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COMMENCEMENT 2013 I COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE

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129TH COMMeNCeMeNT addreSS Though rain poured on thousands of onlookers and more than 500 happy members of the

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class of 2013, the words of President Barack Obama brought some to tears as he spoke about

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the responsibilities of the newly minted Morehouse Men.

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LeaViNG LeGaCieS, eMbraCiNG fuTureS At the end of the 2012-13 academic year, a number of Morehouse faculty, staff and administrators stepped down from their posts after years of dedicated service to the College.

ON THe COVer President Barack Hussein Obama receives the Honorary doctor of Laws. Photo by ron Witherspoon.

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deTerMiNed TO fiNiSH Commencement was a special day for dorian Joyner Sr. ’13. He not only completed a lifetime goal of graduating from Morehouse—a two-decade task filled with health and life obstacles— but he watched as his son, dorian Jr., received his degree, too.

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“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character— that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King Jr. ’48

Morehouse College has always been committed to producing leaders who will change their communities, the nation and the world. Not only do Morehouse students receive a rigorous liberal arts education, but also an awakening to their capacity for integrity, compassion, civility and leadership.

Building Forever Capacity Give online at giving.morehouse.edu

president’s message

What gives us the audacity?

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magine what a man named Barack Hussein Obama had to believe about himself in order to run for the presidency of the United States of America. What personal affirmations did he repeat to himself? How much study? How much belief? How many long hours of soul-searching?

“We are grateful

As he alluded during Commencement in May, this “tall, skinny guy with the funny name” had to first grapple with profound issues of identity and self-worth, and an understanding of how the world viewed him before he could come forth with any degree of confidence about winning an elected office, let alone the presidency.

that we have a new Morehouse Man,

In other words, he had to right his personal house before he could aspire to the White House.

President Obama, to

Now let’s turn to our ’House. What do we—Morehouse alumni, administrators, faculty, staff and students—have to believe about ourselves before we can claim with fullthroated confidence that we will be a college of unprecedented preeminence in character, capital and intellectual prowess? Just what gives us the audacity to truly believe that our small HBCU will be among the best learning institutions in the nation and the world?

thank for a powerful example of selfdetermination after

I believe that if a tall, skinny guy with a funny name—and, may I add, brown skin—can be president, then all things are within our reach.

which our institu-

The operative word here is reach. Our community must reach, stretch and stridently push against boundaries of conventional thinking and practices that confine us to a limited self-view, stifle us with dysfunction, restrict our possibilities and impede our progress.

tional determination can be modeled. His

As you see bold changes coming our way, understand that this is the climate to be bold. Any lesser stance could leave our beloved institution vulnerable and weakened by economic conditions that are now battering and may soon close colleges and universities nationwide.

life and the miracle of his presidency teach

We are grateful that we have a new Morehouse Man, President Obama, to thank for a powerful example of self-determination after which our institutional determination can be modeled. His life and the miracle of his presidency teach us that achieving the impossible begins with having the audacity to believe—followed closely by the indispensable audacity to reach beyond your grasp.

us that achieving the impossible begins

And to Morehouse and her ideals,

with having the audacity to believe...”

John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79

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MOREHOUSE MAGAZINE

Our name means the world to us… We are proud to mark the 100th anniversary of the naming of Morehouse College in 1913 in honor of Henry L. Morehouse, the corresponding secretary of the Northern Baptist Home Mission Society. “Morehouse challenges us to have a social conscience. When you think this way, you can’t help but to want to make a positive impact on the world, as well as positively influence others.” -James Bernard Pratt Jr. ‘13

For more than a century, thousands of our graduates have made strides in industries ranging from ministry to medicine, from arts to athletics, living up to a world-recognized distinction: Morehouse Man. Morehouse College gratefully acknowledges every alumnus and student whose leadership and contribution to local, national and global communities serve to make our good name even better.

Commencement 2013 I Commemorative issue

Morehouse

editor’s notes

Magazine

John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 President Garikai Campbell Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Phillip Howard ’87 Vice President for Institutional Advancement

‘House Speaker

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Toni O’Neal Mosley Executive Editor and Director of Public Relations

e didn’t know when, but we knew it was inevitable. The first African American president of the United States would most certainly come to Morehouse College.

Vickie G. Hampton Editor Add Seymour Jr. Communications Writer

Likewise, we didn’t quite know what to expect in his Commencement 2013 speech—frankly, he had most of us at “hello”—but we knew it would be something we would never forget. Even so, we never quite expected President Barack Obama to share so openly. He drew on his own experiences to give advice to the class of 2013 that transcended rhetoric and was real and relatable. He got personal, giving us never-before-shared vignettes of his trials, fears and regrets. I like to think that President Obama felt at home at our ’House, where we develop and celebrate black male aspiration and achievement like no other institution on God’s green planet. That when he came to the philosophical birth home of Martin Luther King Jr. ’48, he felt a familial obligation to talk about how he made it over. That, with family, he could have a heart-to-heart with his younger brothers eager to test their mettle and strut their swag. This Commemorative Commencement issue of Morehouse Magazine features President Obama’s speech in its entirety. There isn’t an accompanying feature story on Commencement, as we normally do—so in case you missed it, it rained torrents, and 527 young scholars became brothers for life. Make that 528, because the President became an official Morehouse Man when the College presented him an honorary Doctor of Laws. Here’s one thing we did know: he was family all along. Sincerely,

Staff In the News Elise Durham Class Notes Julie Pinkney Tongue Administrative Assistant Minnie Jackson Web Services LaDonna Johnson Kara Walker contributors Photographers Graphic Design

David Collins Wilford Harewood Taun Henderson Billy Howard Philip McCollum Add Seymour Jr. Ron Witherspoon Glennon Design Group

Morehouse Magazine is published by Morehouse College, Office of Communications, Division of Institutional Advancement. Opinions expressed in Morehouse Magazine are those of the authors, not necessarily of the College. Letters and Comments: Letters must be one typed page in length and signed. Please include complete contact information. Send to: Morehouse Magazine Editor, Morehouse College, Office of Communications, 830 Westview Dr., S.W., Atlanta, GA 30314 E-mail: morehousemageditor@morehouse.edu Fax: 404-215-2729 Change of Address and Class Notes: http://giving.morehouse.edu/NetCommunity Morehouse College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Atlanta University Center consortium of 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.

Vickie Griffin Hampton Editor

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deLIVered BY

President Barack Hussein Obama I have to say that it is one of the great honors of my life to be able to address this gathering here today. I want to thank dr. [John Silvanus] Wilson for his outstanding leadership, and the Board of Trustees. We have Congressman Cedric richmond and Sanford Bishop — both proud alumni of this school, as well as Congressman Hank Johnson. And one of my dear friends and a great inspiration to us all — the great John Lewis is here. We have your outstanding mayor, Mr. Kasim reed, in the house. To all the members of the Morehouse family. And most of all, congratulations to this distinguished group of Morehouse Men — the Class of 2013. >

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I have to say that it’s a little men in so many ways. This is your I want to congratulate hard to follow — not dr. Wilday, as well. Just think about it all of you ... who son, but a skinny guy with a — your sons, your brothers, your supported these young funny name. Betsegaw Tadele nephews — they spent the last four men in so many ways. — he’s going to be doing years far from home and close to something. Spelman, and yet they are still here I also have to say that you today. So you’ve done something all are going to get wet. And I’d right. Graduates, give a big round be out there with you if I could. But Secret Serof applause to your family for everything that vice gets nervous. So I’m going to have to stay they’ve done for you. here, dry. But know that I’m there with you in I know that some of you had to wait in long spirit. lines to get into today’s ceremony. And I would Some of you are graduating summa cum apologize, but it did not have anything to do laude. Some of you are graduating magna cum with security. Those graduates just wanted you laude. I know some of you are just graduating, to know what it’s like to register for classes “thank you, Lordy.” That’s appropriate because here. And this time of year brings a differit’s a Sunday. ent kind of stress — every senior stopping by I see some moms and grandmas here, aunts, Gloster Hall over the past week making sure in their Sunday best — although they are upset your name was actually on the list of students about their hair getting messed up. Michelle who met all the graduation requirements. If it would not be sitting in the rain. She has taught wasn’t on the list, you had to figure out why. me about hair. Was it that library book you lent to that triI want to congratulate all of you — the parfling roommate who didn’t return it? Was it ents, the grandparents, the brothers and sisters, dr. [Tobe] Johnson’s policy class? did you get the family and friends who supported these young enough Crown forum credits?

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On that last point, I’m going It was that mission — not just Now, graduates, I am to exercise my power as president to educate men, but to cultivate humbled to stand here to declare this speech sufficient good men, strong men, upright with all of you as an Crown forum credits for any othmen — that brought community honorary Morehouse Man. leaders together just two years erwise eligible student to graduate. That is my graduation gift to you. after the end of the Civil War. I finally made it. You have a special dispensation. They assembled a list of 37 men, Now, graduates, I am humfree blacks and freed slaves, who bled to stand here with all of you as an honorary would make up the first prospective class of what Morehouse Man. I finally made it. And as I do, later became Morehouse College. Most of those I’m mindful of an old saying: “You can always first students had a desire to become teachers and tell a Morehouse Man — but you can’t tell him preachers — to better themselves so they could much.” And that makes my task a little more help others do the same. difficult, I suppose. But I think it also reflects A century and a half later, times have changed. the sense of pride that’s always been part of this But the “Morehouse Mystique” still endures. Some school’s tradition. of you probably came here from communities where Benjamin Mays, who served as the president everybody looked like you. Others may have come of Morehouse for almost 30 years, understood that here in search of a community. And I suspect that tradition better than anybody. He said — and I some of you probably felt a little bit of culture shock quote — “It will not be sufficient for Morehouse the first time you came together as a class in King College, for any college, for that matter, to produce Chapel. All of a sudden, you weren’t the only high clever graduates — but rather honest men, men school sports captain, you weren’t the only student who can be trusted in public and private life — council president. You were suddenly in a group of men who are sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings, high achievers, and that meant you were expected to and the injustices of society and who are willing to do something more. accept responsibility for correcting (those) ills.”

