birthday when he came across letters that mentioned Mitchell giving money for student scholarships. “I tracked down some students, and went through yearbooks and letters at different places,” he said. “Once I got them, I went to her nephews, Eugene Mitchell and Joe Mitchell. Eugene Mitchell gave me permission to publish the letters.” The letters discussing Mitchell’s philanthropic tie to Morehouse were also documented in film. In 2010, Andrew Young’s documentary “Change in the Wind” discussed the unlikely relationship between Mitchell and Mays. Information from Johnson’s book was also used in the American Masters film “Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel,” which premiered in 2012 on Georgia Public Broadcasting. What would inspire an Atlanta debutante with Confederate roots and an independent mind to become a benefactor to a then financially-strapped Morehouse College? In the early 1940s, Mitchell began receiving letters from President Benjamin Mays asking the celebrated author for contributions. “When he stepped foot on campus in 1940, that was a time when Morehouse was very poor, so Mays was reaching out to people to underwrite scholarships,” Johnson said. “He wrote a letter to ask her to donate to the school. She didn’t answer the first or second letters; her husband, John Marsh, wrote back on her behalf.


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

“But Mays was persistent.” On June 22, 1942, Mays wrote Mitchell to say that the College was expecting an enrollment of 350 to 400 young men, but the previous year Morehouse had only had money enough for one scholarship. “I am wondering if you would give one tuition scholarship of $80,” he said, adding that he would appreciate such a donation every year if she were able. “Once he poured his heart out, a letter came back one week later,” Johnson said. Mitchell wrote to say that she was enclosing a check for $80 “and I hope it will be of assistance to some fine, deserving student.” She added that she could not promise to make an annual donation, and stipulated that whenever she did contribute, it should be kept confidential. Mitchell continued to make contributions for student scholarships at Morehouse, but later said she wanted to donate funds, specifically, in honor of her longtime laundress, who needed hospital care and was having difficulty getting it. “The maid had been with them 40 years and was like a member of the family,” Johnson explained. “So, now she gave money to help send some Morehouse Men on to medical school. “She wanted there to be more doctors, so she gave money to boys to pay for their medical education,” Johnson explained. One of those doctors was Otis W. Smith ’47, who had been on the verge of dropping out of college when an anonymous benefactor stepped in and paid his tuition. It was many years before Smith—the first African American, board certified pediatrician in Georgia—learned that his patron was Margaret Mitchell. If not for Margaret Mitchell, “I wouldn’t be a doctor and I wouldn’t be what I am today,” Dr. Smith said in a 1998 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. “She didn’t want anybody to know that she was doing this, but she was concerned about blacks getting medical care.” Mitchell continued to make contributions to Morehouse from 1942 until her death in 1949. It’s not known exactly how much she contributed to the College but “it’s safe to say several thousand,” Johnson said. And because of the author’s generosity, much more was contributed to Morehouse after her death. In 2002, for example,

MARGARET MITCHELL Mitchell’s nephew Eugene Mitchell, who had inherited his aunt’s compassion for those less fortunate than herself, donated $1.5 million to Morehouse to establish a Margaret Mitchell Endowed Chair in the humanities and social sciences. The donation is one of the largest individual gifts in the College’s history. And in 2005, Eugene Mitchell donated another $1.5 million to the Morehouse School of Medicine, which had become an independently chartered institution. It became separate from Morehouse College in 1981. “Mays and Mitchell are dead,” Johnson reflected, “but their legacy lives on.” M

Morehouse alumnus Ira Joe Johnson ’73 (pictured below) and co-author William Pickens wrote about Mitchell’s contributions to Morehouse in the 1996 book, “Benjamin E. Mays and Margaret Mitchell: A Unique Legacy in Medicine.” Johnson was writing a book to celebrate Dr. Benjamin Mays’ 100th birthday when he came across letters that mentioned Mitchell giving money for student scholarships.

When he stepped foot on campus in 1940, that was a time when Morehouse was very poor, so Mays was reaching out to people to underwrite scholarships. He wrote a letter to ask her to donate to the school. She didn’t answer the first or second letters; her husband, John Marsh, wrote back on her behalf.” — IRA JOE JOHNSON

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


150 Years of Excellence

Family Has Five Generations of Morehouse Men By TAMMY JOYNER (Left to right): Joi Showell (mother of Grant Showell), Grant Showell, Class of 2021, President Martin, Courtney Showell ’00, and Garrett Showell, Class of 2019.


reshman Grant Showell’s arrival at Morehouse College this fall marked a milestone for the College and his family. The Atlanta native is one of more than a dozen members of a large, multigenerational family to attend the prestigious all-male college—capping a 100-year legacy that has produced educators, entrepreneurs, and business executives. The 17-year-old biology major is the great-great-grandson of Nathaniel Tillman Sr. ’20, who became dean of the Morehouse English department and taught the College’s most famous alumnus, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ’48. Tillman’s son, Nathaniel Jr., graduated from Morehouse in 1948 and followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming an English professor who corresponded about literature with luminaries W.E.B. DuBois and Langston Hughes. Now Grant Showell has been handed the mantle, and a goal. His 2021 graduation will come a century after his great-great-grandfather’s. “It’s extremely humbling,” said Showell, who plans to become an orthopedic


surgeon. “And it’s very inspiring because it shows there’s a group of black people who have a long period of pursuing higher education.” Grant’s brother Garrett is slated to graduate from Morehouse in 2018 with a degree in kinesiology, the study of body movement. And their brother Gregory graduated from Morehouse in 2016 with a degree in Cinema, Television and Emerging Media Studies. Morehouse has several families, such as the Sheftalls, Woods, Conleys, and Alexanders, with long ties to the school, said Henry M. Goodgame, director of alumni engagement and giving at Morehouse. The family of 1927 graduate E.B. Williams, for example, can trace its roots back 90 years. But the three Showell brothers are the first students who can trace their legacy at Morehouse five generations back. The College’s growing roster of uber-legacy families speaks volumes, Goodgame said. “It’s saying that it’s valued—as it is at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale—to have siblings and family members continue their traditions at Morehouse College.”

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

Courtney Showell Sr., Grant’s uncle and a member of the Morehouse Class of 2000, has compiled a family tree of sorts that chronicles the family’s legacy. “It’s an awesome legacy,” said Showell, a consultant and director at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Atlanta. “One of the things that really spurred the legacy is that my great-grandparents really instilled the importance of education.” The family tree includes Morehouse alumni from three interrelated families: Tillman, Whatley, and Showell. Brothers Plemon (’37), Warren (’39) and Charles (’41) Whatley went on to found an Atlanta construction company after they graduated from Morehouse. Growing up, Grant Showell said he was told about his family’s Morehouse legacy, “but I wasn’t aware of the significance or how long and consistent that legacy was.” Now, he said he is humbled to be a part of such a distinguished legacy. And if he has sons, he hopes they’ll choose to attend Morehouse so the family legacy “can make it another hundred years.” M


Morehouse Family’s 100-Year Legacy More than one family has a strong Morehouse legacy. For example, members of the Tillman, Whatley, and Showell families, related by blood and marriage, have attended Morehouse during the past century. Here’s a glimpse of their fascinating family tree. FIRST GENERATION


Nathaniel P. Tillman Sr. graduates with a degree in English. He goes on to become dean of the Morehouse English department, where he taught civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. ’48. SECOND GENERATION


Plemon Whatley graduates with a business degree. He starts a construction business in Atlanta with his brothers, Warren and Charles. The company, Whatley Bros. Construction, builds homes for prominent politicians and other high-profile figures.


Warren Whatley Sr. graduates with a business degree.


Charles Whatley graduates with a business degree.


