Page 1

Celebrating Our




STEAM Growth in America The Morehouse Factor


This is what happens at

Morehouse. 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.

Abel Gumbo 2016 Higherlife Graduate mor




Celebrating Our




STEAM Growth in America The Morehouse Factor


ON THE COVER Prince Abudu ’16 2016 Rhodes Scholar Photo by David Collins






features depar tmen ts 6








2016 FOUNDER’S DAY As the College celebrated the achievements of the past, it was several future leaders who took center stage, including Founder’s Day speaker Bakari Sellers ’05, the youngest African American elected public official in the nation’s history, and a group of recent Journalism and Sports Program graduates who shared stories from their work at some of the nation’s leading media outlets.


2016 COMMENCEMENT For the first time in history, Morehouse College had not one, not two, but three valedictorians. Nearly 6,000 people watched as 380 students received their degrees. Zimbabwean telecommunications mogul and philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa delivered the Commencement Address. His wife, Tsitsi Masiyiwa, received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters. One of the highlights of the day came when nine of the 10 African scholars Strive sent to Morehouse crossed the stage to receive their degrees.




STEAM GROWTH IN AMERICA: THE MOREHOUSE FACTOR STEAM-related jobs are on the rise in the United States. We take a close look at the Morehouse people, programs and strategies that are making sure that minority students—particularly African American men—are factored into the burgeoning innovation economy.






Morehouse students receive a rigorous liberal arts education and an awakening of their capacity to demonstrate acuity, practice integrity, exhibit agency, commit to brotherhood and lead consequential lives. “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King Jr. ’48


Filling the STEAM Demand “Before I came here, I didn’t know much about Morehouse and now I want to come here and be a Morehouse graduate and an engineer.” –Omar Cox, a rising ninth grader and Morehouse College SMASH participant


orehouse College continues to embrace its place as an institution noted for producing strong, innovative leaders for the community, the nation and the world. As we celebrate our 150th year, it is critical that we continue to educate our students in the disciplines tied to the current and future workplace, and best suited for economic growth. Today, those jobs are in the science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) fields. The STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields are among the highest paying and fastest growing career tracks. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce in a report issued by its Economics and Statistics Administration, STEM workers command higher wages, earning 26 percent more than non-STEM workers. The report also revealed that, from 2008 to 2018, STEM occupations are expected to grow by 17 percent. Morehouse is preparing its students to fill those jobs. We are proud to become the first historically black college to join the Summer Math and Science Honors Academy (SMASH), an elite program with a mission to identify and train African American and other underrepresented technology workers to help fill the surging demand for STEM jobs in the United States and around the world. SMASH, headed by Level Playing Field Institute CEO Eli Kennedy, trains high school minority students in a five-week residential summer program that exposes them to computer science, math, science and engineering design. Our inaugural program this summer also exposed some very excited rising ninth-graders from underrepresented areas of Atlanta to the possibility of attending college. One of them, Omar Cox, experienced Morehouse for the first time through SMASH and now wants to become a Morehouse Man and a Morehouse-educated engineer. That is what happens at Morehouse! Besides Morehouse, the program has academies at the University of California-Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, and the University of California-Davis. I am proud of our work at Morehouse, but that work can only continue to thrive with the support of our alumni. Short of your support, our beloved institution like so many institutions of higher education, will be left vulnerable and weakened by economic conditions. We cannot thrive with a tuition-based dependency in the 21st century. Your commitment to give back is our only hope of continuing this transformational work, which has become the hallmark of Morehouse. Brothers, our students are destined to lead consequential lives, but they need your support. Onward,

It is critical that we continue to educate our students in the disciplines where jobs are available and where economic growth is feasible.

John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79



MAKE A GIFT TODAY The next generation of architects, activists, educators, engineers, poets, pastors, surgeons and senators need your support! When you give to Morehouse, anything is possible. Toward Character and Capital Preeminence


Preparing STEAM Leaders the Morehouse Way


he academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) continue to be a focal point for educators and policymakers because of the accelerated demand for qualified professionals in these fields. At Morehouse, we are continuing to develop our students to become the best STEM professionals they can be in a highly competitive and evolving marketplace. In this issue of Morehouse Magazine, we provide a special report on the unique and important role the College has in developing future innovators, especially those who are historically underrepresented, in the STEM fields (see pages 23 to 30). The College has received a boost in its efforts to diversify the STEM fields from mathematician and hedge fund manager Jim Simons and his wife, Marilyn, who recently pledged $2.5 million to help educate our math and science students. While we are focused on STEM, our eye is also on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). In order to be successful in the technical fields and excel in the innovation marketplace, students must also be creative. They must sharpen their critical thinking and open their minds to out-of-the-box solutions. These skills are best developed through exposure to the arts. According to an IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs, creativity was identified as the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future (Newsweek, July 2010). We also report on some of our outstanding alumni who are achieving professional prominence in the STEM discipline. Recently, Morehouse’s ninth president, Walter E. Massey ’58, made news for his support of the discovery of gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of space-time arriving from the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This prediction was made exactly 100 years ago by Albert Einstein and was based on Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Massey was director of the National Science Foundation when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory was approved for construction. Like Einstein, a Morehouse Man’s scientific genius will provide a gaze into the future. Speaking of the future, our young alumni have equally exciting STEM stories that put them squarely on the path to being future leaders in the innovation economy. Prince Abudu ’16 is the most recent example of what happens at Morehouse. He was educated at a school for orphans in Zimbabwe, where he worked hard and earned the Andrew Young International Scholarship that brought him to Morehouse. In full-circle fashion, his benefactors, Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa, watched him and eight other Young scholars receive their Morehouse diplomas during Commencement exercises this May. Strive was the Commencement speaker, and Tsitsi received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, the College’s highest honor. (See Commencement coverage starting on page 36). Prince fully embraced the Morehouse values of demonstrating acuity, practicing integrity, exhibiting agency, committing to brotherhood and leading a consequential life. His work earned him the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship (the College’s fourth such recipient), and he is now continuing his computer science studies at Oxford University. (See page 28). Finally, as we celebrate the College’s 150th anniversary, we observe a historic milestone that all who share in Morehouse’s mission to produce exceptional leaders can take pride in. But our work has just begun. There is much more that we can and will do to establish our place in the technological world as we shape men who will contribute to future discoveries—in the sciences, the arts and beyond. Sincerely, Cathy Clark Tyler Executive Director