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But [King’s] education at Morehouse helped to forge the intellect, the discipline, the compassion, the soul force that would transform America.

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. dr. King was just 15 years old when he enrolled here at Morehouse. He was an unknown, undersized, unassuming young freshman who lived at home with his parents. And I think it’s fair to say he wasn’t the coolest kid on campus — for the suits he wore, his classmates called him “Tweed.” But his education at Morehouse helped to forge the intellect, the discipline, the compassion, the soul force that would transform America. It was here that he was introduced to the writings of Gandhi and Thoreau, and the theory of civil disobedience. It was here that professors encouraged him to look past the world as it was and fight for the world as it should be. And it was here, at Morehouse, as dr. King later wrote, where “I realized that nobody— was afraid.” Not even of some bad weather. I added on that part. I know it’s wet out there. But dr. Wilson told me you all had a choice and decided to do it out here anyway. That’s a Morehouse Man talking. Now, think about it. for black men in the ’40s and the ’50s, the threat of violence, the constant humiliations, large and small, the uncertainty that you could support a family, the gnawing doubts born of the Jim Crow culmoreHouse maGaZIne

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ture that told you every day that somehow you were inferior, the temptation to shrink from the world, to accept your place, to avoid risks, to be afraid—that temptation was necessarily strong. And yet, here, under the tutelage of men like dr. Mays, young Martin learned to be unafraid. And he, in turn, taught others to be unafraid. And over time, he taught a nation to be unafraid. And over the last 50 years, thanks to the moral force of dr. King and a Moses generation that overcame their fear and their cynicism and their despair, barriers have come tumbling down, and new doors of opportunity have swung open, and laws and hearts and minds have been changed to the point where someone who looks just like you can somehow come to serve as president of these United States of America. So the history we share should give you hope. The future we share should give you hope. You’re graduating into an improving job market. You’re living in a time when advances in technology and communication put the world at your fingertips. Your generation is uniquely poised for success unlike any generation of African Americans that came before it. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have work— because if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that too few of our brothers have the opportunities that you’ve had here at Morehouse. In troubled neighborhoods all across this country—many of them heavily African American—too few of our citizens have role models to

TOP 5

CLASS OF 2013

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MAJORS

GRADUATE SCHOOLS

EMPLOYERS

Business Administration Political Science Biology Kinesiology / Sports Studies / PE English, Economics, Psychology (Tied)

Columbia University Harvard University Emory University Georgia State University Stanford University

JPMorgan Chase Wells Fargo State of New York Excelsior Jobs Program Macy’s Teach For America

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guide them. Communities just a couple miles from my house in Chicago, communities just a couple miles from here —they’re places where jobs are still too scarce and wages are still too low; where schools are underfunded and violence is pervasive; where too many of our men spend their youth not behind a desk in a classroom, but hanging out on the streets or brooding behind a jail cell. My job, as President, is to advocate for policies that generate more opportunity for everybody — policies that strengthen the middle class and give more people the chance to climb their way into the middle class. Policies that create more good jobs and reduce poverty, and educate more children, and give more families the security of health care, and protect more of our children from the horrors of gun violence. That’s my job. Those are matters of public policy, and it is important for all of us — black, white and brown — to advocate for an America where everybody has got a fair shot in life. Not just some. Not just a few. But along with collective responsibilities, we have individual responsibilities. There are

As Morehouse Men, you now wield something even more powerful than the diploma you’re about to collect — and that’s the power of your example.

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some things, as black men, we can only do for ourselves. There are some things, as Morehouse Men, that you are obliged to do for those still left behind. As Morehouse Men, you now wield something even more powerful than the diploma you’re about to collect — and that’s the power of your example. So what I ask of you today is the same thing I ask of every graduating class I address: Use that power for something larger than yourself. Live up to President Mays’s challenge. Be “sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings, and the injustices of society.” And be “willing to accept responsibility for correcting (those) ills.” I know that some of you came to Morehouse from communities where life was about keeping your head down and looking out for yourself. Maybe you feel like you escaped, and now you can take your degree and get that fancy job and the nice house and the nice car — and never look back. And don’t get me wrong — with all those student loans you’ve had to take out, I know you’ve got to earn some money. With doors open to you that your parents and grandparents could not even imagine, no one expects you to take a vow of poverty.

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to need some doctors to make sure it works, too. But I will say it betrays a poverty of ambition if We’ve got to make sure everybody has good health all you think about is what goods you can buy in this country. It’s not just good for you, it’s good instead of what good you can do. for this country. So you’re going to have to spread So, yes, go get that law degree. But if you do, the word to your fellow young people. ask yourself if the only option is to defend the rich Which brings me to a second point: Just as and the powerful, or if you can also find some Morehouse has taught you to expect more of yourtime to defend the powerless. Sure, go get your selves, inspire those who look up to you to expect MBA, or start that business. We need black busimore of themselves. We know that too many young nesses out there. But ask yourselves what broader men in our community continue to make bad choicpurpose your business might serve, in putting es. And I have to say, growing up, I made quite a few people to work, or transforming a neighborhood. myself. Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just The most successful CeOs I know didn’t start out another example of the world trying to keep a black intent just on making money—rather, they had man down. I had a tendency somea vision of how their product or times to make excuses for me not service would change things, and the money followed. But I will say it betrays a doing the right thing. But one of the that all of you have learned Some of you may be headpoverty of ambition if all things over the last four years is there’s no ed to medical school to become doctors. But make sure you heal you think about is what goods longer any room for excuses. I understand there’s a common folks in underserved communi- you can buy instead of what fraternity creed here at Morehouse: ties who really need it, too. for good you can do. “excuses are tools of the incompetent generations, certain groups in used to build bridges to nowhere and this country—especially Afrimonuments of nothingness.” Well, we’ve got no time can Americans—have been desperate in need of for excuses. Not because the bitter legacy of slavery and access to quality, affordable health care. And as segregation have vanished entirely; they have not. Not a society, we’re finally beginning to change that. because racism and discrimination no longer exist; we Those of you who are under the age of 26 already know those are still out there. It’s just that in today’s have the option to stay on your parent’s health hyperconnected, hypercompetitive world, with millions care plan. But all of you are heading into an of young people from China and India and Brazil— economy where many young people expect not many of whom started with a whole lot less than all only to have multiple jobs, but multiple careers. of you did—all of them entering the global workforce So starting October 1st, because of the Affordalongside you, nobody is going to give you anything able Care Act—otherwise known as Obamacare that you have not earned. —you’ll be able to shop for a quality, affordable Nobody cares how tough your upbringing plan that’s yours and travels with you—a plan that was. Nobody cares if you suffered some discrimiwill insure not only your health, but your dreams if nation. And moreover, you have to remember you are sick or get in an accident. But we’re going

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that whatever you’ve gone through, it pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured — and they overcame them. And if they overcame them, you can overcome them, too. You now hail from a lineage and legacy of immeasurably strong men — men who bore tremendous burdens and still laid the stones for the path on which we now walk. You wear the mantle of frederick douglass and Booker T. Washington, and ralph Bunche and Langston Hughes, and George Washington Carver and ralph Abernathy and Thurgood Marshall, and, yes, dr. Martin Luther King Jr. These men were many things to many people. And they knew full well the role that racism played in their lives. But when it came to their own accomplishments and sense of purpose, they had no time for excuses.

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every one of you have a grandma or an uncle or a parent who’s told you that at some point in life, as an African American, you have to work twice as hard as anyone else if you want to get by. I think President Mays put it even better: He said, “Whatever you do, strive to do it so well that no man living and no man dead, and no man yet to be born can do it any better.” And I promise you, what was needed in dr. Mays’s time—that spirit of excellence, and hard work, and dedication, and no excuses—is needed now more than ever. If you think you can just get over in this economy just because you have a Morehouse degree, you’re in for a rude awakening. But if you stay hungry, if you keep hustling, if you keep on your grind and get other folks to do the same — nobody can stop you. And when I talk about pursuing excellence and setting an example, I’m not just talking

[Mays] said, ‘Whatever you do, strive to do it so well that no man living and no man dead, and no man yet to be born can do it any better.’