Nathaniel P. Tillman Jr. graduates with a degree in English. Like his father, he becomes a professor, teaching at Delaware State University and other colleges and universities. Albert Whatley graduates sometime in the 1940’s.



Waldo Whatley and Emerson Whatley graduate.



Courtney Showell graduates.


Warren Whatley III graduates with a degree in business.


Jordan Showell graduates with a degree in biology.



Gregory Showell III graduates with a degree in Cinema, Television & Emerging Media Studies. Note: Garrett and Grant Showell are slated to graduate from Morehouse in 2018 and 2021, respectively.

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


150 Years of Excellence

College’s Rich Legacy Includes Producing Political Powerhouses By SHANDRA HILL SMITH

Morehouse College graduate and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ’48 may be one of the College’s most famous alumni to come to mind. But the College has a rich history of producing leaders in various fields, including politics, law, and social justice. These include Atlanta’s first African American mayor Maynard Holbrook Jackson ’56, former U.S. Congressman Major R. Owens ’56 (Illinois), Earl F. Hilliard ’64 (Alabama), and Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr. ’72. In recent years, Morehouse has witnessed a new generation of leadership in public service, including alumni Sebastian Ridley-Thomas ’09, who serves in the California State Assembly, and Clinton Young ’72, former mayor of Mount Vernon, N.Y. In October, Randall Woodfin ’03 beat the seven-year incumbent mayor of the largest city in Alabama, his native Birmingham, to become the youngest mayor of that city since 1893. Woodfin, an attorney, work for Birmingham city government, eventually becoming assistant city attorney. He also served on the Birmingham Board of Education for four years. In August, Juan R. Thomas ’92 also became the 75th president of the National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African American attorneys and judges. Thomas, founder and principal of The Thomas Law Group, is with the Chicago law firm of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A.


Longtime Fulton County Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards ’72 made history in May 2017, taking office as the first mayor for the new City of South Fulton, Ga. And in November 2016, members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) elected U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond ’95

Morehouse is a builder of men who have a social conscience not just for their own personal successes, but to make a difference in their communities.” — SANFORD D. BISHOP JR. ’68

(Louisiana) to lead them as chair for two years, effective January 2017. Richmond, who represents Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, is one of two Morehouse Men serving in the U.S. Congress. Since 1993, Sanford D. Bishop Jr. ’68 has represented Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District.

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

Bishop was a political science major at Morehouse, and Robert Hughes Brisbane, founder of the College’s political science department and Tobe Johnson ’51, former chair and professor in the political science department, had a profound influence on him. On the first day of his political science class, Bishop recalls, Johnson armed students with the definition of politics. “That is something I have learned, carried and lived with as a reality from that moment,” says Bishop, who entered Morehouse in 1964, the year that Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize. Morehouse Student Government Association president in 1967 and 1968, Bishop would become a follower of King. In fact, when civil rights lawyer Howard Moore Jr. questioned the student about his future ambitions, Bishop’s response was “to keep Dr. King’s dream alive and do civil rights in the South.” Moore suggested Bishop choose law school over seminary school, and Bishop selected Emory University School of Law after being admitted to several law schools, including Harvard, Yale, and Duke. Bishop would go on to serve in Georgia’s House of Representatives and Senate, followed in 1992 by election to the U.S. Congress. Today, he represents 29 middle and southwest Georgia counties. “I wanted to use the political process to improve the quality of life for the people I


(Left to right) Maynard Holbrook Jackson ’56, Sanford D. Bishop Jr. ’68, Juan R. Thomas ’92, Cedric Richmond ’95, Earl F. Hilliard ’64, and Paul L. Howard Jr. ’72. (Below) Clinton Young ’72, Major R. Owens ’56, William “Bill” Edwards ’72, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas ’09

represented and the people in our state and in the country,” he says. Richmond recalls messages emphasizing service to others being imparted to him and fellow Morehouse Men during his days at the College. “One of the things they stress, and one thing that is just clearly obvious, is what public service means and how it can impact community,” says Richmond, who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on the Judiciary. “The goal is not just to graduate and go out and make as much money as you can. “You have to make a difference, too. I would credit Morehouse for that.” During his time leading the CBC, Richmond believes he’s made a difference when it comes to bringing more attention to the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, such as Morehouse.

“I’ve raised the profiles of HBCUs tremendously, especially under this President (Trump),” he adds. The Morehouse messages Edwards received during his days on campus direct him in his life of public service. In his City Hall office, he has a photo of former Morehouse president Dr. Benjamin E. Mays hanging on one wall, and a book of Mays’ quotes on his desk. “I’ve been known to be one elected official that will stand up for right till the end,” says Edwards, whose classmates included actor Samuel L. Jackson and D.A. Howard. “That doesn’t make you popular with a lot of folk but it makes you feel proud of the fact that you’re doing what’s right and that at the end of the day it shows that you’re right.” With public safety and quality education as two of his focuses, Edwards

believes it’s time to reclaim our communities to “the days when you could walk through your neighborhood and leave your front door open. We’ve got to come home when the lights go out on the street. Those principles are good principles that brought us to where we are today.” That, he says, calls for a bit of “compassion and love beyond the walls of your own home. It’s a kind of compassion you don’t see in elected officials anymore.” For Edwards and these other political leaders, Morehouse helped plant the seeds of social consciousness. “Morehouse is a builder of men who have a social conscience not just for their own personal successes, but to make a difference in their communities,” Bishop says. “And I’ve found that to be true across the country and across the world.” M

150 Years of Excellence

Maroon Tigers Athletics Have Storied History at Morehouse by ADD SEYMOUR JR.


he lush green lawn of Morehouse’s Century Campus is more hallowed than many students may realize. Long before Commencement ceremonies were the main event in the middle of the oldest part of campus, D.D. Crawford, an 1889 graduate who was at the time taking theological courses, chose the best intramural players to form Morehouse’s first varsity team, the 1890 Atlanta Baptist Seminary baseball team. They played on a makeshift field in front of what is now Clark Atlanta University’s chemistry and biology buildings, as well as the administrative buildings, which had housed Morehouse administrative offices. There isn’t an exact record of exactly when or who they played, but the November 1890 contest served as Morehouse’s first varsity team competition. Since then, thousands of men of Morehouse have donned the maroon and white and represented the Maroon Tigers in athletic competition all over the United States. And while Morehouse has long been regarded as more of an academic institution than an athletic powerhouse, Maroon Tigers Athletics has a storied position in the College’s history.


In fact, some of the College’s important academic names were integral figures to the beginning of the College’s athletic tradition—names such as James M. Nabrit Jr. ’23, and Mordecai Wyatt Johnson (Class of 1911) and Benjamin Brawley (Class of 1901), both at Atlanta Baptist College (later Morehouse College). While baseball became the College’s first varsity sport, it was still primarily student-led in those early years. One of those students was Nabrit, who later became a prominent civil rights attorney and president

...thousands of men of Morehouse have donned the maroon and white, representing the Maroon Tigers in athletic competition all over the United States.”

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

of Howard University. According to Frank L. Forbes’ book, “The History of Athletics at Morehouse College,” Nabrit helped formed the City Intercollegiate Baseball League, which the College participated in. Brawley, a prominent author and educator who became Morehouse’s first dean in 1912, bought the campus’ first football and chose from the best intramural playing students to form the College’s first football squad. Their first game was against Atlanta University, now Clark Atlanta University. “It deserves to be ranked as our first intercollegiate football game,” Brawley told Forbes in 1936. “We lost this game to [Atlanta University] 35-0, but A.U. had already been playing Tuskegee for a year or two. Most of our men had never seen a regularly organized and supervised football game in their lives, and, in general, the feeling was that we would soon be going places.” Johnson, the first African American president at Howard University and one of the most prominent black preachers of the early 20th century, was a star tennis, basketball, and football player at the College. He was a member of the school’s first varsity basketball team and a star quarterback on the football team. Johnson was also on the College’s first tennis team in 1911.