John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 President Garikai Campbell Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Lacrecia Cade Chief of Staff Cathy Clark Tyler Executive Director of Strategic Communications and Managing Editor STAFF Executive Assistant Director of Web and Social Media Social Media Coordinator Special Events and Brand Coordinator Public and Media Relations Manager CONTRIBUTORS Editor Writers Photographers Graphic Design

Minnie Jackson Kara Walker Synera Shelton Chimere Stanford D. Aileen Dodd

Vickie G. Hampton Add Seymour Jr. Shandra Hill Smith Chandra Thomas Whitfield David Collins Wilford Harewood Philip McCollum Ron Witherspoon Glennon Design Group

Morehouse Magazine is published by Morehouse College,

Office of Strategic Communications, Office of the President. 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 Strategic Communications 830 Westview Dr., S.W., Atlanta, GA 30314 E-mail: Fax: 404-215-2729 SEND CHANGE OF ADDRESS AND CLASS NOTES TO: E-mail: 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.




Celebrating Our A HOUSE UNITED Dr. John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ‘79 , President, Morehouse College Excerpts from Opening Convocation Address, September 15, 2016 AS WE BEGIN THIS 149th academic year in the life of this great institution, and in my fourth year as president, I want you to know how excited we are about our great potential. Our vision for this place is drawn from what our forefathers envisioned for it. …And now, we honor all of them by pursuing a new kind of wholeness. We are after the kind of character and capital preeminence that will make Morehouse “the world of our dreams!”

On Character Preeminence …You all know about the 65-second controversy. Just before the San Francisco 49ers started their [first] preseason game, Colin Kaepernick sat down. I call it the 65-second controversy, because that is the average time it takes to sing our national anthem. You all know that, based in part on this past summer of strife, Colin Kaepernick decided to sit down for those 65 seconds. What he did provoked an outcry – he was called unpatriotic! Disgraceful! Dishonorable! You heard it. Many were confused by it. And even when President Obama weighed in, saying it is Kaepernick’s constitutional right to sit during the anthem, many folks stayed confused, insulted or outraged. In fact, folk seemed far more outraged by what Kaepernick did than by the outrageous injustices that provoked him to do what he did in the first place! Was that a Morehouse thing to do? You know, I don’t think what he did is that complicated. Really. …Colin Kaepernick sat for those 65 seconds to make a wordless statement! …As a matter of fact, let me tell you about a Morehouse way to spend those 65 seconds. Line up four Morehouse Men for those 65 seconds of the NEXT anthem and do this: ONE will sit, because we have sat-in and struggled for justice in this country; ONE will take a knee, because we have prayed for this country; ONE will stand with hand on heart, because we have loved this country; And ONE will stand in a military salute, because we have defended this country!


6 WINTER 2017


Sesquicentennial As we prepare to celebrate 150 years of standing and growing toward a crown of destiny, we have to come together and be united in new and powerful ways, never before imagined or experienced! On Capital Preeminence …The whole point of standing is to be and grow tall. And I insist to you that in the same way that there is a crown over the heads of all men of Morehouse and Morehouse Men that she challenges them to grow enough to wear, God is also holding a crown over the head of Morehouse College itself, and He is challenging every Morehouse president, every Morehouse administration and every era to cause this institution to stand and grow tall enough to wear an institutional crown, too! I have spent a lot of time in communion with the history of this institution, and I am fascinated by the obvious ambition of the men who preceded me in this role. …Each and every one of them saw a gap, a divide, between where we are institutionally, and where we need to be. Not one of them could be accused of low aim. Not one. William Jefferson White and the earliest leaders of this place were passionate about the task of giving these boys a great place to learn. And that quest remains. It remains, because if—no, when—we close that divide between our institutional condition and our institutional aspiration— then, and only then, can we wear that crown which we have been, for 150 years, trying to grow tall enough to wear…. n

FOUNDER'S WEEK 2017 February 12-19 FEB. 12 Sesquicentennial Pilgrimage to Augusta FEB. 14 “Show Your Love” for Morehouse Day FEB. 16 Sesquicentennial Convocation & Symposia FEB. 17 150th Anniversary Concert FEB. 18 “A Candle in the Dark” Gala and Reflections FEB. 19 Sesquicentennial Founder’s

Day Worship Service

For more information about the College’s 150th anniversary, visit

Let those [rays of light] be a reminder that you are a sun ray. I challenge you to continue to let your light shine. Each of you is the light. –SGA Vice President Ryan C. George ’17

Upon unveiling of the 150th anniversary logo during Opening Convocation




2016 NEW STUDENT ORIENTATION HISTORIC ARRIVAL Making history as the College’s 150th incoming class

Ken Newby ’96 with USUDC champions Drew Latimer and Jeremy Chen of Tufts University


Morehouse Is First HBCU to Host U.S. Universities Debating Championships MOREHOUSE BECAME the first historically black college or university to host the U.S. Universities Debating Championships (USUDC). Nearly 400 debaters representing more than 60 colleges and universities – such as Harvard, Stanford and Yale – across the nation converged on campus, April 9 – April 11, 2016, to compete for national championships in several divisions. The U.S. Universities Debating Championships have been held annually since 2005. In college debating, there are two distinct styles: American parliamentary debate, which emphasizes preparation and speed, and British parliamentary debate, which emphasizes persuasion. The USUDC followed the British format, in which a “motion” is announced 15 minutes prior to each round. Four teams compete, two on each side of the issue. The debaters, who have no advance notice of the topic, each give a five- to seven-minute speech. Judges then rank the teams in order of persuasiveness. Drew Latimer and Jeremy Chen, representing the Tufts Debate Society of Tufts University, emerged as the winners. The man behind bringing the championship to Morehouse is debate team coach Kenneth Newby ’96. Newby has led the Morehouse team in becoming the sixth ranked in the nation in the latest National Parliamentary Debate Association tournament rankings—the highest ranking of any HBCU in the country. Under his tutelage, the team also has won five national titles and is the only HBCU to ever compete in the World Universities Debate Championships. n MOREHOUSE MAGAZINE

8 WINTER 2017

TRANSFER OF TRADITION Learning ’House rituals and history

A BONDING EXPERIENCE Entering a lifelong, life-altering brotherhood


Jeh Johnson ’79: “Protesting Is Good, Finding Solutions Is Better” CROWN FORUM

MAKING THE GRADE Morehouse Gets High Marks in Recent Rankings AMONG TOP HBCUS

Jeh Johnson ’79 (center) with President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 (right) and David Wall Rice ’95 (left) By ADD SEYMOUR JR.