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Frederick Anderson ’13 know there are moms and grandparents here today who about in your professional life. One of today’s gradudid the same thing for all of you. But I sure wish I had ates, frederick Anderson — where’s frederick? fredhad a father who was not only present, but involved. erick, right here. I know it’s raining, but I’m going didn’t know my dad. And so my whole life, I’ve to tell about frederick. frederick started his college tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father career in Ohio, only to find out that his high school was not for my mother and me. I want to break that sweetheart back in Georgia was pregnant. So he cycle where a father is not at home, where a father is came back and enrolled in Morehouse to be closer to not helping to raise that son or daughter. I want to be her. Pretty soon, helping raise a newborn and worka better father, a better husband, a better man. ing night shifts became too much, so he started takIt’s hard work that demands your ing business classes at a technical colconstant attention and frequent sacrifice. lege instead—doing everything from And I promise you, Michelle will tell delivering newspapers to buffing Everything else is hospital floors to support his family. you I’m not perfect. She’s got a long list unfulfilled if we of my imperfections. even now, I’m still And then he enrolled at Morefail at family, if we fail practicing, I’m still learning, still getting house a second time. But even with a job, he couldn’t keep up with the corrected in terms of how to be a fine at that responsibility. husband and a good father. But I will cost of tuition. So after getting his tell you this: everything else is unfulfilled degree from that technical school, if we fail at family, if we fail at that responsibility. this father of three decided to come back to MoreI know that when I am on my deathbed someday, house for a third time. As frederick says, “God has I will not be thinking about any particular legislation I a plan for my life, and He’s not done with me yet.” passed; I will not be thinking about a policy I promoted; And today, frederick is a family man, and a I will not be thinking about the speech I gave, I will not working man, and a Morehouse Man. And that’s be thinking about the Nobel Prize I received. I will be what I’m asking all of you to do: Keep setting an thinking about that walk I took with my daughters. I’ll example for what it means to be a man. Be the be thinking about a lazy afternoon with my wife. I’ll best husband to your wife, or your boyfriend, or be thinking about sitting around the dinner table and your partner. Be the best father you can be to your seeing them happy and healthy and knowing that they children. Because nothing is more important. were loved. And I’ll be thinking about whether I did I was raised by a heroic single mom, wonderful grandparents — made incredible sacrifices for me. And I right by all of them.

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Matthew Moore ’13 receives congratulations.

African American community. I want you to set your So be a good role model, set a good example sights higher. At the turn of the last century, W.e.B. for that young brother coming up. If you know duBois spoke about the “talented tenth” — a class of somebody who’s not on point, go back and bring highly educated, socially conscious leaders in the black that brother along — those who’ve been left community. But it’s not just the African American behind, who haven’t had the same opportunities community that needs you. The country needs you. we have — they need to hear from you. The world needs you. You’ve got to be engaged in the barbershops, on As Morehouse Men, many of you know what it’s the basketball court, at church, spend time and energy like to be an outsider; know what it’s and presence to give people opporlike to be marginalized; know what tunities and a chance. Pull them up, it’s like to feel the sting of discriminaexpose them, support their dreams. So be a good role model, tion. And that’s an experience that don’t put them down. We’ve got to teach them just like set a good example for that a lot of Americans share. Hispanic what we have to learn, what it means young brother coming up. Americans know that feeling when somebody asks them where they to be a man — to serve your city like come from or tell them to go back. Maynard Jackson; to shape the culGay and lesbian Americans feel it ture like Spike Lee; to be like Chester when a stranger passes judgment on their parenting davenport, one of the first people to integrate the skills or the love that they share. Muslim Americans feel University of Georgia Law School. When he got there, it when they’re stared at with suspicion because of their nobody would sit next to him in class. But Chester faith. Any woman who knows the injustice of earning didn’t mind. Later on, he said, “It was the thing for less pay for doing the same work — she knows what it’s me to do. Someone needed to be the first.” And today, like to be on the outside looking in. Chester is here celebrating his 50th reunion. Where is So your experiences give you special insight that Chester davenport? He’s here. today’s leaders need. If you tap into that experience, it So if you’ve had role models, fathers, brothers like should endow you with empathy — the understanding that — thank them today. And if you haven’t, commit of what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes, to see yourself to being that man to somebody else. through their eyes, to know what it’s like when you’re And finally, as you do these things, do them not not born on 3rd base, thinking you hit a triple. just for yourself, but don’t even do them just for the

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o M M of e n2013, C e Mwhatever e n T 2 0 success 1 3 And I will tell you,CClass I have achieved, whatever positions of leadership I have held have depended less on Ivy League degrees or SAT scores or GPAs, and have instead been due to that sense of connection and empathy — the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn’t have the opportunities that I had — because there but for the grace of God, go I. I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed. I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me.

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they’re going through. And he’ll be fighting for It should give you the ability to connect. It them. He’ll be in their corner. That’s leadership. should give you a sense of compassion and That’s a Morehouse Man right there. what it means to overcome barriers. That’s what we’ve come to expect from you, So it’s up to you to widen your circle of conMorehouse—a legacy of leaders—not just in our black cern—to care about justice for everybody, white, community, but for the entire American community. black and brown. everybody. Not just in your To recognize the burdens you carry with you, but to own community, but also across this country and resist the temptation to use them as excuses. To transaround the world. To make sure everyone has a form the way we think about manhood, and set higher voice, and everybody gets a seat at the table; that standards for ourselves and for others. To be successful, everybody, no matter what you look like or where but also to understand that each of us has responsibiliyou come from, what your last name is—it doesn’t ties not just to ourselves, but to one matter, everybody gets a chance another and to future generations. to walk through those doors of Men who refuse to be afraid. Men opportunity if they are willing to That’s what we’ve come who refuse to be afraid. work hard enough. Members of the Class of 2013, When Leland Shelton to expect from you, was four years old—where’s Morehouse—a legacy of you are heirs to a great legacy. You within you that same courage Leland? Stand up, Leland. leaders—not just in our have and that same strength, the same When Leland Shelton was black community, but for the resolve as the men who came before four years old, social services took him away from his mama, entire American community. you. That’s what being a Moreput him in the care of his grandhouse Man is all about. That’s what parents. By age 14, he was in the being an American is all about. foster care system. Three years after that, Leland Success may not come quickly or easily. enrolled in Morehouse. And today he is graduating But if you strive to do what’s right, if you work Phi Beta Kappa on his way to Harvard Law School. harder and dream bigger, if you set an example But he’s not stopping there. As a member of the in your own lives and do your part to help meet National foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy the challenges of our time, then I’m confident Council, he plans to use his law degree to make that, together, we will continue the never-endsure kids like him don’t fall through the cracks. ing task of perfecting our union. And it won’t matter whether they’re black Congratulations, Class of 2013. God bless kids or brown kids or white kids or Native you. God bless Morehouse. And God bless the American kids, because he’ll understand what United States of America. n

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The Valedictory BETSEGAW TADELE ’13 …We shall remember this day. donning our gowns, straightening our caps, circling our necks with various representations of the excellence of our four-year journey, marching proudly across a campus we have come to know and to love so well—Oh, we shall remember this day! We came in as freshmen—marching together to be welcomed to the ’House, marching together to orientation sessions, marching together to divisional meetings, and advisement sessions, and finally to that infamous Parents Parting Ceremony, where we said goodbye to our childhood and girded up our loins to engage the challenges of becoming a man. Today, as graduating seniors, we came into this place—again marching together, brother to brother — but this time to leave to go our separate ways, to blaze new trails, to ford new streams, to chisel new stones into masterpieces that will leave the places where they stand better than we found them.

We shall remember this day. As we leave to go out into a world that is sure to test our mettle, scrutinize our strong academic preparation, and challenge our resolve to lead lives, not for our own aggrandizement, but for service to others. for we are world-changers because we do not hesitate to recognize that, though the world has come a long way, we still dare to imagine a better world free of poverty, free of corruption, free of social ills, free of debilating disease, and free of man’s inhumanity to man. We dare to imagine a world where we are literally reaching for the stars. We dare to imagine a world where we can all live harmoniously with one another. And, yes, we dare to imagine a world where brotherhood and sisterhood characterize all human relationships.

We will remember this day. Because our parents and guardians, our teachers and our mentors, our role models and our trailblazers made it possible for us to achieve and encouraged us to excel in arenas never engaged before. Today, we must say THANK YOU!

We will remember this day. Because this Commencement, this glorious day of celebration and exultation gave us the rare opportunity to be among the few graduates anywhere who will remember who was their Commencement speaker 50 years from now!

We can never forget that on this day, we, the men of the 2013 graduating class of Morehouse College, were privileged and honored to hear words of indescribable inspiration from one who demonstrates every day that there is no IMPOSSIBLe and there is no UNBeLIeVeABLe and there is no UNACHIeVABLe if you have the audacity to HOPe—words lived out every day by President Barack Hussein Obama! It is this daring attitude, this willingness to challenge the naysayers and the dilatants that will take us, members of the dynamic Morehouse College graduating class of 2013, to places never dreamed before—all because we came to an institution called Morehouse College, all because we came to a place that enabled us to grow, develop, achieve, believe, and excel. And for this, our hearts will forever sing: Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit Make us steadfast, honest, true, To old Morehouse and her ideals, And in all things that we do. Thank you. n CommenCement 2013

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President’s Charge to the Graduates DR. JOHN SILVANUS WILSON JR. ’79

Editor’s Note: Because of inclement weather, President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 was not able to deliver his charge to the class of 2013. We are pleased to publish the President’s Charge so that they, as well as all of our readers, can be inspired by President Wilson’s inaugural charge to the graduating class.