(Left to right) Morehouse baseball, Benjamin Brawley, Morehouse basketball, James M. Nabrit Jr., Mordecai Wyatt Johnson, Edwin Moses ’78, Donn Clendenon ’56

Since those beginnings, baseball and football have provided some of the most memorable moments in the College’s history. Donn Clendenon ’56—whose Morehouse “big brother” was Martin Luther King Jr. ’48—was a star football, basketball, and baseball athlete at Morehouse, receiving contract offers to play for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and basketball’s Harlem Globetrotters. But after trying out with baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates, Clendenon flourished as a Major Leaguer, earning World Series MVP honors with the New York Mets in 1969. John David Washington ’06 came to Morehouse more noted for being the son of Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington. By the time he left, however, the younger Washington had broken every Morehouse football career rushing record and signed a free agent contract with the NFL’s St. Louis Rams. And in 2012, Ramone Harewood became the first Morehouse athlete to be introduced on the NFL’s Monday Night Football as a starting guard for the Baltimore Ravens. The Morehouse football field is surrounded by a track named for one of the world’s most legendary track and field athletes, Edwin Moses ’78. Morehouse did not even have a track when Moses went to

then president Hugh Gloster ’31 and asked for money to train and compete in the 1976 Olympics. Gloster said yes and Moses went on to win an Olympic gold medal and begin a career that saw him go undefeated in the 400-meter hurdles for 10 years. In basketball, only one uniform number has ever been retired by the College: No. 30 worn by Harold Ellis ’92. Ellis, now working in the front office for the NBA’s New York Knicks, led Morehouse in scoring all four of his seasons. He led the Maroon Tigers to the 1990 NCAA Division II Final Four, and was named to the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Hall of Fame. The SIAC only began golf play in 2008, but since then, Morehouse has had one of the better HBCU golf programs, including winning an HBCU golf national championship in 2010. Olajuwon Ajanaku ’12 was named the Collegiate Golfer of the Year by African American Golfer’s Digest in 2011. In 1973, the national sports world heard the story of the College’s now-defunct, dominant swim team, the Tigersharks. Sports Illustrated featured them during a period in which they won 110 titles in 115 meets. Founded by legendary coach James “Pinky” Haines, the Tigersharks were the most

dominant HBCU swim team ever. Civil rights leader Julian Bond ’71 once was a member. There have been great Morehouse coaches: Burwell T. Harvey won three championships in football and was 111-18 as a basketball coach; Willie Hill has overseen a track and field/cross country program that has won 14 SIAC titles since 1995-96 and 22 cross country titles since 1965; and Frank L. Forbes won 306 games over 32 years as Morehouse’s basketball coach. There has also been a string of great players: William Montgomery (1973) and Alex Percival ’76 (1977) were the College’s first NFL draftees; Art Walker ’63 was an Olympic triple jumper in the mid-1960s; former All-SIAC quarterback Jerome Boger ’78 is a lead NFL official; Willie “Flash” Davis ’56 was a football and track star; Jerome Singleton ’11 has been a Paralympic sprinter, once holding the title “world’s fastest Paralympic sprinter”; former baseball player Cedric Richmond ’95 now heads the Congressional Black Caucus; and tennis players have included Joe Press ’84 and Terry Alexander ’05. They and many more Morehouse athletes have carried with pride the maroonand-white title Maroon Tigers. M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


150 Years of Excellence

Morehouse School of Medicine:

Historic Pipeline for Health Professions by SHANDRA HILL SMITH

What many consider one of the most significant contributions by Morehouse College to the nation, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) got its start in 1975, with then Morehouse President Hugh M. Gloster leading the charge. The medical school, which separated from Morehouse College in 1981, is one of 47 medical schools developed in the nation in the second half of the 20th century, but the only one that is predominantly African American. Today, Morehouse School of Medicine is one of the nation’s leading educators of primary care physicians, biomedical scientists, and public health professionals. In 2011, the Annals of Internal Medicine recognized MSM as the nation’s number-one medical school in fulfilling a social mission. MSM faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research, and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care. It all started with Gloster, who would appoint Louis W. Sullivan ’54 as MSM’s first dean. Sullivan later would become the medical school’s first president. In that capacity, as well as his tenure as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sullivan helped to shine the spotlight on the need for increased diversity in health care professions.


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

So has Morehouse alumnus and 16th U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher ’63, who, from 2004 to 2006, also served as president of MSM and is the first director of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine. “Although African Americans represent 13 percent of the nation’s population, only 4.7 percent of the nation’s physicians are African American,” says Sullivan, author of “Breaking Ground: My Life in Medicine.” Sullivan formed the Sullivan Alliance to broaden the pipeline of minority students pursuing a career in the health professions, including medicine, dentistry, nursing, and public health. The Sullivan Alliance works with colleges and academic health centers in eight states. In addition to establishing what today is the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Sullivan has increased diversity among the senior leadership within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He believes strengthening the nation’s K-12 education system is a step toward increasing diversity, since starting in the primary education years will help to prepare students for careers in health. In the post-


(Left) 16th U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher ’63; (center) Former Morehouse President Hugh M. Gloster and Alice Green during opening ceremony),
and (right) Louis W. Sullivan ’54

secondary years, getting more students who are not only applying for medical school, but also qualifying for and being accepted to medical school will help to turn the tide, says Satcher, founding director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at MSM. The institute works to bring about global health equity while reducing and ultimately eliminating disparities in health. “There were fewer students who were accepted into medical school last year than when I graduated from Morehouse College,” says Satcher, who is retired but serves as SHLI senior advisor and regularly spends time on campus, including teaching health policy fellows at MSM. “I think 18 of us went to medical school when I graduated.” Satcher says there are plans for MSM to get more involved, with Morehouse School of Medicine serving as a pipeline to medical education/training for Morehouse College students. This may include making available opportunities for students to work in MSM labs. It also may include Morehouse College students being accepted to

Morehouse School of Medicine at the same time they’re accepted to the College—with a potential three years of studies at Morehouse College followed by three years at MSM. Suggestions by Sullivan include “developing closer relations between Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine, including pipeline programs for college students preparing for careers in the health professions,” says Sullivan. Other ideas include “sponsorship by both colleges of lectureships, symposia and other programs, such as a possible dual degree program and financial planning to assist students and their families in securing the necessary resources.” Adds Satcher, “The black students of today have all kinds of choices for medical school, and many of them go where they have complete scholarships, and to state schools where the tuition is much less. It’s not all negative that more of the Morehouse students are not going to Morehouse School of Medicine, but we’d like to see more students coming from Morehouse College to Morehouse School of Medicine.” M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


150 Years of Excellence


Mercedes-Benz Stadium, New Friendship Baptist Church, and the Morehouse Man Who Built Them


(photos left to right) C.D. Moody ’78 and his wife, Karla; Moody joins other members of the team that built the Mercedes-Benz Stadium


rofessional football now has a new home in Atlanta, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Also settling into its new home is one of Atlanta’s oldest churches, Friendship Baptist Church, which has a history intertwined with Morehouse College’s past. Neither of the new, multi-million-dollar structures could exist without the other. And in the middle of it all is a Morehouse Man who helped make it work for everybody. C.D. Moody ’78 was born and raised in Chicago, but his family moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., when he was 14. By the time college rolled around, he planned to go to Kent State University. “Two men who had finished Morehouse said, ‘Just check it out,’” Moody recalled. “And I said, ‘Man, I ain’t going down there.’ But they offered me a football scholarship, and I came down in April 1974. “[The Morehouse football] coach had someone take me to Spelman College,” he added. “I saw Spelman and I signed my letter of intent right then.” Moody fit right in, making friends such as Morehouse football teammate and then-sophomore quarterback Jerome