PROTESTING AGAINST the ills that face African Americans is fine, said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson ’79, but it is more important to follow up with solutions. “Whether it’s Black Lives Matter or any other movement to bring about social change …, it’s got to have two components,” Johnson explained. “First protest—peaceful, civil, obedient protest—to highlight an issue through a number of ways in a democracy that’s available to citizens.” Second, Johnson said, you must bring about change in a constructive manner that engages the political process. “That is actually the harder part of a movement,” he said. Johnson was participating in a discussion with his classmate, President John Silvanus Wilson ’79, and moderator Associate Provost David Wall Rice ’95 during the Aug. 25, 2016, Crown Forum in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. Johnson and Wilson drew parallels

between growing up in the 1970s, when black activism was extremely popular, and today’s movements. Wilson said he likely would have been involved in the Black Lives Matter movement as a student. But, he added, there is something just as important to consider in standing up against the injustices that black males face: pursuing your education. “Being out there protesting is a healthy thing to do,” he said. “But you still have to do well in the classroom. You still have to stay ambitious and go to graduate school and make your way up the ladder, because you will be a greater force for good than you can ever be in the streets working out that energy. You have to see the big picture. “You need to find among you strategic thinkers in how to engage the political process,” he continued. “Anger gets you a third of the way to what you want to achieve. And then there’s that other two-thirds that is necessary to bring about the change.” n

The U.S. News & World Report has again named the College among the nation’s top historically black colleges and universities. Morehouse is ranked fourth in the magazine’s annual 2017 Best Colleges issue. HBCUs are ranked according to their strengths in six categories: assessment by administrators at peer institutions; student retention; faculty resources, student selectivity; financial resources; and annual giving. The College has been named in the top five for each of the 10 years that U.S. News & World Report has ranked HBCUs. The magazine has also ranked Morehouse among the nation’s best national liberal arts colleges. To view a full listing, visit http://colleges.usnews.

AMONG TOP HBCUs FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS Morehouse moved from a sixth-place spot last year to be ranked fourth among the nation’s 107 HBCUs, according to College Choice’s 2016 HBCU rankings. College Choice is an independent, online publication that helps students and their parents find the right college through its postings of rankings and reviews. The rankings are based on factors that college freshmen indicated were important to their college choice, such as academic reputation, financial aid offers, overall cost and success of graduates in the post-college job market. For the entire list, visit rankings/best-historically-black-colleges-universities/.


Salute to Excellence MOREHOUSE HAS OPENED a new Military Center of Excellence located in White Hall. The center provides office space for ROTC military staff; residence space for midshipmen, cadets and military-affiliated students; a computer lab; and a lounge. Pictured during the ribbon-cutting on Aug. 31, 2016, are

(l-r) Rear Admiral Stephen C. Evans, commander, Naval Service Training Command; President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79; and Navy Captain Baron V. Reinhold, commanding officer, NROTC Atlanta Consortium.

Morehouse is one of the safest colleges in Georgia for 2016, according to BackgroundChecks,org, a public safety-focused organization committed to fostering public safety, community involvement, transparent government and education. The organization combined data from recent U.S. Department of Education reports, natural language analysis, social media sentiment analysis and its own research to create the list. Morehouse was ranked 34 in the list of Georgia colleges and universities.




“Great Aesthetic” Attracts Hollywood to Morehouse By ADD SEYMOUR JR.

RECENTLY, Morehouse has been the site of a NASA building in 1960s Virginia and a fictional, contemporary public historically black university campus. It is courtesy of Hollywood as Morehouse has become a popular site for the movie and television industry. While Georgia is experiencing a boom in movie and television productions being shot in the state (third only to California and New York and has accounted for an economic impact of $6 billion), that activity is beginning to trickle down to Morehouse. Since mid-March, the movie “Hidden Figures” and the television pilot “The Quad,” have been shot on campus. “Hidden Figures,” starring Taraji P. Henson and Kevin Costner, is the story of a group of African American women responsible for the mathematical computations that put astronaut John Glenn into space in 1962, making him the first American to orbit the Earth. “Morehouse was chosen by our production designer because he had been here before and knew Morehouse has the period-correct buildings,” said Jordan Schmidt, key assistant locations manager/ scout for 20th Century Fox. That production designer is Wynn Thomas, who worked with Spike Lee ’79 when they filmed “School Daze” in the Atlanta University Center.

“The Quad” director Rob Hardy (second from right) MOREHOUSE MAGAZINE

10 WINTER 2017

Cameraman and Morehouse Man Alfeo Dixon ’90 sets up a shot during filming of “The Quad.”