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hroughout Morehouse history, yours will always be a most special class – the class whose Commencement speaker was the first African American president of the United States, Barack Obama. Many did not BeLIeVe that would ever happen! This being the first commencement of my presidency of Morehouse College, I considered very carefully what I might commend to you as my charge to this class. My initial instinct was to share with you how the most sacred and enduring emblems of Morehouse – the candle, the mystique and the crown – have continued to influence my life. I thought I might encourage you to trust all of the ways they might influence your life, as well. But, in the end, I decided to set all of that aside and tell you about a personal experience. And if you can get a tenth of the value I got from this, then my charge to you will have been a success! In 1992, I traveled to Africa four times as a Kellogg fellow. On one of these trips, a colleague, Sulayman Clark, and I visited Johannesburg, South Africa. And while there, we decided to go by the office of the ANC, the African National Congress. This was after Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, but before he was elected president of South Africa in 1994. A woman on the ANC staff gave

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us a tour. When we returned to her office, I said: “It sure would be nice to meet Mr. Mandela.” Instead of the kind of response one might expect in a situation like this – “I’m sorry, Mr. Mandela is quite busy…” – she said, “Oh, well let me see what he’s doing.” She dialed his number. He answered. She said: “I have a couple of African American educators here on a tour. They’re hungry. If you want, we can go and get some food, come by, and all eat together.” There was a brief silence while she listened to his response. Then she said, “Great! We’re on the way!” She took us to a place that sells fried fish. We bought some food and drove to Nelson Mandela’s house. And there he was – the iconic leader of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement – opening his front door and inviting us into his home. We spent several hours together

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talking and eating fish. And we took a few pictures with him, which are among the personal items I treasure most. By the time it was clear that our visit was coming to an end, I felt comfortable enough to ask Mr. Mandela the burning question that had been on my mind for years. “How?” I asked him. “After 27 years in prison – and four straight years in solitary confinement – how did you keep from going crazy? How did you stay strong?” Nelson Mandela looked me in the eye and with more conviction than I have ever seen on the face of any man, he said, “I believe.” I started to say exactly what you are thinking right now – “Mr. Mandela, you believe what?” But before I could get that question out, he said, again – simply, firmly – “I believe!” I got it. That was all I really needed. I think that is all you really need, too. And so, my charge to you – the members of the Morehouse College class of 2013 – is this: In order to get great things done in this world, you had better believe! Always believe. BeLIeVe IN GOd! Believe in yourselves. Believe in your intelligence and character. Believe in your vision and values. Believe in your hopes and dreams. Believe you can make a difference in the world. Believe that with the way you live your life, you can light that Morehouse candle, exude that Morehouse mystique, and you can grow tall enough to wear that coveted crown that dear Old Morehouse holds over our heads! n

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raditionally, the Baccalaureate Service is the final spiritual service for the men of the graduating class before they become Morehouse Men. The year 2013 is marked with a number of significant remembrances and

celebrations. It is the 100th anniversary of the name change from Atlanta Baptist College to Morehouse College and the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. In commemoration of these milestones, this year’s service featured three presentations: a distinguished alumnus gave the baccalaureate sermon and two recent alumni offered baccalaureate hermeneutics to the graduating class. Following are excerpts from each speech.

Anthony Mark Miller ’11

Olusegun Abayomi Idowu ’12 “God looked around at all that he had made and looked at his home, with all of its splendor. And God said, ‘I am lonely still.’ God thought and the thought until he thought up the thought, ‘I’ll make me a man.’ “four years he spent perfecting his craft until he shaped it in his own image. He dressed this man in the black garb of angels and place on him a cap as a crown. And then into the man he blew the breath of man, and God said, ‘I’ve made me a man – a Morehouse Man.’” “Through all the challenges that each semester has placed on your shoulders… look at where you are today and how far you have come. But despite all of this, I can’t allow you to become complacent… Come Monday morning, all celebrations must cease.” “But to those who can hear me today, I say be of good courage. don’t be afraid for we are sending good men, brave men, strong men, dedicated to saving this world.”

“An irrefutable fact in history, and I say without fear of contradiction, is that people of color and logic have never been friends.” “Logic is our kryptonite. Logic is what told the slave to take comfort in his lot… Logic is what told King not to dream. Logic is what told Mays not to rebel. Logic is what told Obama not to hope.” “… but because logic and people of color are not friends, slaves are now free. Kings are still dreaming. Hope is still happening and resurrections are still amongst us. And I’m so sure that resurrection is amongst us because I’m looking at 500-plus resurrections in this room.” “When logic whispered in your ear and said, ‘It’s no longer worth it,’ your soul responded and said, ‘But I believe.’ And as Morehouse Men, this is what makes us who we are.”

The Rev. Kevin R. Johnson ’96 “Indeed, if we are really honest with ourselves, that’s what’s wrong today in many of our communities. We have more people acting like chicken than eagles.” “… The entire process to produce an eagle may last more than 12 months. In other words, it takes some time to produce greatness, but anybody can be a chicken.” “… When we reflect upon our contributions to America and read about great men and women of our history, we must confess that it takes time to produce greatness… All I’m trying to get you to see, my Morehouse brothers, it takes time to produce greatness!” “So brothers, I have one question for you this afternoon: Are you ready? I said, Brothers, are you ready? Then I dare you to stretch out your limbs and begin to flap your wings… My Morehouse brothers, I dare you to become God’s eagles!” n

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Mary Spivey ’33 is oldest graduate

President Barack Obama is hooded by Board Chairman Robert C. Davidson Jr. ’67

Placing the U.S. Presidential Seal

Congratulating graduate

Graduates are seated on Century Campus

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A soggy celebration

Recognition of a deceased graduate

Three Morehouse presidents: Robert Franklin ’75, Roy Keith ’61 and Walter Massey ’58

Alumni pose for a photo

President Wilson’s first year conferring degrees CommenCement 2013

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Alumni form a corridor as the class of 2013 marches to Century Campus.

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Leaving

Legacies

Commencement marks one of the most highly anticipated transitions

in our lives—from college life to the real world. And for several veteran

Morehouse administrators, faculty and staff members at the College, the 2013 Commencement marked an equally anticipated transition, this one from a long, prolific career to a well-deserved retirement. With more than 267 years of combined service to Morehouse College, this group of devoted individuals has poured a lifetime into educating, inspiring and mentoring generations of Morehouse Men. Morehouse salutes each of their

Futures

remarkable contributions to our community and, by extension, the world. Read more about how four of our Morehouse Legacies are embracing the future. Profiles by Add Seymour Jr.

Portraits by David Collins

Embracing

Credit IS DUE: Morehouse salutes the following faculty and staff for their years of dedicated service.

Joseph Agee Chair of Modern Foreign Languages 38 years

Willie Bourda Deputy Chief of Police 14 years

Phyllis Bentley Director of Academic Operations 37 years

Vernon Worthy Chief of Police 16.5 years

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De-Ting Wu Associate Professor of Mathematics, 24 years

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profile

‘There is some magic that occurs here’ Willis B. Sheftall Jr. ’64

Inside the Office of Academic Affairs, there are three rows of photos of all of the past provosts for the College. The last one is of Willis B. Sheftall Jr. ’64. Had he had his way, Sheftall’s photo never would have been there. “If you had asked me when I was coming here whether I wanted to be an administrator or not, I would have said ‘no’” he said. “I wouldn’t have been hesitant about that. It just wasn’t an aspiration that I had.” Having three times served as Morehouse’s provost (1999 to 2005; 2007-11 and 2012-13) and once as acting president (2013), Sheftall now sees his move into administration as answering his alma mater’s call to service, for which he says he has always been proud to do. Sheftall has long been a respected economist with a particular interest in the economics of higher education, local public finance and U.S. economic history. He’s served on boards of institutions such as Fisk University, American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business, Junior Achievement of Georgia, Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital, and SOLINET (Southeastern Library Network). He also served on the Atlanta Mayor’s Council of Economic Advisors. He taught at Alabama State University and Georgia State University before returning to his alma mater to teach in 1974. He became chairman of the Department of Economics at Hampton University in 1981 and later dean of Hampton’s School of Business. Sheftall returned to the classroom in 1986 when he came back to Morehouse as a professor of economics, and also as the

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Charles Merrill Chairman of the Department of Economics. Along with first becoming provost in 1999, he also served in other administrative capacities at the College, including special assistant to the president with oversight responsibilities for institutional advancement and budgeting. No matter what he was doing, student development remained a primary focus for Sheftall. Teaching is the first love for the Macon, Ga., native. “Watching young men develop into full manhood is one of the truly exciting experiences that you have here at Morehouse,” he said. “I have now almost thirdgeneration students. I have the father whom I taught and then the son, and now I have the grandson. Certainly, I have the grandsons or grand nephews of classmates I was in undergraduate school with. That’s what I’m going to miss – the day-to-day interaction with these young guys and watching them grow up.” For a pragmatic academic, even Sheftall admits there is some undefined part of the Morehouse experience that has made his time at the College special. “I’m a hard-boiled economist,” he said. “I’m not one of those people who believes a lot in mystery. But there is some magic that occurs here. We can talk about what we do with respect to 90 percent of the experience a student has here. We can say this is what he’s doing. He takes this course; this is the outcome we expect. But it’s about 10 percent magic. That’s the mystique. That’s critical. It’s not just the icing on the cake. It’s more like the icing throughout the cake. That Morehouse mystique is real, and I think its one of the things that sets us apart.” n

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‘Don’t think small’ john williams ’69