Boger ’78. And after Commencement, he planned to go to graduate school, become an architect and work for someone, which he did. But after accepting a job with an Atlanta firm, everything changed. “My wife and I had only been married nine months and left great jobs, and then that company went bankrupt,” Moody remembered. “I worked for a small company for four years, and, finally, my wife and I were so broke that we decided we might as well take out a loan so I could go into business for myself. “My first contract on my own was $80,000 at Underground Atlanta. I was scared to death.” But it was successful. Other big projects rolled in, and Moody’s little business grew to include such notable projects as the Olympic Stadium and Philips Arena. “One of my proudest jobs is the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse,” Moody said. “That one and the Leadership Center. We built those two on our own, no joint ventures. They are real showpieces.” So, with those and many other projects under his company’s belt, it was no surprise

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

that C.D. Moody and his company would be part of building one of the nation’s most anticipated new stadiums: the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Moody’s company was a joint venture partner in the $1.5-billion stadium project as construction managers, managing the project from start to finish. Atlanta Falcons/Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank hailed the project as one that would be good for his teams and the city, brightening the blighted Westside Atlanta community. But two African American churches had to be razed for the project to happen in the desired footprint. One of them was Friendship Baptist Church. Friendship was Morehouse College’s first home when it moved to Atlanta from Augusta in 1879. And emotions over the church’s future were high. In the end, though, Friendship members decided to take a multi-million offer that allowed them to move to a site two blocks from their former home. And the joint venture partner in building their new church? C.D. Moody Construction Company Inc. “I think it was a win-win for everybody,” Moody said. “One thing I will say is that


Moody is one of several Morehouse alumni who have successful careers in business. The College has produced hundreds of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders from CEOs to computer analysts. Isom Lowman ’98

President and Owner, Lowman Group

Julius Hollis ’72

Managing Partner, Plutus Partners, LLP

Curley M. Dossman Jr. ’73

President, Georgia-Pacific Foundation

W. Byron Calhoun ’90

President, Calhoun Funeral Home & Cremation Service

Marcus Glover ’97

Verdun Perry ’94

President and Chief Operating Officer, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

Fred Humphries ’83

Chief Executive, The Company Lab

Sr. Managing Director & Co-Head of Strategic Partners, Blackstone Vice President, U.S. Governmental Affairs, Microsoft

Arthur Blank has really put his money where his mouth is. So, has Dan Cathy [Chick-fil-A CEO and Morehouse trustee] and others who are really making a difference in the Westside. “I’m excited to see what’s going to happen. That’s why I made sure that I’m heavily involved in Westside Works.” So, both huge Moody projects—projects big to the city—were rising up at the same time on Atlanta’s Westside. “It was interesting,” Moody said. “As were taking down Friendship and we got down to the foundation, and I was standing in it, I thought about what it was like when Morehouse used to meet in there. And we were building a new one. When we completed it, and I’d be by myself, I would just stand in certain parts of the facility and think about how much has gone on since

Willard “Chuck” Lewis ’83

Chairman & CEO, Nova Street Capital

Morehouse would meet in the basement. “But it also helped me realize that dreams really do come true.” Both structures are now open to rave reviews. Interestingly, in the Falcons’ first preseason game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the lead official was Boger, Moody’s old Morehouse teammate. “Seeing Jerome Boger as the head referee made me think back to 43 years ago when we met, and how we are still connected through Morehouse—with me as part of the construction team and Jerome as head referee in the first game. And 43 years ago, we were on the football field around the corner, just hoping we’d graduate.” Moody has other big projects going on. He’s also working on plans to one day turn his company over to his daughter, Karia, and son, Charles III ’07. He’s traveling, and

Marcus Shaw ’99 Charles Allen ’70

President, Graimark Realty Advisors

enjoying hobbies like photography. And he continues to work on his website,, which helps childhood sexual abuse survivors such as Moody, who opened up about his past four years ago. A member of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees, he’s also working with classmate and track and field legend Edwin Moses ’78 to rehab Morehouse’s B.T. Harvey Stadium and Edwin Moses Track. But he wants men of Morehouse to dream big and fight through the rough patches, as Morehouse prepares students to do. That way they’ll be prepared to take on the big projects that may come their way. “Even though Morehouse prepared me to do great things, I didn’t dream big enough because I never imagined that I’d be doing something like this,” he said. “So, I have to pinch myself.” M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Inside | the | House COMMENCEMENT NEWS



morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence



150th Anniversary Class GRADUATES IN ‘RADICALLY NEW ERA’




orehouse College served more than 2,100 students during the 2016-2017 school year, and awarded degrees at Commencement to more than 300 students. In addition, seven in 10 of those graduates were accepted into master’s and doctoral programs, many receiving fellowships and scholarships to continue their education. Speaking at Morehouse College’s 133rd Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 21, CNN political analyst Van Jones challenged this newest group of Morehouse Men to lead the charge of a new, post-Obama era. “You graduate as the first Morehouse Men to confront a radically new era,” Jones said. “For you, having a President who looked like you was no big deal. “In order for you now to make the contribution you are called to make, you have to both look backward and forward. Now begins a new era, and you leave here with a new set of opportunities and obligations.”​Jones addressed the Class of 2017 in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel as heavy rain forced Morehouse officials to move Commencement indoors



from the College’s traditional site, the historic Century Campus. But Morehouse’s traditional pomp and circumstance, boosted by the College’s 150th Anniversary year, was on full display as African drummers led graduates into King Chapel to begin the ceremony. Shortly afterward, the Morehouse Torch of Excellence—lit three days earlier at Augusta’s Springfield Baptist Church, where the College was founded in 1867—was carried into King Chapel by track and field legend Edwin Moses ’78. Four former chairmen of the Morehouse Board of Trustees were honored: Robert C. Davidson Jr. ’67, the Rev. Otis Moss Jr. ’56, Willie “Flash” Davis ’56, and James Hudson ’61. ​Macebearer Tobe Johnson ’54, chairman of the College’s political science department who was retiring after nearly 60 years at Morehouse, was presented with the Vulcan Materials Company Award for Excellence in Teaching. The College’s two valedictorians—Douglas Alexander Bowen and Michael Christopher Scott—urged their classmates to change the world. “To ameliorate the contentious atmosphere of wider society, we have




declared now, more than ever, that unity is needed,” Bowen said. “We remember that our journey through this House is not in vain,” Scott added. United Negro College Fund President and CEO Michael Lomax ’68 delivered a tribute in honor of the 50th anniversary of the College’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Jones then told the soon-to-be graduates that there were four power centers that they needed to conquer: Washington, D.C., Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood. “But you have something that millionaires and billionaires don’t have,” he said. “You have each other. You have a power network that is about to leave here and change the world. “That’s what happened because you came to Morehouse.” As interim president, the late Bill Taggart also charged members of the Class of 2017 with using what they learned to lead the world. “We charge you to hold out a bright beacon of light so that your brother or sister, who is lost at sea, may find their way back home,” he said. “Through the trials and tribulations of life, Mother Morehouse and her teachings will always be your safe haven.” M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


COMMENCEMENT NEWS Valedictorians (left) Douglas Bowen ’17 and (right) Michael C. Scott ’17; Interim President William J. Taggart, salutatorian Gerard Vanloo ’17 and Provost Michael Hodge

Straight-A Scholars Share Valedictorian Title at Commencement ’17 by D. AILEEN DODD Morehouse College alumni Douglas Bowen and Michael C. Scott cherish the memory of 2017 Commencement when the graduates were honored as valedictorians for achieving perfect 4.0 grade point averages in their senior year. Scott, of Rockville, Md., and Bowen, of Montego Bay, Jamaica, both graduated with degrees in economics. Scott also minored in Chinese studies. “Being named valedictorian is an honor that I share with everyone who has helped me get this far,” said Scott, a straight-A student who has been giving valedictory speeches since elementary school. “Giving such a speech to my community at Morehouse College was humbling.” Scott is now working as an analyst with the Global Investment Research Division at Goldman Sachs. Last summer, he spent a month in Berlin serving as a Humanity In Action Program fellow. During Scott’s years at Morehouse College, he was often recognized for academic excellence. He was a junior inductee of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Economics Honor Society, and Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. Scott was awarded the Goldman Sachs Scholarship for Excellence and the E.B. Williams Award for being a top scholar in the Division of Business Administration and Economics. In addition, he was president of the Morehouse College Chinese Club and the Investment Finance Club, and was deputy managing editor of Maroon Tiger Media Group, which publishes the student newspaper.