“It was important to him and our director that, since this is a true story about these African American women showing what great heroes they were for our country, why not shoot it at a black college? So we reached out to Morehouse. We didn’t really reach out to anyone else. Everything came together and worked perfectly.” “The Quad” is a BET production debuting in January 2017 that follows a first-year HBCU president (played by Anika Noni Rose), students and other parts of the campus through daily black college life. “We wanted to film “The Quad” at

Morehouse because it is one of the most prestigious historically black colleges and there is a lot of history here in civil rights and black history in general,” said Rob Hardy, executive director who lists among his credits episodes of the hit show “Empire.” “Morehouse has a great aesthetic because you have a centralized quad that’s surrounded by all of these historic buildings. You have great iconic monuments throughout campus and you have a state-of-the-art gym, band facility, football facilities, swimming pools, workout rooms, even a barber shop. So whatever you’re looking for to shoot, a campus movie or a period piece, you can find it right here at Morehouse.” “Having the productions on campus isn’t only good for those finishing film or television projects,” said Cathy C. Tyler, executive director of the Office of Strategic Communications at Morehouse, “it’s a lucrative, revenue-raising tool for the College.” “If you can play as NASA, as well as playing Georgia A&M, you have a very versatile location,” said producer Jim Bigwood. You’re going to have a lot of people who are going to want to take advantage of a new batch of buildings and a new batch of geography.” n


he loosening of travel restrictions to Cuba led to the widening of world views of students who visited the island in January 2016 as part of a 37-member Morehouse delegation. Besides soaking in Cuba’s culture and history, students learned one valuable lesson in particular: that the black experience is a powerful bond. Below are personal reflections from a special issue of The Maroon Tiger (Jan 29-Feb. 10, 2016) that covered the trip.


Morehouse faculty, staff and students with students in Cuba.

I WAS IMPRESSED with the Cuban knowledge of self. They know their history. Everybody in their country knew where they came from, everybody knows their roots. Unfortunately, not everybody — [namely] black people in our country—knows where we come from. “I can only imagine where we would be as a community if we all knew where we come from in terms of social justice and social change and equality throughout the country. They’re definitely ahead of us in that regard. –Alexander Harris Junior psychology major



THE HIGHLIGHT of my trip was meeting a wise man named CoCo.… Soaking up his knowledge allowed me to see how we shared more similarities than differences, even though we lived in different parts of the world. He showed a genuine concern and authenticity not because we were college students, tourists or Americans— but because we were black. He expressed love, understanding and the importance of solidarity and what that means for people of color. –Rasheeda Imani Jones Clark Atlanta University Master of Social Work, Class of 2016

AFTER ONLY a couple of days into my stay in Cuba, the amount of African influence in the country’s culture and identity had become clear to me. In the people, I saw Cubans of every shade—from sandpaper brown to midnight black. “In the music, I heard the upbeat rhythms of Son Cubano (The Cuban Sound) and Kumba, two Cuban musical styles rooted in the culture of enslaved Africans brought here during the Transatlantic slave trade. “In the religion, I was captivated by the traditional dance associated with Santeria, a religious practice brought to the Americas by slaves from West Africa. It is now practiced by approximately 70 percent of Cubans. “Every day, I was shown that my blackness was an identity that stretched far beyond American shores. –Vaughn Arterberry Junior CTEM and Spanish major




Recent College guests told the men of Morehouse that social consciousness begins with them—from top entertainers and a renowned educator, to former Black Panther leaders and the vice president of the United States.


“The value gap is the basic belief that white people matter more than everyone else. It’s embedded in the way we live our lives. They talk about recovery when our neighborhoods are devastated because they don’t value us. I knew at age 8, when we were moving from the black neighborhood to a white neighborhood, that my life was differentially valued just by the environment I was in.”

“[They said] a man has the right to chastise his woman… Women were raped—then go to court to be raped again…. After a while, we saw that we had to do more than change laws, we had to change cultural norms.” –Vice President Joe Biden, It’s On Us event, Archer Hall, Nov. 10, 2015

“I’ve heard about Morehouse College my whole life. I admire you guys for coming here and going through this program. The world is going to be a better place when you all get out. Keep doing what you are doing. Don’t let anybody stop you.” –Rapper, actor and director Ice Cube, promoting his latest movie “Barbershop: The Next Cut,” Sale Hall, March 18, 2016


12 WINTER 2017

–Eddie S. Glaude Jr. ’89, the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, March 4, 2016


“Throughout my career, the recurring theme is social consciousness music overall … but this song is just definitive of what I want my voice to be and who I am. I look at it like a call to action song more than anything. Even though I’m discussing the issues, it’s like empowering us to say, ‘Man, what are we going to do to contribute toward black American history in a positive way? Who are we going to be within the new story that we’re writing?’” –Common, Grammy and Academy award-winning musician on his new single “Black America Again,” Bank of America Auditorium, Oct. 24, 2016

“Russell Simmons talking about what ‘The Jeffersons’ meant to him—it had nothing to do with glitz. George Jefferson was writing a check. Before [Simmons] saw that on television, he didn’t know a black man could write a check. So it’s not the glitz, but the moments that made [viewers] feel like aw … I’m not alone.” –Noman Lear, television producer and creator of “The Jeffersons” commemorating the 40th anniversary of the longest running primetime sitcom to date with African American leads, at book signing of his memoir Even This I Get to Experience, Nov. 30, 2015. Pictured with actress Marla Gibbs.

“You have an obligation to know history, and you have an obligation to make history. Do not make the mistakes Kwame (Ture) and I did. We made history, but we did not write history.” –Bob Brown, former Black Panther Party leader, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party Movement with fellow leaders Bobby Seale and Kathleen Cleaver, Crown Forum After Dark, Bank of America Auditorium, Sept. 28, 2016 WINTER 2016 WINTER 2017



Sophomore Jarrell Jordan Named 2016-17 White House HBCU All-Star

Ulrica Wilson (center) accepts the Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award with President John Wilson ’79 and Provost Garikai Campbell.

Ulrica Wilson Wins Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award By ADD SEYMOUR JR.