John Williams ’69 remembers times when he has traveled to Europe or Africa and he heard someone calling his name. “It’s not unusual,” he said. “I’d look up and say to myself, ‘There’s a Morehouse student.’” That is the situation Williams, the retiring dean of the Division of Business Administration and Economics, envisioned when he became the division’s dean in 1982. He wanted Morehouse business students to be as global as the other students they would encounter in graduate business schools. “I joined Morehouse and the academy for the primary purpose of contributing to the finance education of Morehouse students,” he said. “When I returned here to teach in 1976, there was not a finance program. For that matter, we had to even teach them how to say finance. It’s not FI-nance, it’s fi-NANCE, because it was founded in the East. “If you think financial literacy is low in our community today, imagine what it was like in the 1970s to talk about a young black man heading to Wall Street to work for multinational banks.” Williams, who has written a number of textbooks for collegiate finance programs, prided himself then on building a department that taught students many of the finer points – such as the technical language – of finance and business. “The thing about finance and minorities, at least those from our communities, is even if they were interested in studying finance in graduate school … when they got there they often changed their majors,” he said. “Why? They did not understand the language and jargon of finance. It wasn’t so much they couldn’t conceptualize what the professors were talking about. They were talking about the benches, the leverage, the risk and returns. Unless you had exposure like our students to those paradigms in undergraduate schools, you felt like you were in a foreign language class.” By the 1980s, Morehouse became one of the nation’s top historically black college feeder schools for graduate business

programs at places such as Wharton, Northwestern and Harvard. And Williams made sure Morehouse graduates were just as prepared as students from larger schools. “We were trying to make the point—do not categorize us,” Williams said. “Don’t suggest what you expect out of our students because of the hue of their skin and curl of their hair. I was very proud of that. But mostly, the students were proud because they could say that they were from a quality institution. “I never want any student whom I’ve taught to think there are limits in terms of his possible achievements, or to assume that somehow he’s not as capable as students from the Ivy League,” Williams said. “Don’t think small. This is the school of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. ’48. There are no limits.” In time, Williams has seen some of his former students become successful enough to attempt huge leverage buyouts, manage pension funds for companies and even earn so much on Wall Street that they take leaves of absence to figure out what it all means. Williams also has stressed to men of Morehouse that they need to give back when they become Morehouse Men. “You haven’t completed your task as a Morehouse graduate until you can make contributions to society and to make things better for those who were not able to attend Morehouse,” Williams said. “Their charge is to make a contribution. We have to make a difference.” In retirement, Williams plans to do more research in economicbase analysis and software engineering. He also looks forward to visiting some of his favorite places, mainly southern France. But what has been accomplished in the Division of Business Administration and Economics at Morehouse will not be far from his mind. “I’m just very pleased with all the accomplishments. Successful students are the real wages a professor works for. That’s my legacy.” n Commencement 2013

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‘It’s been a good journey’ Anne Wimbush Watts

When Anne Wimbush Watts came to Morehouse as a young professor in the late 1960s, students could hardly believe she was old enough to be an instructor. Now 42 years later as Watts closes out her Morehouse career, former and present students she guided, mentored and taught call her “Mother Morehouse.” The students she has touched believe Watts has carved out a unique niche at Morehouse, where she represents much of the College’s ceremonial soul. When young men and their families first got to Morehouse, she had new freshmen shouting at the top of their lungs about how they were going to make their families proud. And then when they prepared to leave the College, she has been the narrator for 10,000 people who watched the senior class march through campus towards the Commencement stage. In the years in between, Watts has helped shape their academic and creative voice, both oral and written. For example, she spent weeks preparing young men for the anticipated introductory presentations of the Bennie and Candle Award recipients during the “A Candle in the Dark” gala. And Watts was instrumental in putting together the Otis Moss Oratorical Contest each year. Then there are the special events such as a few presidential inaugurals, along with a visit from President Barack Obama. It is her love of teaching and working with students both in and out of the classroom that Watts is most proud of. Her teaching career started not long after she graduated from Grambling State University, where she was her class valedictorian, and completed her graduate degree. Watts and her new husband had just moved to Atlanta for a job he had here. She was looking for employment. She got a job offer – from Morris Brown College. “I said ‘I’d better respond,’” she said. “Then I got a letter from the English department chair at Morehouse. I had been recommended by MOREHOUSE MAGAZINE

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Atlanta University president Thomas D. Jarrett. He knew me and he knew the work that I could do. He recommended that they hire me. I was interviewed and I was hired. I turned down the job at Morris Brown and the rest is history.” It didn’t start so easily though, she said. Her first day teaching at Morehouse was filled with nervousness as she stared into a sea of young men. “I wanted to be a master teacher,” she said. “I saw Robert Brisbane’s classes and Wendall Whalum’s classes packed with students and their chairs hanging out the door. I wanted to know what they were doing, so I would stand outside the door and listen. “But I’m new and it’s the first few weeks of school… I didn’t know that you don’t give papers back at the beginning of a class. Because I didn’t know that when they were ready to go, they are ready to go … I lost control of my class. “I went home and I was troubled. And I said this could go on forever. I saw the master teachers and I saw them engage students, and though I was a female, I knew I could engage them that way, too. “The next day… I said, ‘Everybody close your books and take out a piece of paper.’ I had to outsmart them. I gave them a pop quiz. I sat there and graded them. F. F.F.F. And I passed them back. They said, ‘This is not fair.’ I said, ‘Who said life is fair?’ The next class period, I did the same thing. “By this time, the A students are troubled because that GPA is sliding down. And I said, ‘Now are you ready to learn?’ They said, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ ‘Well, I’m ready to teach.’ After that, we got along very well. I had passed the test.” As she reaches the final days of her Morehouse tenure, those students and many others afterwards– some who have even started their own Anne Wimbush Watts Facebook fan page – are likely to agree that she passed that test and many others over the years. “It’s been a good journey,” she said. “There are times when I’ve gotten angry at students. But then there will be that one student who will raise his hand in class and say something so deep and profound and you say, ‘that’s why I sing.’” n

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‘There Was No Turning Back’ Cason Hill ’53

In 1961, Cason Hill ’53 figured he would teach a year or so at Morehouse and then maybe go back to his postal job or teach in the public school system. It didn’t turn out that way. “I didn’t have any idea that I’d be here a second year,” Hill said. “I came here as a replacement. After the first year, I went back to my civil service postal job that summer, but then I came back in September and did another year. I started taking courses at Atlanta University towards my Ph.D. After I got that, there was no turning back.” Hill has become an institution at Morehouse, where he has taught English – and done a number of other jobs at the same time – for 50 years. Of the current Morehouse faculty, only Tobe Johnson, professor of political science, has been at the College longer. Hill was honored in 2012 for at least 20 years of distinguished teaching service to Morehouse. He, along with former English professor Jocelyn Jackson, received a Special Recognition/Service Award. Hill, a native of LaGrange, Ga., never envisioned a half-century career at Morehouse. “I taught in the Atlanta school system, but then we had the war in Korea and I got drafted in December that year,” he said. “After I got out of the Army and went to get my old

job back, well, I didn’t get it back. That’s why I worked as a postal clerk.” While working at the post office, Hill earned his master’s degree at Atlanta University and planned on becoming a public school principal. But an AU dean talked him into applying for a teaching opening at Morehouse. Then president, Benjamin E. Mays, hired Hill at a Morehouse that was much smaller than it is today. “Everything south of Robert Hall was not here,” Hill said with a laugh. Mays also asked Hill to be the one-man Communications Office for the College, where he edited and wrote stories about Morehouse and pitched them to local and national media. By 1979, Hugh Gloster, Mays’ successor, urged Hill to become editor of the CLA Journal, a position that Hill held until he retired in May. In 2012, the Journal awarded Hill its Presidential Award for 33 years of service. “Editing is just something I have a knack for,” he said. “It’s just something I’ve always done.” And Hill also continued what he has always loved: teaching. “The best thing for me is the reason why I came here in the first place – to teach young men and associate with my colleagues. I guess you can say it’s in my blood.” n

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Morehouse in the

NeWS Commencement 2013 became

an international, history-making media event when President barack Obama was named commencement speaker. There were more than 4,000 media stories filed about the historic day. Commencement was featured in every media platform, from national newspapers to the television late night talk shows. following are highlights of Commencement coverage. moreHouse maGaZIne

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Media Research Center netWorKs hYPe oBama’s ‘PoWerful’ CommenCement sPeeCh; set asiDe more than fiVe minutes of air time ABC, CBS and NBC touted President Obama’s Commencement address at Morehouse College in Atlanta on their Sunday evening and Monday morning newscasts, devoting a total of five minutes and 14 seconds to the “powerful speech,” as NBC’s Tamron Hall labeled it on Monday’s Today. On Monday’s CBS This Morning, Norah O’donnell saying, “I think it’s one of those speeches that will be looked at over the years.” Lester Holt played up the president’s “voice of experience” on Sunday’s NBC Nightly News, and said, “…the president is sharing in a way we rarely hear him.” USA Today oBama: there’s no lonGer time or eXCuses for BlaCK men The president connected his own path to the White House to the work of King and other African-American leaders of that generation. But Obama also conceded that at times as a young man he wrongly blamed his own failings “as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down.”

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CNN Around the World CNN anchors Suzanne Malveaux and Michael Holmes spoke with immediate past SGA president Anre’ Washington and newly commissioned officer Adam Starks about what it felt like to hear President Obama deliver the Commencement speech during their graduation. The New York Times oBama urGes GraDs to set the eXamPle The president tied dr. King’s journey to his own, speaking in forthright and strikingly personal terms about his struggles as a young man with an absent father, a “heroic single mom” and the psychological burdens of being black in America. He also issued a challenge to the graduating class, imploring the young men of the nation’s only historically black, all-male college, to be responsible family men, set an example and extend a hand to those less privileged than they are. Theroot.com PresiDent oBama DeliVers sPeeCh at morehouse Barack Obama arrived in Atlanta on a rainy Sunday to be with a friendlier crowd after a rough week in Washington to become the first sitting president to deliver the commencement address at Morehouse College.

The Associated Press oBama enCouraGes morehouse GraDs to serVe others Synopsis: President Obama, in a soaring commencement address on work, sacrifice and opportunity, told graduates of historically black Morehouse College yesterday to seize the power of their example as black men graduating from college and use it to improve people’s lives.

a willingness to serve the powerless and give back to underserved communities.