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

Bowen was the first in his family to attend and graduate from college. He was also the valedictorian of his high school in Jamaica. He received a full scholarship to Morehouse and maintained straight A’s throughout his years at Morehouse. Bowen enrolled in challenging courses and surrounded himself with a circle of friends who shared his academic focus, including co-valedictorian Michael Scott. Bowen also gained work experience. He served as an intern at Deloitte Consulting and Merchant Bank, and traveled to London and Berlin with the Division of Business Administration’s Spring Tour business and cultural exchange program. He was also a Presidential Ambassador at Morehouse College and a member of the International Students Organization, among other organizations. In addition, Bowen received several awards for academic excellence, including the E.B. Williams Award for being a top scholar in the Division of Business Administration and Economics, and for having the highest grade point average in economics. Bowen says that he was elated about his being named a valedictorian for the second time. “The College beckoned, and I answered, and have been grateful ever since, and humbled by these last four years,” he said. Bowen is now working as a financial analyst for BDT Capital Partners, a leading financial firm in Chicago. The salutatorian of the Class of 2017 was Gerard Vanloo, a computer science major from Laurel, Md. He is currently a software developer for IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. M


special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine



Morehouse Chairmen Emeriti Honored for Leadership, Dedication by ADD SEYMOUR JR.

(Left to right): Chairman Emeritus Robert C. Davidson Jr.’67, Dr. Benjamin Blackburn ’61 (receiving for the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. ’56), Willie “Flash” Davis ’56, and Dr. James L. Hudson ’61 were honored for their leadership and dedication at the 2017 Commencement Ceremony.


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence


“ T

The significance of this honor that you have bestowed upon us today cannot be determined by scales or by yardsticks, because its enduring value to us is immeasurable.” — WILLIE DAVIS ’56

he four living Chairmen Emeriti of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees were honored May 21 for their leadership and dedication to the College.​ Robert C. Davidson Jr. ’67, the Rev. Otis Moss Jr. ’56, Willie “Flash” Davis ’56, and James L. Hudson ’61 were recognized during the College’s historic 133rd Commencement in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel.​​ “To symbolize the theme of our 150th anniversary, ‘A House United,’ we have chosen to honor our four living Trustee Emeriti,” said current Board Chairman Willie Woods ’85.​​​​​​​​​ The four esteemed Chairmen Emeriti were greeted with applause for their record of service. They were each presented with a special black academic chair, a Sesquicentennial medallion marking the College’s 150th anniversary, and a certificate sanctioning the conferral of the title Chairman Emeritus.​​​The honorees are as follows: Robert C. Davidson Jr. served as board chair from 2010–2017, and was the first African American to serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Ca. In 2007, he retired as CEO of Surface Protection Industries, one of California’s top African American-owned manufacturing companies, which he had founded in 1978. Davidson has served on boards for organizations such as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Jacobs Engineering Group, the White House Fellows Program, and Broadway Federal Bank. Among his many honors are: the Bennie Leadership Award; Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year from the National Association of Investment Companies; and

the Black Businessman of the Year award from the L.A. chapter of the National Black MBA Association. The presidential residence at Morehouse College is named in his honor. Willie “Flash” Davis, who got his nickname for his record as a star football player and track athlete, led the Morehouse Board from 2006–2010. A prominent Boston attorney, Davis is the founding partner of the firm Davis, Robinson, & Molloy. He has served as an Assistant Attorney General and an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and was the first magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Massachusetts District. Davis was honored with the College’s 2003 Bennie Trailblazer Award and a Presidential Award of Distinction in 1999. He is also a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Hall of Fame. He received the College’s honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 2011 Commencement ceremony. The Rev. Otis Moss Jr., known for his booming voice and soaring sermons, was Morehouse Board Chair from the mid-1990s until 2006. He spent 33 years as senior pastor of Cleveland’s Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, retiring in 2008. Ebony magazine twice named Moss one of America’s Greatest Black Preachers, and Oprah Winfrey has called him her spiritual mentor. Moss followed the late Martin Luther King Sr. as co-pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenzer Baptist Church, along with the Rev. A.D. Williams King. He was a board member and regional director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the civil rights movement, and worked directly with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. ’48. Moss was inducted into the International Walk of Fame in Atlanta and the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame. The Otis Moss Jr. Residential Suites are named in

his honor, as is the College’s annual Otis Moss Jr. Oratorical Contest. James L. Hudson, one of the most influential attorneys in Washington, D.C., led the board during a period in which the College’s enrollment rose from 1,500 to nearly 2,400 and the endowment nearly tripled. After leaving Morehouse in 1994, Hudson served on boards for the National Capital Revitalization Corp., the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the National Mentoring Partnership, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Hudson U.S. Executive Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The Bank is the largest single investor in Central, Southern, and Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Hudson also was a senior partner at Hudson, Leftwich & Davenport, where he served as the special legislative counsel for the cities of Detroit, New Orleans, Oakland, and Kansas City. Speaking for the four men during Commencement, Davidson said the honor was even more special coming 50 years after Benjamin E. Mays’ Centennial Commencement address, the 50th anniversary of the installation, and the 94th anniversary of the death of the College’s founder, William Jefferson White. (Davidson was also celebrating his 50th anniversary as a Morehouse College alumnus.) Davidson and his wife, Faye, were ​ also honored with a new oil portrait that now hangs in the Chapel’s International Hall of Honor. “The significance of this honor that you have bestowed upon us today cannot be determined by scales or by yardsticks, because its enduring value to us is immeasurable,” Davidson said. M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Celebrating| the | House FOUNDER’S WEEK NEWS

“A Candle in the Dark”



Celebrates 150th Legacy and Men Who Embody It

orehouse College was on formal display Feb. 18 for the 29th Annual A Candle in the Dark Gala. The event honored some of the nation’s top businessmen and entertainers, and raised more than $1 million for Morehouse scholarships. Some 1,500 alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents, and supporters of Morehouse filled a ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta for one of the city’s most popular annual events. During the star-studded evening, five men were honored for their contributions and careers. M


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

FOUNDER’S WEEK The Rev. Jonathan L. Walton ’96 was given the Bennie Service Award for Excellence in Religion. Walton is the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at the Harvard Divinity School as well as the Pusey Minister in the Harvard Memorial Church.

In 1867, many knew black lives mattered because of our free labor,” Walton said. “But in 1867, someone came up with the radical idea that black minds mattered. This was the focus of our past at Morehouse. This must remain, and will remain, the focus of our future.”​​​

Theodore Colbert III ’96, chief information officer and senior vice president of information and analytics at The Boeing Co., received the Bennie Service Award for Excellence in Business. Jon Platt, chairman and CEO of Warner/Chappell Music, was given the Candle Award in Music, Business and Entertainment.

Tyler Perry—an actor, comedian, producer, director, screenwriter, playwright, author, and songwriter received the Candle Award in Philanthropy, Arts and Entertainment. “I understand how important Morehouse is,” Perry said.