MOREHOUSE COLLEGE mathematics professor Ulrica Wilson has been named the institution’s 2016-2017 Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award winner. Established by the Vulcan Materials Company and co-sponsored by the Georgia Independent Colleges Association, the award goes to an outstanding professor who demonstrates strong academic skills in the classroom and provides leadership and support in other areas of campus life. Wilson, an assistant professor whose research interests are in non-commutative ring theory and combinational matrix theory, joined Morehouse in 2007. She is also the associate director for Diversity and Outreach at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics at Brown University. She has received a number of awards, grants and fellowships during her teaching career, including fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson, Ford and Irvine foundations. Wilson has spearheaded work on grants designed to help Morehouse students get into graduate programs. She has mentored students as they complete their own research, and has served on curriculum committees, tirelessly working to make sure students get the academic support they need. Wilson also organizes an annual workshop to provide faculty participants from around the country on best practices for supervising undergraduate research projects. She also co-directs a program that prepares women for doctoral study and mentors them towards success in graduate school and in their careers. n MOREHOUSE MAGAZINE

14 WINTER 2017

SOPHOMORE Jarrell Jordan has been named a 2016-17 HBCU All-Star by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Jordan, a political science major from Birmingham, Ala., is one of 73 students from 63 HBCUs who has been recognized for their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement. “I’m elated and honored to represent Morehouse as a White House ambassador. My mission is to help change the lives of people all over the world,” said Jordan, who is executive secretary of the Morehouse College Student Government Association, a Bill Gates Millennium Scholar, and a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Assistants. Over the next year, the students will serve as ambassadors by providing outreach opportunities and communicating with other students about the value of education and the initiative as a networking source. n

Troy Story ’62

Anna Blumenthal

Story and Blumenthal Retire AFTER MORE THAN 60 combined years of providing instruction to scores of men of Morehouse, two longtime Morehouse professors have retired. Troy Story ‘62, a professor of chemistry, is leaving Morehouse after 39 years, while Anna Blumenthal, associate professor of English, retired after 22 years with the College. Story joined Morehouse College in 1977 after spending seven years as an assistant professor of chemistry at Howard University. He chaired the chemistry department at Morehouse from 1983 to 1999. Blumenthal taught writing, world literature, and, her specialty, American Literature. She was published in numerous journals in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom in the area of 20th-century American Literature. Her work explored the plays of August Wilson and Trinidadian-Canadian poet, Claire Harris. n


D.C. Living Legends Grand Reception Raises Money For Scholarships By ADD SEYMOUR JR.

Ambassador Andrew Young speaks to the audience.

Maynard Jackson III and Wendy E. Jackson discuss the legacy of Maynard Jackson ’56.

THE LIVING LEGENDS GRAND RECEPTION, presented by the Morehouse College National Alumni Association on Sept. 23, 2016, in Washington, D.C., brought together alumni, friends of the College and a range of luminaries for an elegant evening to benefit the Morehouse College General Scholarship Fund. Dr. Byron “B.K.” Edmund ’86 said the amount of money had not been determined by press time, but he was more than pleased that nearly 600 people attended the first-time gala. Dr. Corey Hebert ’92, a CBS medical correspondent, served as master of ceremonies. “It went very, very well,” Edmund said. “One of our goals was to have an event where we had the administration, board of trustees, faculty and alumni all working together for students.” “Living Legends” were recognized for their work. They included: Ambassador Andrew Young and Carolyn McClain Young; Henry and Billye Suber Aaron; Congressman Sanford Bishop Jr. ’68; Dr. Louis Sullivan ’54; Dr. David Satcher ’63; Rufus Rivers ’86; Charles M. Reynolds ’58 and Reesa Motley Reynolds; Robert M. Franklin Jr. ’75; Eddie Glaude ’89; John K. Haynes ’64; Martin Luther King III ’79; Michael Lomax ’68; C.D. Moody ’78; The Rev. Otis Moss Jr. ’56 and Calvin Mackie ’90. Also recognized were a group of “rising legends,” including: • Ebbon A. Allen ’00, academic counselor • David Anthony, entrepreneur • Christopher Campbell ’06, millennial involvement • Dazon Dixon Diallo, founder/president, SisterLove, Inc. • Tope Folarin ’04, author, Morehouse Rhodes Scholar • Dr. Monte O. Harris ’88, plastic surgeon • Aresius Miller ’09, founder/executive director, Utopian Academy for the Arts • The Rev. Beryl Whipple ’04, pastor, Mt. Hebron Baptist Church Guests were treated to a performance by the Morehouse College Quartet. They also viewed a trailer for the upcoming movie “Maynard” about Maynard Jackson ’56, the first African American mayor of Atlanta. Director Sam Pollard and Jackson’s daughter-in-law and son, Wendy E. Jackson and Maynard Jackson III, discussed the film and Jackson’s legacy. President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 called the event an example of “A House United,” which is the theme for the College’s 150th anniversary. “The Living Legends Reception is one of the ways the Morehouse community is working to ensure that men have a place to learn, develop and become the leaders this nation needs right now,” he said. n

The Morehouse College Quartet performs at the Grand Reception. WINTER 2017



Replacing Seats Is Part of Effort to Restore King Chapel



AS PART OF THE larger effort to restore the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, the CHAIRishing King Chapel Campaign allows alumni, corporations, foundations, fraternal organizations, parents and friends of the College to name a seat in honor of themselves, friends, family, businesses or in the memory of loved ones. “It’s a true opportunity to be part of something very special in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel,” said William Taggart, chief operations officer at Morehouse. “The Campaign not only allows us to renew the current seating of the Chapel, but it gives people a chance to tangibly show their respect and love

for a prominent building. It also gives people a chance to be a part of the Chapel’s continuing history and legacy.” ABOUT THE SEATS Auditorium seating for the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel is specified to be fine furniture, befitting its historic importance. The seats have sculpted threeinch thick cushions for ergonomic support, covered in Dacron® batting for initial softness and then upholstered in a durable 16-ounce loom woven fabric, Frenchseamed for a tailored appearance. The backrests are specified with optimum lumbar support. The seats retract using a silent gravity system with self-

Seats are $500 to $5,000 each, depending on its location. Seat purchase requests are available on a first-come, first-served basis. lubricating bronze bearings so no noise is heard as participants enter and leave. The chair standards are made of 100 percent aluminum. The end of each row is finished with a panel that reflects the Georgian Revival architectural style of the building and incorporates aisle lights to safely guide attendees to their rows. Each chair will have an engraved seat number and a varnished armrest cap, including the space for the donor plate. n

For more information, call (404) 215-2660 or go to For more information about the overall effort to restore King Chapel, go to


16 WINTER 2017


Vince Eagan, associate professor of business, charges his car while Andre Bertrand ’76, associate vice president for Campus Operations; Sandra VanTravis, Morehouse’s environmental health and safety officer; and Cornelius Willingham, Nissan’s electric vehicle strategy and business development manager for the Southeast and MidAtlantic, look on.