The Huffington Post/The Associated Press oBama morehouse CommenCement sPeeCh asKs GraDs to helP those Who neeD it most Speaking in personal terms as he often does when addressing predominantly black audiences, particularly of black males, the nation’s first black president also spoke intimately of his desire to be a better father to daughters Malia and Sasha than his absent father was to him, and to be a better husband to his wife, Michelle. He told the graduates to pay attention to their families, saying success in every other aspect of life means nothing without success at home.

On Leadership: The Washington Post PresiDent oBama’s GraDuation sPeeCh at morehouse ColleGe The highlight of the weekend was President Obama‘s moving and personal remarks at Morehouse College, the historically black men’s college in Atlanta. In a speech that touched on race, fatherhood, manhood and leadership in far more personal terms than is typical for the president, Obama spoke about the obligations of the graduates before him—the responsibility of being a father and husband, the responsibility he and other successful black men have to other young African American men behind them, and the responsibility of making a greater contribution to society.

TheGrio morehouse GraDs ‘ProuD’ to Witness historiC oBama CommenCement sPeeCh Synopsis: Peppering his speech with lighthearted humor, Obama emphasized the importance of not only academic success but

Chicago Tribune honorarY DeGree President Barack Obama adjusts his tie before receiving an honorary doctor of Laws at the graduation ceremony of the class of 2013 at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, May 19, 2013.

“MSNBC with Craig Melvin” In an eight-minute segment, John Silvanus Wilson Jr., president of Morehouse College, and new Morehouse graduate Leland Shelton

share their reactions to President Obama’s commencement address there with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin. “PoliticsNations with Al Sharpton” Al Sharpton and Melissa Harris-Perry discuss the message behind President Obama’s speech to Morehouse, including the criticism that his speech evoked race too often. “CBS This Morning” Anchors Charlie rose and Norah O’donnell discuss President Obama’s speech, saying he delivered a direct message to the all-male, all-black audience and that the speech will be looked at over the years. “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC) during his opening monologue, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel compared his commencement address with President Obama’s to the students of Morehouse College and, in a humorous fashion, explained why the “Live” host will never be president. “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (NBC) Jay Leno joked about President Obama’s new jobs policy during the opening monologue of his show the Tuesday after Commencement, saying that the president told the Morehouse graduating class their futures were bright unless, of course, they want jobs. n

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insidethehouse When History Calls

Behind the Scenes of Hosting the President of the United States

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t started with an unexpected phone call. President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 had been on the job for only three weeks when he got a phone call from Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama. The President was requesting to be the College’s Commencement speaker, she said. “When the President of the United States calls, you say ‘yes,’” President Wilson said later. “In a year when there are so many significant anniversaries and celebrations, it was an honor to add President Obama’s historic visit to Morehouse to the list.” In the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the College being named Morehouse; the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation; and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. ’48 delivered the iconic “I Have a Dream Address”—the first African American president of the United States was coming to Morehouse. It seemed history itself was calling.

Positioning the Team In the first conversation with the White House Advance Team, the team’s director, Peter Selfridge, encouraged Morehouse to plan Commencement as a celebration for the graduates and their families. That meant the unmatched pageantry of the Morehouse Commencement would not be compromised. The African drummers, the alumni corridor, the sacred venue of Century Campus, would all remain intact. Chief of staff Karen Miller and media relations manager Elise Durham were tapped to lead the Morehouse team, with Durham serving as the main point of contact for the White House and overall logistics for the President’s visit. Also on the team were Anne W. Watts, chair of the Baccalaureate and Commencement Committee; Vernon Worthy, Morehouse Police Chief; and James Smartt, director of Event Support Services. “While I’ve planned many significant MOREHOUSE MAGAZINE

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Elise Durham, media relations manager, leads the team on a tour.

By the Numbers 17 miles of fencing erected around the campus perimeter 100 spaces blocked off in the parking deck to secure line of sight to the Presidential motorcade 300 media professionals on risers built specifically for them 4,000 media hits on Commencement events and worked with high-profile personalities and political dignitaries, working with the President of the United States was clearly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Durham. For the first time in Morehouse Commencement history, crowd logistics professionals were hired and every one of the 10, 000 audience members had to have a ticket, as well as pass through electronic screening devices. Additionally, the 170 faculty members in the processional and nearly 70 members of the platform party submitted to additional security requirements so that they could be within arms reach of the President (ARP). “Given the sensitive information needed for the background checks, we relied on Human Resources to help make the process as smooth as possible, without compromising

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personnel information,” said Miller. Two weeks later, the first campus walkthrough was set with four Atlanta-based Secret Service agents, including Harry McLaughlin, a 1995 graduate of Morehouse. Also in attendance was Maju Varghese, a senior member of the White House advance team, who traveled separately from Washington. Besides discussing the standard protocols around a presidential visit, the Morehouse team was told to brace for up to 300 media outlets from around the globe—and possibly 150 media who travel as the National Press Corps.

Preparing for the President During the week of Commencement, advance teams from Washington arrived, including the main White House Advance Team and the White House Communications Agency (led by Col. Kevin Mitchell, another Morehouse alumnus) to lay secure phone and Internet lines on campus. A room called the POTUS Hold was transformed into a mobile oval office, where special phones were installed in case President Obama needed to conduct official business on campus. Changes to the ceremony—most of which would be undetectable to the audience—were debated, decided, and sometimes changed again, like the stage seating and the processional route.

insidethehouse “There were things that we planned to do that we could not do this year,” said Anne Watts, chair of the Baccalaureate and Commencement Committee. “We were told to be fluid and not fixed because there would be changes; there would be restrictions.” “There were a lot of moving parts this year,” added James Smartt, director of Event Support Services. “With all of the security measures and added staging, we had to work hard to make sure we would accommodate our 10,000 guests.”

Weathering the Storm As the Commencement hour drew near, driving rain, thunder and lightening caused major concern. Secret Service reported a cloud-to-ground lightening strike just 30 miles away. The inevitable question came: What if an electrical storm erupted on campus? The Secret Service was assured that the program was accelerated to get quickly to President Obama’s speech. Once at the podium, the President would not be interrupted. And, so, history was made. “It gave all of us pride to know that we could plan for and execute hosting the most important man on the planet,” said Chief Vernon Worthy of the Morehouse College Campus Police Department. “And we did it mostly with our own folks. The Secret Service was with him every step of the way, but as the day-to-day folks, I think our crew did a magnificent job.” n

SPEAKING UP

Forensics Resurgence Continues as Morehouse Debaters Earn Three National Championships

The 2012-13 Morehouse College Forensics Team with Coach Kenneth Newby ’97 (far left). By ADD SEYMOUR JR.

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orehouse College Forensics team continued its climb into the nation’s upper tier of collegiate debating after bringing home three national titles during 2012-2013. Those results follow a successful 2011-2012 season in which they finished 16th nationally. This comes from a program that is in the midst of resurgence after debating at Morehouse waned in recent years. “This year’s team versus last year’s team has grown considerably,” said Kenneth Newby ’97, director of the Morehouse College Forensics Program and the team’s coach. “We have largely the same students when it comes to varsity, but they’ve grown. They aren’t the same debaters. They are better.’ Newby’s debaters won two championships at the Pi Kappa Delta Nationals and another at the Novice Nationals, where they finished first place overall. The team also finished first overall in the Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association State Finals for the third consecutive year and won first place overall in the Southeast Regional Debating Championship, which was hosted by Morehouse in February 2013. Newby, a debate team member when he

was a student, was presented the Brightest Star Award at the Pi Kappa Delta Nationals in recognition of his contributions to the art of persuasion. Two Morehouse debaters, seniors Chris Fortson-Gaines and Byron Granberry, were nominated as All-Americans this year. The team also was the only squad from a historically black college or university to compete in the World Universities Debating Championships in Berlin, Germany, in December. Out of 400 teams from 82 countries, the debate team finished in the top half of the field, just missing the final rounds. Team members were seniors Chris Fortson-Gaines, Nicholas Bacon, Austin Williams, Byron Granberry, Kevin Porter, Jameel Odom, Franklin Kwame Weldon, Anthony Voss; junior Malcolm McCullough; sophomores Emmanuel Waddell, Curtis O’Neal and Raheem Cooper-Thomas; and freshmen Rami Blair, Rodje Malcolm, Ralph Jean and Dorian Kandi. The team’s volunteer assistant coach is Derrick Reed ’12. “They’ve gotten better through a lot of hard work and discipline and practice and I’m really proud of their accomplishments,” Newby said. n

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onthefieldandcourt Andrae nelson ’13 Pursues nBA, law school Waits

Andre Patillo ‘79 (left) accepts the Commissioner’s Cup from SIAC Commissioner Greg Moore.

Morehouse Wins sIAC All-sports Award for Fifth Time in six years

Andrae Nelson ’13 By add SeYMoUR jR.