This is really special and moving to me. To be honored by an organization that has that kind of history, that has put out those kinds of men in society… it inspires me on so many levels.”

Usher Raymond—humanitarian, singer, songwriter, and actor—was presented with the Candle Award in Philanthropy, Arts and Entertainment. “I want to say this to the men who are in school right now: Keep striving, keep pushing forward because, as Vernon [Slaughter] once told me, there are no losers in anything in life,” said Usher. “There are only those who quit before their turn comes.”

It’s everything to me to stand up here and be recognized as a black man and be respected by other incredible black men. I accept it,” he said. “I accept the responsibility that comes with it. Not to rest on the accolade of it, but to use it as a reminder of the service still yet to come.”

In a stirring moment toward the end of the Gala, Morehouse graduates and current students moved to the center of the ballroom, bowed their heads, and locked arms to sing the College alma mater, “Dear Old Morehouse.” special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine



Ask questions. If you don’t ask the question, you’ll never get to the solution or the answer.” — USHER RAYMOND

Honorees Give Advice to Morehouse Students To grow as an artist or an individual in any field, a person must seek information, said R&B star Usher Raymond during the Reflections of Excellence panel discussion at Morehouse College in February. “Ask questions,” he said. “The reality is if you don’t ask the question, you’ll never get to the solution or the answer. Give yourself the opportunity to have the information. Ask the question.” That was just one of several pieces of advice that the 2017 Bennie and Candle Award honorees offered to students in the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center’s Emma and Joe Adams Concert Hall. Honorees were: Raymond; Warner/Chappell Music Chairman and CEO Joe Platt; the Rev. Jonathan L. Walton ’96, a Harvard Divinity School faculty member; and Theodore Colbert III ’96, chief information officer and senior vice president of information and analytics at The Boeing Co. Each year, Reflections of Excellence gives the Bennie and Candle Award honorees the opportunity to tell students about their career paths, successes, failures, and offer advice for the future. (Actor and director Tyler Perry, who also was one of the honorees, was unable to attend Reflections of Excellence.) The discussion delved into topics such as inspirations, career low points, and what drives successful people. “For a long time, I never in my career wanted to be known as ‘the black’ anything,” said Platt. “I wanted them to judge me like they judged others. But I think a little bit differently now. I think ‘why not?’ Because one day, I will be the most senior black person in the music industry. “So, while I’m here, I should show you guys what that looks like and do a great job, because one day it’ll be one of you.” Colbert described his father’s death as a low point that became a daily motivator. “It was at a point where I was starting to understand what fatherhood was about,” he explained. “It actually served as a pivot point to dedicate myself to living out his dream of my own success, hard work, and service to others.” Among many other things, Walton told students that they should not be wedded to plans they’ve laid out for their futures. Walton is Harvard Divinity School’s Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church and Plummer Professor of Christian Morals. “Don’t pay so much attention to what you want to be professionally,” he said to nods from the other panelists. “Focus on what you want to contribute to the world. “You may find out that what you wanted to do is not the profession that you wanted in order to fulfill that.” M


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence


A Sesquicentennial Torch of Excellence, created by scholars from Morehouse College and Georgia Tech, was used in a run that began May 18 at Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga. (where Morehouse was founded), and ended May 21 at Commencement.

Morehouse, GA Tech Partners Design 150th Anniversary Torch By D. AILEEN DODD A team of scholars from Morehouse College and Georgia Tech has created a Sesquicentennial Torch of Excellence, which was used prominently during Commencement Week. The Torch took more than 500 hours to make over 16 weeks. And the success of the engineering project is symbolic of the history of collaboration between Morehouse and Georgia Tech, which dates to 1969. Today, Morehouse engineering students take classes at Georgia Tech and graduate with dual degrees from both schools. Georgia Tech administrators were presented with one of five identical torches used during the Journey of the Sesquicentennial Torch of Excellence. The symbolic run began on May 18 at Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta (where Morehouse was founded) and ended on May 21 with Gold Medal-winning Olympic hurdler Edwin Moses ’78 carrying it onstage at graduation. The run officially launched Commencement festivities. “For an institution that started in the basement of an Augusta church to give freed slaves an opportunity to educate themselves, we have come a long way,” the late Bill Taggart, then Morehouse interim president said during a ceremony in May at Georgia Tech. “This Torch represents our connection to the rich history of Morehouse and the transference of that history and knowledge that we put into the minds, bodies, and souls of our students as they go out in the world.” Dr. Willie Rockward, chair of the Morehouse physics department, and Dr. Katherine Fu, a Georgia Tech math and engineering professor, served as faculty advisers on the project. And Morehouse scholars James Stukes and Jared Mitchell worked alongside Georgia Tech students David Gamero, Joshua Von Holtz, and Veronica Spence. During the design phase, Georgia Tech students visited Morehouse to study campus architecture and research the history of

the College. They wanted the sleek lines of the Torch to reflect the distinguished history and culture of Morehouse. “Morehouse is an all-male college, so we took a lot of inspiration from very angular pieces that embody masculinity,” said Veronica Spencer, an industrial design student at Georgia Tech. “We did over 200 sketches and made mock-ups of the Torch in pink foam. “We chose a design that focuses on the future of Morehouse,” she explained. “We were able to incorporate the Morehouse ‘M’ and the crown in the design to represent a student’s journey into the crown of Morehouse.” The Torch also features a GPS system, a camera, the 150th anniversary emblem, and an -inspired pattern that represents the lifelong pursuit of knowledge. Georgia Tech graduating senior Eli Brand spent about 10 hours carefully cutting metal to fashion the Torch, which had to be easy to grip and display the Morehouse colors. Fuel for the flame was placed into a small bowl welded inside the Torch. The team also outfitted a charging case to keep the GPS and camera charged during the Torch’s journey. They chose a gel fuel source often used in catering to ignite the flame. “Nobody has ever made a gel-filled torch before,” Spencer said. The Torch may also be the focal point of Morehouse’s holiday card and be featured at a photo booth at homecoming. “For me, it is a dream to be able to pull my alma mater into a project with the place where I have taught for 20 years,” said Dr. Keith Hollingsworth, who chairs the business administration department, and was the visionary behind the Torch. “We plan to use the Torch for the rest of the year before we put it in a place of honor in the president’s office. “It has become a powerful symbol.” M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine



We thank you, Springfield. Because of Morehouse Men, the world is a better place.” — THE REV. DR. LAWRENCE E. CARTER SR.

Morehouse Makes Historic Pilgrimage to Augusta Every five years in February, members of the Morehouse College community make a pilgrimage to Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga. It was in this church’s basement that William Jefferson White and others founded Morehouse College (then Augusta Institute) on Feb. 14, 1867, with a vision to educate and empower young African American men. On Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017—in the College’s 150th anniversary year—a group of students, faculty, and alumni, along with the Rev. Vernon Jones ’83 and then-Morehouse President Dr. John S. Wilson ’79 visited Springfield Baptist for a special service, on behalf of Morehouse’s Augusta alumni chapter. When founding Morehouse, White and church leaders knew that literacy was the direct path between slavery and freedom.


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

In the church’s basement, Morehouse College was founded on Feb. 14, 1867.

“Slave owners knew if slaves knew how to read the Bible, they would be unfit to ever be slaves again,” the Rev. Dr. Lawrence E. Carter Sr., dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, said in his sermon. “We thank you, Springfield. Because of Morehouse Men, the world is a better place.” After the service, Wilson and Carter presented the Rev. Hardy Bennings III, pastor of Springfield Baptist Church, with a large oil painting depicting Morehouse’s roots in Augusta. The painting features all three churches fundamental in the early development of the College. A bridge with photos of the founder and collegiate presidents span a river connecting to Graves Hall, the city of Atlanta, and the future. Copies of the painting were also presented to Harmony Baptist and Tabernacle Baptist churches.