Nissan Donates Two Electric Vehicle Chargers to Morehouse CORNELIUS WILLINGHAM, Nissan’s electric vehicle strategy and business development manager, has been looking to promote electric vehicles by helping Nissan to donate electric vehicle chargers to colleges and universities. “But Andrew Starke (a Nissan dealer operations manager in Orlando, Fla., and a 1986 Morehouse graduate) came to me early on and said, ‘You’re giving these to all these larger schools. Let me point you to Morehouse.’ And we started to have a conversation,” Willingham said. That’s one of the reasons the College now has two electric vehicle chargers, both donated by Nissan. There is one on the bottom level of the Welcome Center Parking Deck and another in the old TRIO parking lot. They are free for anyone with an electric car to use. “It is great to be able to meet faculty and students’ needs, and help them as they move into electric vehicles and towards

sustainability,” said Andre Bertrand ’76, associate vice president for Campus Operations at Morehouse. “This is great.” The talk with Starke helped put schools like Morehouse on Nissan’s radar. “We wanted to make sure that there is equity in terms of distributions of the chargers,” Willingham said. “We wanted to make sure everyone is included.” At the same time, Bertrand and his staff were looking at installing EV chargers on campus. “We were pricing EV chargers in response to requests from some faculty members. And then Cornelius called me and I said, ‘This is excellent. Perfect timing!’” said Bertrand. It’s great news for faculty members like Vince Eagan, an associate professor of business. “I’ve owned three electric vehicles, so I’m quite ecstatic about it,” he said. n WINTER 2017




National Public Radio Morehouse Professor Weighs in on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Voter Comments Marc Lamont Hill, Morehouse’s Distinguished Professor of African American Studies, appeared on National Public Radio to discuss NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s comment’s that uninformed voters should probably not vote. Hill said we have to change the structural realities that lead people to make bad choices.


CBS-Baltimore Rev. Patrick Clayborn Takes Over for Reid at Bethel AME The Rev. Patrick Clayborn ’98 preached his first sermon at the 231-year-old Bethel AME Church in Baltimore.

AUGUST 30, 2016

Palm Beach Post First Black in 22 Years Elected to Bench, Two Other Winners Named Bradley Harper ’99 became the first African American elected to the Palm Beach (Fla.) County bench in 22 years when he won election to a county court judge seat.

AUGUST 29, 2016

The New York Times Blacks Beg to Differ with Trump’s Depiction Morehouse political science professor Matthew Platt was quoted in a story about presidential candidate Donald Trump’s outreach to the African American community.


18 WINTER 2017

AUGUST 25, 2016

Atlanta Journal Constitution First Day of Class The Atlanta Journal Constitution featured Morehouse in a photo spread about the first day of classes for college students.

AUGUST 16, 2016

Chicago Tribune For African-American Police Officers, A Foot in Two Worlds Chicago police Sgt. Ernest Spradley ’96 is quoted on how he was once pulled over by a white police officer, who cursed at him before knowing Spradley was also a police officer.

AUGUST 10, 2016

ESPN’s The Undefeated Morehouse’s David Satcher Leads National Effort to Combat Youth Concussions David Satcher ’63 was featured in a story in The Undefeated on The Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine, has spawned the creation of the National Council which on Youth Sports Safety. That organization has done extensive research on brain injuries and concussions in youths under 19.

AUGUST 4, 2016

“The Tom Joyner Morning Show” HBCU Presidents’ Letter Calling for Unity and Peace President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 and Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell were interviewed by radio legend Tom Joyner about a letter that they, and nearly 30 other HBCU presidents, authored and

signed. The letter issued a national call for the reduction of gun violence and raised awareness about the trauma it causes. The letter also called for an HBCU National Symposium on Gun Violence.

JULY 2016

The Huffington Post Why An HBCU Leader Felt Compelled to Speak Out on Race and Policing The Chronicle of Higher Education “What Should We Teach Them Now?” With the nation in intense debate about race and policing after the deaths of black men at the hands of law enforcement officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, and then after a black gunman killed five police officers in Dallas, President Wilson wrote two pieces that generated buzz around the country. Wilson first penned a letter to Morehouse students about why their lives matter. Then, he wrote about the three things— discipline, determination and staying on the high road—that young black men should be taught today.

JUNE 7, 2016 Understanding Muhammad Ali’s Identity and Our Own David Wall Rice ’95, assistant provost and chair of the Morehouse Psychology Department, wrote an opinion piece in Ebony. com. “The beauty of Muhammad Ali is that he was perfect and flawed, and he showed it,” Rice wrote. “Certainly, Ali is the Greatest, but his self seemed more than great. He demonstrated a balance of humanity in the face of hate without losing himself.”


JUNE 4, 2016

National Public Radio Coding While Black: Hacking the Future of the Tech Industry Michael Street ’11, who runs the group Black Men Code, was featured in a story about Code Start, a free, yearlong training program for low-income people 18-24, mainly African Americans. Street was teaching a class in which Morehouse students Philip Rucker, Damon Redding and Tyree Stevenson were being taught about coding.

MARCH 27, 2016

FEBRUARY 26, 2016

Prince Abudu, was part of the first group of scholars that the Higherlife Foundation, run by Morehouse trustee Strive Masiyiwa and his wife, Tsitsi, brought from Africa to Morehouse as Ambassador Andrew Young International Scholars. The news that Abudu became the College’s fourth Rhodes Scholar made headlines across Africa and the United States.