NOW THAT fOrMer Morehouse basketball player Andrae Nelson ’13 has graduated cum laude in political science from the College, he plans to attend law school. But not before he gives professional basketball a shot. Nelson is a 6’ 6” post player who led Morehouse to a 20-8 season and the SIAC east division title. He averaged 12 points and nearly nine rebounds per game, and was named to the All-SIAC first team for the second consecutive year. Nelson, last season’s preseason Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference preseason Player of the Year, was picked up for the 2013 July summer league by the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic. Then Nelson, whose father is of Jamaican descent, was picked to play for the Jamaican National Team for the rest of the summer. former NBA All-Star Jay Vincent coaches that team. Jamaica will compete in the fIBA Americas Championship from Aug. 30 to Sept. 11 in Caracas, Venezuela. Nelson will play with the Jamaican team until NBA preseason camps begin in October, when he hopes to sign with a team. “everyone has been impressed with Andrae both on the court and off the court,” said Morehouse head basketball coach Grady Brewer ’80. “Whenever he has talked to NBA teams, he’s gone in with a suit on and is very polished. NBA officials don’t always get that from players. Andrae really represents what we are doing here with Morehouse basketball, on the court and off the court.” n moreHouse maGaZIne

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THe MOreHOUSe COLLeGe athletics program continues its dominance of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, winning the 2013 SIAC Commissioner’s All-Sports Award. It’s the fifth time in six years that Morehouse has won the award. The award, based on a point system, goes to the SIAC school that achieves the most overall success in all of the conference sports during the school year. The Maroon Tigers athletic program won conference championships in track and field and cross country, and had runner-up finishes in tennis, golf and basketball. n

2013 MOREHOUSE MAROON TIGERS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE SEPTEMBER 7th

Howard University

Washington, D.C.

3:30 p.m.

(3rd Annual Nations Football Classic)

14th Lane College Jackson, Tenn. 21st 16th Annual Chicago Football Classic Chicago 28th Edward Waters College B.T. Harvey Stadium

2 p.m. 4 p.m. 7 p.m.

OCTOBER 5th Clark Atlanta University 12th Tuskegee University

B.T. Harvey Stadium Columbus, Ga.

7 p.m. 3 p.m.

(79th Annual Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic)

19th Albany State University Albany, Ga. 26th Benedict College (Homecoming) B.T. Harvey Stadium

2 p.m. 2 p.m.

NOVEMBER 2nd 9th

Fort Valley State University Kentucky State University

Fort Valley, Ga. Frankfort, Ky.

6 p.m. 2 p.m.

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Track and Field Team Wins eighth straight sIAC Title and Team Academic Championship By add SeYMoUR jR.

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Jerome singleton ’11 Part of World record relay team in World Championships in france He MOreHOUSe MArOON Mitchell was second in the 1500-meter TIGerS track and field team run and thein3000-meter steeplechase and Jerome Singleton ’11 continues his stellar career the track and field world, being part of a world-record relay team and finished 2013 as the Southern fourth in the 800-meter run. winning a bronze medal in the 2013 International Paralympic Committee World Championships in Lyon, france. Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s top winningThe topped theT42-46 SIAC in Singleton was part of the gold medal U.S.squad mensalso 4x100-meter relay team that finished their race in 40.73 team on the field and in the classroom. the classroom as they earned the seconds, smashing the previous record of 41.78 set by a South African team in 2013 2012. They continued their dominance of the SIAC Trackthird and behind field Academic Team and richard Browne in the T44 100 meters Singleton, the defending world champion, finished Jonnie Peacock SIAC as they won their eighth consecutive Championship. race. conference track and fieldwithout championship Of calf the athletes have the top 14 Singleton was born a fibulaon in his right and hadwho his leg amputated below the knee when he was 18 months old. He April 20 at B.T. Harvey Stadium. It was the grade point averages in the SIAC, seven became a heralded high school athlete in Greenwood, S.C., before coming to Morehouse. Singleton, an engineering major who was Maroon Tigers trackprogram, and fieldwas program’s them are Maroon Morehouse student-athletes. in the dual degree a member ofofthe flying Tigers track and field team when he learned about the paralympic 13th conference title over the last 18 years. Hall, a business administration movement. The Maroon Tigers, who finished major, had a 3.91 grade point average, Jerome singleton ’11 Part of far ahead of Wins Albany Stateall-sports and Stillman highest morehouse siaC award forthe fifth timeamong in six track Yearsand field athletes World record relay Team in in the team competition, were led by this year. Others on the All-Academic World Championships in France sophomores Jeremy Blue and Nicholas Team are: its dominance of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, The Morehouse College athletics program continues Hall, along Mitchell. All-Sports • Joshua Manley-Lee, JerOMe SINGLeTON continues winning thewith 2013senior SIAC Karlton Commissioner’s Award. It’s thesophomore, fifth time in six years that Morehouse has won’11the award. his Blue was named 3.68 that achieves the most overall stellar success career ininthe and field world, The award, basedthe onmeet’s a pointmost system, goesmathematics, to the SIAC school alltrack of the conference valuable performer after winning • Blakeathletic Bufford, senior,won biology, 3.54 championships being part of world-record sports during the school year. Thethe Maroon Tigers program conference in atrack and fieldrelay and team cross discus throw and finishing second in the • Terrance White, senior, physics, 3.46 and winning a bronze medal in the 2013 country, and had runner-up finishes in tennis, golf and basketball. javelin throw. Hall was second in both • Arvon Amisial, senior, kinesiology, 3.46 International Paralympic Committee World the 5000-meter run and 10000-meter run • Kasahun Neselu, junior, biology, 3.45 Championships in Lyon, france. track andinfield team Winssteeplechase. eighth straight •siaC title and team Championship and third the 3000-meter Karlton Mitchell, senior,academic psychology, 3.44 n Singleton was part of the gold medal By Add SeYMOUr Jr. winning U.S. mens 4x100-meter T42-46 relay The Morehouse Maroon Tigers track and field team finished 2013 as the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic top team that finished theirConference’s race in 40.73 seconds, team on the field and in the classroom. smashing the previous record of 41.78 set by a They continued their dominance of the SIAC as they won their eighth consecutive conference trackteam and in field championship on South African 2012. April 20 at B.T. Harvey Stadium. It was the Maroon Tigers track and field program’s 13th conference title over the last world 18 years. Singleton, the defending The Maroon Tigers, who finished far ahead of Albany State and Stillman in the team competition, were led by sophomores champion, finished third behind Jonnie Jeremy Blue and Nicholas Hall, along with senior Karlton Mitchell. Peacock and richard Browne in the T44 Blue was named the meet’s most valuable performer after winning the discus throw and second in the javelin throw. 100finishing meters race. Hall was second in both the 5000-meter run and 10000-meter run and third in the 3000-meterSingleton steeplechase. was second in was Mitchell born without a the 1500-meter run and the 3000-meter steeplechase and fourth in the 800-meter run. fibula in his right calf and had his leg The squad also topped the SIAC in the classroom as they earned the 2013 SIAC Track amputated and field Academic below theTeam knee when he was Championship. 18 months old. He became a heralded Of the athletes who have the top 14 grade point averages in the SIAC, seven of them are Morehouse student-athletes. high school athlete in Greenwood, S.C., Hall, a business administration major, had a 3.91 grade point average, the highest among track and field athletes this Singleton, year. before coming to Morehouse. Others on the All-Academic Team are: an engineering major who was in the - Joshua Manley-Lee, sophomore, mathematics, 3.68 dual degree program, was a member - Blake Bufford, senior, biology, 3.54 of the flying Maroon Tigers track and - Terrance White, senior, physics, 3.46 field team when he learned about the - ArvonFlying Amisial, senior, paralympic movement. n The Morehouse Maroon Tigerskinesiology, celebrate after3.46 winning the 2013 SIAC championship. - Kasahun Neselu, junior, biology, 3.45 - Karlton Mitchell, senior, psychology, 3.44 C o m m e n C e m e n t 2 0 1 3 I C os mpm re mI onr aG t I v2e 0I s1s u3 e 37 moreHouse maGaZIne

alumninews national alumni association president’s message Rekindling Your Support for Morehouse

“Get on fire for Morehouse College once again. Get on fire for your dreams again...Whether that means that you take a new course, become a big brother or travel abroad, you can do something to keep the fire of purpose burning in your personal life. “

This past May, I celebrated my 20th reunion. As I participated in the weekend’s activities, I remembered my last moments on Morehouse’s campus as a student. I am sure that at some point after your graduation, you have done the same. You stood in that infamous graduation line-up, as equal parts anxiety and excitement hastened your heartbeat to breakneck speed. You listened to each name be called and did a mental high five when you heard the names of your classmates and comrades. You shifted from foot to foot. You waited … until your name was called, too. Do you remember? You turned your tassel. You were declared a Morehouse Man. You celebrated and you looked toward the future like an adventurer gearing up for his next big trip. You had plans. You had promise. You had ambition. You had a burning love for Morehouse College. Do you remember? Somewhere along the way, life did what it often does. It tired some of us. It jaded some of us. It frustrated some of us. It made some of us forget. We forgot about our ambitious selves. We misplaced our plans. We broke our promises to us. We convinced ourselves that our dreams were no longer possible. We let our love for Dear Old Morehouse become a thing relegated to the college years. We became complacent in the commitments that once gave us joy. Over the past few years, though, something happened. The leadership of our country started to look more like us, and we asked ourselves if the impossible was possible after all. Our nation’s level of entrepreneurship grew among African Americans, our political prowess increased, and our pursuit for the American dream hastened. Our alma mater began to change, our Alumni Association began to change. The Association began to direct its scholarship efforts towards helping seniors graduate so that no student would be denied their crown. There is change all around. In May of this year, President Obama, the leader of the free world came to Morehouse College, and he had this to say: “That’s what we’ve come to expect from you, Morehouse — a legacy of leaders — not just in our black community, but for the entire American community. To recognize the burdens you carry with you, but to resist the temptation to use them as excuses. To transform the way we think about manhood, and set higher standards for ourselves and for others. To be successful, but also to understand that each of us has responsibilities not just to ourselves, but to one another and to future generations. Men who refuse to be afraid. Men who refuse to be afraid.” His visit – his words – touched a place inside thousands of Morehouse alumni across the world. His call to accept our responsibility for future generations echoed the entreaties of many before him who love Morehouse as much as you once did. He helped them to remember. He helped you to remember. So, now what? What do you do now that the fire is catching once again? You tend it. You add kindling to it. You stoke it so that it grows and burns and glows with enough intensity to warm everyone around you. So, that’s my constant and earnest challenge to you: burn. Get on fire for Morehouse College once again. Get on fire for your dreams again. Burn toward your future again. Whether that means that you take a new course, become a big brother or travel abroad, you can do something to keep the fire of purpose burning in your personal life. And, as for Dear Old Morehouse, you can always come home. Join the Alumni Association. Give back to your alma mater at whatever level is comfortable for you. Come to upcoming Alumni Action Summit sessions to help vision the future of Morehouse and to enlist and empower the alumni leadership to collaborate with the College. A German poet once said, “Keep true to the dreams of your youth.” As you readied yourself to walk across that graduation stage so many years ago, what were your dreams? What did you dream for your life? For your college? Now’s the time to recapture those dreams. Keep true, my brothers, keep true to Dear Old Morehouse and her ideals, and in all things that you do. In the spirit of Dear Old Morehouse. n

Kevin R. McGee ’93, President Morehouse College Alumni Association MOREHOUSE MAGAZINE

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Morehouse Rhodes Scholar Tope Folarin ’04 Wins Top African Literary Prize By ADD SEYMOUR JR.