On Feb. 12, students, faculty, and alumni, along with the Rev. Vernon Jones ’83 and then-Morehouse President Dr. John S. Wilson ’79, made a pilgrimage to Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., to celebrate Morehouse College’s founding.

Immediately after the service, Springfield Baptist Church members hosted a luncheon for visitors inside the original church building. Students viewed historic documents and images, and then toured the old building where young men, much like themselves, once gathered. ​After lunch, the group from Morehouse boarded buses and headed to Cedar

Grove Cemetery to pay honor to the College’s founder. Students solemnly entered the cemetery and made their way to the location where William Jefferson White and his wife, Josephine, are buried. Visitors laid a wreath beside the founder’s headstone and then the crowd sang “Dear Old Morehouse.” M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Inside | the | House IN MEMORIAM NEWS

College Community Mourns Passing of Interim President William J. Taggart


t Commencement on May 21, Morehouse College Board Chairman Willie Woods ’85 sat joyously onstage in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel next to Interim President William J. “Bill” Taggart. Less than a month later, however, in that same hallowed space, Woods somberly remembered his friend who passed away suddenly on Thursday, June 8, at his Atlanta home. Taggart was 55. “He was my colleague, he was my friend, he was my brother—and I will miss him dearly,” Woods said. Taggart, a graduate of Howard University and the Harvard Business School, excelled in a career that led him to lead the historic Atlanta Life Financial Group as president and chief executive officer. He also served as the chief operating officer of the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid program, and held many executive and leadership positions with Wachovia, IBM, Veritas One, and other businesses. Well-rounded, personable, and extremely well-liked, Taggart became the Morehouse College’s interim president after serving as executive-in-residence and chief operating


officer since 2015. The Atlanta native was known for bringing to Morehouse a spirit of optimism, direction, and strong collaboration during his two-month period as interim president. “Bill brought us together and gave us hope,” said Morehouse Chairman Emeritus Robert C. Davidson Jr. ’67. “He reminded us of who we are and who we still would be.” Nearly a thousand people attended the memorial service. Onstage, the Morehouse College President’s Chair stood empty with a black sash draped across it. And Taggart’s family sat quietly as representatives from his alma maters, his fraternity, and the organizations that he served remembered their friend. “Quite simply, Bill inspired me,” said Stan Rosenzweig, a friend from Harvard. “By virtue of his strength of character, and literally how he lived his life, Bill always reminded me of what was truly important and what it took to live a life well-lived.” Taggart’s partner, Wonya Lucas, alluded to her conversation with Taggart’s 13-yearold daughter, Elizabeth, the night before. “You said, ‘He would not want us to be sad. He would want us to be happy,’” Lucas recalled. “And we know that he would want his friends and family to maintain

morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

closeness and to keep enjoying life. “More importantly, he would want us to honor his memory by building a stronger Morehouse, so this institution can continue to produce the caliber of men that can transform the world for the next 150 years.” An oil portrait of Taggart was unveiled toward the end of the service, and a group of Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University staff administrators pledged to serve as lifelong mentors for Elizabeth. In closing the service, Andrew Young— a former ambassador, Atlanta mayor, and member of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees—said that Taggart would have wanted everyone to leave the service with a bounce in their step. “He danced through life; he smiled through life,” Young said. “That’s the way you make it. You must carry on that joy, that rhythm, that vitality, that smile,” he emphasized. “William James Taggart has been and will continue to be a powerful force in our lives. And we thank God for it.” M

Donations in Taggart’s memory can be made to the William J. Taggart Scholarship Fund, Morehouse College, 830 Westview Drive, Atlanta, Ga. 30314.


Legendary Memphis Pastor The Rev. Dr. Fred C. Lofton ’53

Services for Dr. DuBois Cook ’48 Held at MLK Jr. International Chapel Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook ’48, former president of Dillard University, passed away on May 29 at 88 in his Atlanta home. Funeral services were held on Tuesday, June 6, at Morehouse’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. Cook was a history-making educator who became the first African American tenured professor to teach at Duke University. He was a friend and classmate of Martin Luther King Jr. and a mentee of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, Morehouse’s sixth president. Cook was the epitome of a Morehouse Man—respected by his peers as a stalwart for social justice and a trailblazer in his field. He received a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and earned his master’s degree and doctorate from The Ohio State University. In addition to teaching at Duke, Cook also taught at Southern University, Atlanta University, the University of Illinois, and the University of California, Los Angeles. During his presidency at Dillard (1974–1997), he established the National Center for Black-Jewish Relations. Cook was also the first black president of the Southern Political Science Association and served as a former vice-president of the American Political Science Association. He served as president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc., and chair of the Presidents of the United Negro College Fund. Former President Jimmy Carter appointed Cook to the prestigious National Council on the Humanities, and former President Bill Clinton appointed him to the historic United States Holocaust Memorial Council. Duke University established the Samuel DuBois Cook Society, and a postdoctoral fellowship in Cook’s honor, and The Ohio State University honored Cook with the Samuel DuBois Cook Summer Academy and the Samuel DuBois Cook graduate fellowship in political science. He is survived by: his wife of more than 50 years, Sylvia F. Cook; his children, Samuel DuBois Cook Jr. and Karen J. Cook; and his grandchildren, Alexandra Renee Cook and Samuel DuBois Cook III. M

The Rev. Dr. Fred C. Lofton ’53, a widely respected Morehouse Man, legendary Memphis pastor, and national Baptist leader, died June 22 at age 89. The Kinston, N.C., native was only seven months into his freshman year at Morehouse when he ran out of his $50-plus scholarship funds. He was on the verge of dropping out when he decided to go see President Benjamin Mays. “I want to have a first-rate education so I might lift up myself, my family and others,” he told Mays. For the next six years, Lofton worked his way through college with a job at the President’s residence. “That was the turn in the road,” he later recalled. “That was the providential moment that God had planned for my life.” Lofton earned a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse, and a master’s degree in divinity from the Morehouse School of Religion. He was also the first African American to earn a doctorate in sacred theology at Emory University, and in 1990 was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Morehouse. Lofton served as senior pastor of the historic Metropolitan Baptist Church in Memphis from 1972-2001, launching what he called a “ministry of reconciliation,” open to all races and denominations. He served at other churches during his career, and was also the 13th president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, whose founders included Mays and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ’48. “He was a prophetic and pastoral figure,” said Dr. Reginald Porter Sr., who became pastor of Metropolitan Baptist in 2001. “He believed both roles were connected and vital to the church’s larger mission to be the conscience of the community and to serve the community.” Porter also noted the significant impact that Mays had on Lofton’s life and ministry. “He tried to emulate Dr. Mays not only in ministry and writing but also in his manner and demeanor. That’s why he always carried himself with such formality and dignity.” “We lost an icon,” said Renee Jeffery, Lofton’s goddaughter. “We lost a loved one. We lost a family member.” Lofton had suffered a stroke in February, and spent his last few weeks in hospice with his wife, Dr. Ida Payne Lofton, and his family by his side. M

In lieu of flowers, the Cook family requested that donations be made to Dillard University’s Lawless Chapel or the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine



Publisher John B. Smith Sr. ’58, Trailblazer for Black Journalists

Addie Stabler Mitchell, Retired Professor of English

John B. “J.B.” Smith Sr. ’58, a retired educator, newspaper editor, and publisher of Atlanta’s historically black newspaper, The Atlanta Inquirer, died on April 27. He was 81. At the time of his death, Smith was the owner, publisher, and CEO of the paper, but as a young man he had not planned a career in journalism. He worked as a math teacher and administrator before the Inquirer was founded in 1960. Smith joined the newspaper first as a part-time ad salesman and rose quickly to become publisher. In a 2010 article that marked The Atlanta Inquirer’s 50 years of publication, Smith called those years a “very turbulent time” in Atlanta’s history. “The established black press only printed ‘safe’ black news that often edited out the truth,” Smith wrote, but The Atlanta Inquirer filled a void in reporting, covering, for example, the Atlanta Student Movement. The paper’s reporting staff included activists such as Julian Bond ’71 and Charlayne Hunter. Dean Lawrence Carter, professor of religion at Morehouse, described Smith as “a very outgoing, easily met, very community-oriented individual with many connections throughout the city.” Smith belonged to several community organizations and once served as chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. A native of LaGrange, Ga., Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Morehouse, and held master’s degrees in business education and mathematics from Atlanta M

Addie Stabler Mitchell, a retired professor of English and director of the Reading Center at Morehouse College, passed away on April 11, 2017. Mitchell was born on May 22, 1918, in Wilcox County, Ala. She received a full scholarship to the Tuskegee Institute, where she was a member of the choir and often wrote articles for school publications. Mitchell earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Tuskegee and a master’s degree from Atlanta University in 1954. She was an avid reader, talented orator, and concert pianist. Mitchell was recommended to former Morehouse President Benjamin E. Mays for a vacancy in the College’s English department. She gladly accepted the position and was later named director of the reading program. Students who were scheduled for Mitchell’s classes quickly learned that she did not tolerate late arrivals, particularly to her 8 a.m. classes. Her classic phrase to late students was: “Leave by the door or window, whichever is most accessible.” Mays was instrumental in approving Mitchell’s application for the Ford Foundation Grant, which allowed her to complete her doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1965. After returning to Atlanta, Mitchell taught classes at both Morehouse and Atlanta University. In 1987, after 33 years of service, Mitchell retired from Morehouse College. She was known for living a life with dedication and service to others. M

Bertram Arthur Jenkins ’70, Omega Psi Phi Member

Cason Louis Hill ’53: English Professor, Editor, and Communications Officer

Bertram Arthur Jenkins ’70, a life-long resident of Chattanooga, Tenn., passed away on Aug. 9 in Hampton, Va. After being educated in Chattanooga public schools, Jenkins attended Morehouse College. He retired after a career in the Chattanooga Public School System. Jenkins was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church of Chattanooga, where he served in the Usher and Trustee ministries. He was also active in the community and participated in the Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African-American Song. He is survived by his sister, Willodene J. Scott, a niece and nephew, Erika D. Scott and Evan A. Scott, and other relatives and friends. M


morehouse magazine • 150 years of excellence

Dr. Cason Louis Hill ’53 died at his Atlanta home on Saturday, April 8. He was 84 and a native of Lagrange, Ga. Hill earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse in 1953, a master’s degree from Atlanta University, and a doctorate from the University of Georgia. He applied for a teaching role at Morehouse and was hired by former President Benjamin E. Mays. Hill was also asked to be the one-man communications office for the College. He edited and wrote stories about Morehouse, and pitched stories and ideas to the national media. In 1979, former President Hugh Gloster ’31, Mays’ successor, urged Hill to become editor of the College Language Association’s magazine, the CLA Journal, a position that Hill held until his retirement. Hill was an institution at Morehouse, where he taught English and did several jobs at the same time for 50 years. At the time of his retirement in 2012, Hill was the second-longest serving faculty member. Only Dr. Tobe Johnson ’54, who retired in spring 2017, had been at the College longer. M

IN MEMORIAM Noted Historian, Professor, Author Alton Hornsby Jr. ’61

VA Chaplain Robert E. Burns ’64, former Assistant Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist

Dr. Alton Hornsby Jr., who graduated from Morehouse College with honors in 1961 and went on to become a noted historian and Morehouse professor, passed away on Sept. 1. Hornsby, who earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from The University of Texas at Austin, taught briefly at Tuskegee University. He spent the rest of his career at Morehouse College, becoming chairman of the Department of History. He edited the Journal of Negro History for 25 years, and was one of the leading authorities on Southern black history and the history of Black Atlanta. Hornsby was also an accomplished writer for many publications, and his record of scholarship made him one of the most published members of the Morehouse faculty. He won many prizes and awards for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. After spending more than 40 years at Morehouse, Hornsby retired in 2010. He left behind a brilliant record of scholarship, having led a department that produced a whole generation of African American historians, lawyers, and educators. Hornsby met his wife, Anne, while teaching at Tuskegee and, together, they had two children, Alton III and Angela (Hornsby-Gutting). M

Robert E. Burns ’64, longtime chief chaplain of Chicago’s former West Side VA Medical Center (now Jesse Brown VA Medical Center) died May 17, 2016. Burns, a native of Houston, earned a bachelor of science degree from Morehouse, and then master’s degrees from Crozer Theological Seminary and the University of Wisconsin. He also held a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from Northwestern University’s Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Burns spent 33 years at the Westside VA, serving as a staff chaplain, senior pastor, and chief of chaplain service. He also served as an assistant pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. M

Scholarship established in Memory of Lyndon Wade ’56 Lyndon A. Wade ’56, who lived a life devoted to uplifting the poor and underserved of Atlanta, died at his Atlanta home Jan. 28. He was 82. Wade was raised in the Vine City neighborhood near Morehouse. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from the College and went on to receive a master’s degree from what is now Clark Atlanta University, before serving in the military. After his time in the service, Wade worked tirelessly to fight what he called a war on poverty in Atlanta. He promoted education, and for more than 32 years, Wade served as president of the Atlanta chapter of the Urban League. With Wade’s platform on promoting education in mind, his family established the Lyndon A. Wade Scholarship Fund at Morehouse College. Checks may be made payable to Morehouse College designated for the “Lyndon A. Wade Scholarship” in the memo line. M

Mail scholarship donations to: Morehouse College, Attention James Tyson, Office of Institutional Advancement, 830 Westview Drive, Atlanta, GA 30314.

Virgil Emery Roberson Sr. ’65 Math Teacher, Civil Rights Worker Virgil Emery Roberson Sr. ’65, who once participated in lunch counter sit-ins to integrate Chattanooga restaurants, passed away March 22. Roberson was a lifelong resident of Chattanooga. After graduating from The Howard School in 1960, he entered Morehouse College. He joined Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Morehouse. After graduation, Roberson returned to Chattanooga to teach and coach with Chattanooga public schools. He was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church, East Eighth Street, was inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame, and served as a commissioner on the Hamilton County Election Commission. He is survived by his wife, Marion Strickland, sons, Virgil Jr. and Brian, his mother, Virginia, and brother, Roy. M

Morehouse College Police Officer James Moody Morehouse College Police Officer James Moody of Jonesboro passed away on Oct. 26, 2016, in Atlanta. Officer Moody was a veteran of the campus police force. He joined the department in August 2007. A graduate of Wofford College, Moody was a student athlete who played basketball. He earned a master’s degree from Central Michigan University and was a retired major in the U.S. Army. Officer Moody was also a proud member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He was the married father of four sons, three of whom attended Morehouse College. Two of them are graduates. M

special anniversary issue • morehouse magazine


Celebrate Our

th A 150


with a keepsake that preserves the rich history of the nation’s largest college for men The pictorial history will feature photos, artifacts, and quotations that celebrate

150 Years of Excellence at

Morehouse College

For more information, to share photos, or pre-order this special edition anniversary photobook book visit: Proceeds will help to fund student scholarships

Order a Morehouse Sesquicentennial Anniversary photo book TODAY!





Morehouse Magazine Special Anniversary Issue  

150 Years of Excellence

Morehouse Magazine Special Anniversary Issue  

150 Years of Excellence