When then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his campaign rally to Morehouse’s Forbes Arena, the capacity crowd got a sudden surprise while waiting for Sanders to hit the stage – the men of the Morehouse chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., began to step. More than four million people viewed video of their performance and several media outlets featured the step performance.; Fox 5, Atlanta; BET; Atlanta Journal Constitution Masiyiwa Foundation Helps Take Gifted Prince Abudu to U.S’s Morehouse College and Now to Oxford

FEBRUARY 17, 2016

The Huffington Post; WXIA-Atlanta; CNN; ABC News; Morehouse College Students Perform Electrifying Step Routine at Bernie Sanders Rally

MSNBC Broadcasts Live Nationally From Morehouse

MAY 15, 2016

The Morehouse College Honors Three Valedictorians for the First Time in History

The nation heard from men of Morehouse from every political persuasion during three hours of live programming from Douglass Hall when MSNBC brought its three morning shows to campus on Feb. 26, 2016. The shows focused on the political climate during this year’s presidential race and featured discussion with a number of students, along with President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79. Also appearing were political veterans such as former Congressmen Bob Barr and Jack Kingston.

With a historic three valedictorians – Liam Davis, Ian Niemeyer and Willie Thompson – the Morehouse College Commencement weekend made newspapers and websites across the country. All three finished with 4.0 grade point averages. Compiled by Add Seymour Jr. WINTER 2017




Maroon Tigers at Full Strength as They Look to Make SIAC Title Run By LEE WILLIAMS ’17


HEN THE FINAL buzzer sounded after Morehouse’s 62-59 quarterfinal loss to Lane College in last season’s SIAC Basketball Tournament, there was a different sense of disappointment in the Maroon Tigers’ locker room. This was a team that finished the season 15-10, an underachievement for a squad loaded with potential, but marred by academic issues. “Last year, I was very disappointed because a lot of guys got in academic trouble,” said Morehouse head coach Grady Brewer ’80. “I thought our team last year was an NCAA Elite Eight or Final Four type of team at full strength. But this year, I am definitely looking forward to those guys we missed coming back.” One of those returning players is junior point guard Tyrius Walker, a former SIAC Freshman of the Year who led the team in minutes (30.4), scoring (13.4) and assists (3.3) before being forced to sit out second semester last season. “It feels good to be back and have the opportunity to play with my family and friends again,” Walker said. “I feel that, as team captain, Tyrius Walker ’18 I contribute a leadership role. Now, it’s my job to get this team to where we need to be and be the player me and my coaches know I can be.” Guard play will be the focal point of this year’s squad, which is projected to finish third in the SIAC East Division during preseason voting. Sophomore guard Ayinde Russell (14.4 ppg in 2015) looks to continue the momentum of a late season surge that led to his being named to the SIAC All-Tournament Team. Junior shooting guard Martravious Little is hoping to bring veteran leadership and a strong defensive presence that the team desperately missed last year. “I am ecstatic about this team and I cannot wait to be out there as co-captain,” Little said. “Our motto is ‘win by committing.’ Everyone has a job to do, and mine is to stop the best player on the opposing team and to score when needed. If everyone does their job, it will be hard to beat us.” n MOREHOUSE MAGAZINE

20162017 WINTER 20 FALL

MOREHOUSE COLLEGE 2016-17 BASKETBALL SCHEDULE JANUARY 2nd 5th 7th 14th 16th 21st 23rd 26th 30th

at Lane Kentucky State Central State Fort Valley State at Livingstone at Spring Hill at Paine Albany State at Clark Atlanta

Jackson, Tenn. Forbes Arena Forbes Arena Forbes Arena Salisbury, N.C. Mobile, Ala. Augusta, Ga. Forbes Arena Forbes Arena

3 p.m. 7 p.m. 3 p.m. 3 p.m. 2 p.m. 3 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7 p.m. 7 p.m.

FEBRUARY 2nd 6th 11th 14th 16th 18th 23rd

Benedict at Claflin at Benedict Clark Atlanta Miles Claflin Paine

Forbes Arena Orangeburg, S.C. Columbia, S.C. Forbes Aren Forbes Arena Forbes Arena Forbes Arena

MARCH 1st-4th SIAC Tournament

Birmingham, Ala.

Home games in MAROON AND BOLD

7 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 3 p.m. 7 p.m. 7 p.m. 3 p.m. 7 p.m.

Track and Field Legend Edwin Moses ’78 Featured on Wheaties Box A MOREHOUSE MAN has now been honored with his own Wheaties box. Track and field legend Edwin Moses ’78 is one of three Olympic gold medalists—joining swimmer Janet Evans and diver Greg Louganis—as the latest athletes to be honored in the Wheaties Legends series. “I was very impressed, because it’s a very prestigious honor to be on the box of Wheaties,” Moses said on the blog site. “Several icons in track and field, and people that I know, have been on the box—starting with Bruce Jenner in 1975—so it’s quite an honor to be included among that subset of athletes.” Moses was a member of the Morehouse Track and Field Team. After the 1976 season ended, he trained, and then qualified, for the Olympic Games in Montreal. With help from President Hugh Gloster ’31, Moses not only competed in the Games, but he won a gold medal and set a world record in the 400-meter hurdles. He broke that record the following year, but then lost a race in August 1977. After that race, he won 122 consecutive races spanning a period of nine years, nine

months and nine days. During his career, Moses won two Olympic gold medals, three World Cup titles and two World Championship titles. He retired in 1988 after winning a bronze medal in the Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. Moses is now the chairman of Laureus World Sports Academy, an international service organization of world-class athletes. He is happy with the photograph on the Wheaties box of him waving to fans. “I think the photograph that was chosen is really outstanding and says it all,” Moses said. “I think my fans will really appreciate the gesture from Wheaties. And I think maybe 10 to 15 years from now, people will still have those boxes.” n