Tope Folarin ’04, Morehouse’s third Rhodes scholar, has earned another huge honor: the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story, “Miracle.” The Caine Prize, which has been awarded annually since 2000, is considered Africa’s top literary award. “Miracle” appeared in the 2012 edition of Transition magazine, which is published by Harvard University’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research. The story is set in an evangelical Nigerian church in Texas where the congregation has gathered to witness the healing powers of a blind pastor-prophet. Religion and the gullibility of those caught in the deceit that sometimes comes with faith rise to the surface as a young boy volunteers to be healed and begins to believe in miracles. “Winning the Caine Prize has been an incredibly gratifying experience,” Folarin said. “I’ve been writing in anonymity for years. I don’t have a creative writing degree, and I’d never taken a creative writing class when ‘Miracle’ was published. It was just me and my laptop. I’m pleased that so many people have read ‘Miracle,’ and that people are interested in my story.” Folarin was presented with his award and cash prize on July 8 at the University of Oxford, where he did his Rhodes studies. n To read “Miracle,” go to http://www.caineprize.com/pdf/2013_Folarin.pdf.

Roy Keith Jr. ’61, Morehouse’s Eighth President, Named President Emeritus Roy Keith Jr. ’61, Morehouse’s eighth president, has been named president emeritus, which is the College’s highest honor. During his tenure from 1987 until 1994, there were a number of notable accomplishments. The College’s endowment increased to more than $60 million, more than tripling what it had been just 20 years before; establishment of the College’s signature scholarship fundraiser, the “A Candle in the Dark” Gala and construction of the NabritMapp-McBay science building, the Thomas Kilgore Jr. Campus Center, Hope Hall and two residence halls. Additionally, Morehouse became the nation’s first historically black college or university to produce an African American Rhodes Scholar when Nima Warfield was named in 1994. Keith is currently chairman and CEO of Summit Management Group, LLC, and chairman of BLOC Global Services Group, LLC. He previously served as managing director of Almanac Capital Management. Prior to Almanac, Keith served as a partner with Stonington Partners, a private equity fund. Prior to this, he held the position of chairman

and chief executive officer of Carson Products Company, a publicly traded company, from 1995 to 1998 and served as chairman from 1998 to August 2000, when the company was acquired by L’Oreal. Keith took Carson public on the New York Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1996. The company’s Personal Care Products are sold throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, Brazil and Africa. In 1975, Keith was appointed chancellor of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, becoming the first African American to hold such a position in American higher education. He also served as an associate dean and assistant professor of education and urban studies at Dartmouth College. Keith serves on two private sector boards: Wells Fargo Advantage Funds and Virtus Mutual Funds. Honorary Doctors of Law have been conferred upon him by Bowdoin College and Dartmouth College. n

Lamell McMorris ’95 honored by Washington Government Relations Group Lamell McMorris ’95, a government affairs expert and entrepreneur, has recently received several noteworthy distinctions. This May, he was appointed chairman of the National Diversity Advisory Council (NDAC) of the American Red Cross. In October 2013, he will join the board of trustees for Miles College in Birmingham, Ala. Additionally, McMorris was presented the President’s Award for Career Achievement at the Washington Government Relations Group’s (WGRG) Tin Cup Awards’ fourth annual dinner. McMorris is founder and CEO of Perennial, a Washington, D.C.-based family of businesses that provides government, public, and community affairs services for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits, trade associa-

tions, and public-sector clients on a wide range of public-policy issues. The WGRG—a non-partisan, independent, volunteer association founded to enrich the careers of African American government relations professionals— annually bestows its award to individuals who have embodied excellence in leadership, service and professionalism in government affairs. Cited for his instrumental work in opening doors of opportunity through inclusiveness, and for his advocacy for diversity, access and inclusion in the profession, McMorris accepted the award alongside the D.C. area’s top business leaders, legislators and public policy experts. n

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TheRoadTaken

By dorian joyner sr. ‘13

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Dorian Joyner Sr. ’13 (left) graduates with his son Dorian Joyner Jr. ’13

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rom the time I applied for admission to Morehouse College to the day this past May when I graduated, nothing about my Morehouse experience has seemed normal. First, after receiving scholarships to several institutions, I found out Arthur, my best friend, was going to apply for admission at Morehouse. So I applied, too. But Arthur never applied. His father, a Virginia Union University graduate, told Arthur that he could attend Morehouse, but a check to cover tuition would go to Virginia Union. I decided to come to Morehouse anyway. It was the first time I saw so many black students in one location, and all were upwardly mobile. I was at the top of my high school class, but now I was amongst others who were like me. I will never forget walking around the Atlanta University Center and seeing people whom I admired. My first month, I saw the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who had just finished his campaign for president. I attended a concert in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel with jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who had just won Grammy awards. I ate at Pascal’s Restaurant where I saw civil rights icon Andrew Young. I heard Julian Bond ’71 and Maynard Jackson ’56 speak. I knew I was in a special place. I majored in both religion and psychology and had a minor in business. Classes were challenging and the professors were so interesting as they gave information far beyond what was in books. I had the pleasure of taking music classes under Dr. Wendell P. Whalum and religion courses with Roswell F. Jackson. I got involved in student government every year and served on the SGA my sophomore through senior years. During the first Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday, Coretta Scott King asked me to serve as the co-chair for colleges/universities. I participated in anti-apartheid protests (my oldest son, Dorian Jr., was born five minutes after Nelson Mandela was eventually released from a South African prison). I even gave approval to an up-and-coming film director and alumnus, Spike Lee ’79, to place his posters on campus for the premiere of his first film, “She’s Gotta Have It.”

Determined to Finish The years began slipping by … I took a picture of the stage after my brother, Edward, graduated from Morehouse in 1997. I put it up on my dream board as a reminder to finish at Morehouse.

I was the first person in the AUC who had a computer -- an Apple 2e with two disc drives. It helped me start a business my freshman year, Joyner’s enterprises Typing Service, which was the only next-day typing service in the AUC. I made $22,500 that year. Not bad for a freshman. By 1988, I had met my future wife. I also decided to take time off from school to explore my newfound computer interest with the intent of returning in a year. I began consulting, working on some significant projects and making a lot more money. At the same time, my wife and I started a family. The years began slipping by. I was doing well, but I wanted to return to Morehouse. Yet the timing never seemed right. I even took a picture of the stage after my brother, edward, graduated from Morehouse in 1997. I put it up on my dream board as a reminder to finish at Morehouse. I eventually worked for a law firm and became interested in law. I wanted to become an attorney or judge. Since Georgia has a program called the Hope Grant, which allows a person to get an associate’s degree for free, I first earned a paralegal degree and then, in 2009, decided it was time to come back to Morehouse. I read an article in Morehouse Magazine in 2010 about a father who returned to Morehouse and graduated a year before his son. When I registered for classes in 2010, I was determined to do the same. By then, the campus had changed. It was greener. You could have gourmet meals in Chivers dining Hall. everyone had laptops and there was Wi-fi. Campus life was

very different, but I managed to blend in. It was always funny to see students’ reaction when they heard my name. They’d ask if I had a son attending or they’d say there was a student who looks like me. Of course I acknowledged he was my son, but again, my goal was to come out the year before he did. However in 2011, I received news that I had prostate cancer. dealing with cancer treatments and still trying to meet my clients’ schedules meant I had to cut back to one class. I finished the treatments in 2012 and was able to resume a full class load. But that put me on track to graduate with my son instead of a year before him. So in 2013, the Joyner family has had a big year. It is my 25th wedding anniversary. My mother turned 80 and was able to see her son and grandson graduate from Morehouse. Now all of her children are college graduates. I was able to graduate with my son as the nation’s first black president delivered the Commencement address. And my youngest son graduated from high school and will attend Morehouse as part of the honors program, with the goal of becoming a doctor. I’m now planning to take law school and graduate school admissions exams with a goal of entering graduate school in 2014 to pursue the Jd and MBA. Needless to say, my life has been a whirlwind of surprises, and Morehouse has been at the forefront. I will always love and cherish this amazing institution and her ideals. n

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2013 Gathering of Men Reunion Classes

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Morehouse Magazine Commencement 2013 Commemorative Issue