Jerome Singleton ’11 Competes in Third Paralympic Games JEROME SINGLETON ’11 represented the United States in his third Paralympic Games in Rio in August. The Paralympic Games is a major international multi-sport event involving athletes with a range of disabilities. Summer and winter Paralympic Games are held in conjunction with the Olympic Games every four years, taking place in the same cities and venues as the Olympics. Singleton, a former member of the Morehouse Maroon Tigers Track and Field team, was born with a partial tibia in his right leg. He was 18 months old when doctors amputated his leg below the knee. He found out about the Paralympic movement while he was a Morehouse student and decided to give

it a try. That has blossomed into an impressive Paralympic career in which he was a silver medalist in the 100 meters and was part of the gold medal winning 4x100 meter team during the 2008 Paralympic Games. Singleton was part of the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team and has won a number of World Championship medals. In 2011, he defeated reigning champion Oscar Pistorius in the 100 meters world championship. Singleton didn’t medal in Rio, finishing sixth in the 100 meters and 13th in the long jump. He was part of the favored U.S. 4x100-meter relay team that actually ran a world-record time in the finals in Rio, but was disqualified after officials determined there was a bad baton handoff between two of Singleton’s teammates. n WINTER 2017 2016 WINTER



Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul BY EDDIE S. GLAUDE JR. ’89 CROWN PUBLISHERS, 2016

IN AN ERA where “Black Lives Matter” is passionately chanted in American streets, the question of how the lives of African Americans are valued has become a main conversation piece in this nation. Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves The American Soul (Crown, 2016), Princeton professor Eddie Glaude Jr. ’89 takes history, both recent and decades past, to show a “value gap” that allows white lives to be valued more than others. He points to the spate of police shootings of unarmed black men, specifically the one in Ferguson, Mo., where Michael Brown was killed. “The crisis currently engulfing black America and the country’s indifference to the devastation it has wrought illustrate what I call the value gap,” he writes. “We talk about the achievement gap in education or the wealth gap between white Americans and other groups, but the value gap reflects something more basic: that no matter our stated principles or how much progress we think we’ve made, white people are valued more than others in this country, and that fact continues to shape the life chances of millions of Americans. The value gap is in our national DNA.” Glaude examines other events, such as the Great Black Depression, which he said came during the 2008 economic downtown; President Barack Obama’s presidency and the cause of black liberalism; and living between two worlds—one, being the 1960s/70s version of the civil rights and Black Power movements, and the other defined by current political and economic situations. The final chapter, “Resurrection,” is Glaude’s idea of how to form a much more powerful expression of black politics today. He urges people to continue to take to the streets to protest bad policing, education structures and the need for jobs that provide livable wages. He urges a 2016 “electoral blank-out” where black voters turn out to vote in the presidential election, but leave the ballot blank “or write in ‘none of the above,’” he writes. In his conclusion, Glaude points to young people leading the way towards a revolution of value where they also have to change their habits. MOREHOUSE MAGAZINE

22 WINTER 2017

Aubrey Beardsley: A Catalogue Raisonné


AFTER WRITING A SECOND BOOK about artist Aubrey Beardsley in the 1990s, friends told Morehouse English professor Linda Zatlin that she should do a catalogue raisonne on Beardsley, a late 17th century artist whose decadent, humorous aesthetic style heavily influenced art noveau and modernism. “I said, ‘What’s that?’” Zatlin said with a laugh. Zatlin was convinced by those friends that she could put together the catalogue raisonne, which is a comprehensive, annotated listing of all the known artworks by an artist. She connected with an editor at Yale University to make the project happen. It did—22 years later. Aubrey Beardsley: A Catalogue Raisonné (Paul Mellon Centre BA, 2016) is the only full accounting of the drawings and paintings of Beardsley, who died of tuberculosis at age 25. Along the way, he influenced artists such as Pablo Picasso, and Wassily Kandisky. Using her summers off from Morehouse to travel overseas for research and to track down all of Beardsley’s drawings, it took Zatlin 16 years to complete the research and nearly six years for the book to be completely edited. “It was going to happen because I had done all this research and I felt indebted to all of those people who supported me,” she said. “What I want people to see is the wealth and beauty and the humor that he had, the wealth of styles,” Zatlin said. “For the most part it will go to museums, libraries and be an art historical recourse. It’s not a book that you read. It’s a book that you dip into.”

Dealing With This Thing Called Life: The Self-Help Book for ALL Ages BY CHRIS SUMLIN (PROVING PRESS, 2016)

CHRIS SUMLIN ’17 had a lot of time to think during an internship in Los Angeles two years ago. Already a well-read man of Morehouse, Sumlin began to read even more and picked up a number of important things from each book he read. “I learned so much over that summer, just about my life and stuff like that,” he said. “And then I said, “Maybe I should write a book.” Taking the name of a sermon that his dad once preached, Sumlin wrote “Dealing With This Thing Called Life,” which is a group of 12 lessons about life that came to him during that summer in L.A. Weaving personal stories with motivational ideas, Sumlin delves into issues such as self-confidence, positivity during stormy times, being faithful instead of fearful, and doing the best job possible. Sumlin wanted to reach out to readers of his generation with a book that speaks directly to their concerns about life.


The Morehouse Factor Morehouse is playing a critical role in ensuring that talented minority students are inspired, encouraged and prepared to take advantage of the burgeoning innovation economy.

WINTER 2017 2016



FILLING THE NEED Morehouse Continues Legacy of Preparing African American STEAM Graduates By ADD SEYMOUR JR.


ABEZ BEAZER ’16 loved being a member of the Morehouse tennis team, but for four years, he had something much more important on his mind – helping people. “I know what it’s like to be without health care,” said Beazer, who is now attending the Morehouse School of Medicine. “I wanted to be a professional tennis player, but then realized I didn’t have the passion or potential for it. I also realized that I liked biology a lot and I liked being able to relate to people and building a rapport with them. So I knew I was going into medicine. “Whatever I do in medicine, I want to have an emphasis on the underserved community because that was the community that raised me,” he said. Beazer’s story represents a lot of what Morehouse has and is producing in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, known as STEM. Generations of Morehouse Men have used their STEM education to improve the lives of people worldwide. Among them are Samuel Nabrit ’25, a former member of the Atomic Energy Commission; Dr. Donald Hopkins ‘62, who helped kill smallpox and is now working to eradicate the Guinea worm; former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary Dr. Louis Sullivan ’54; former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher ’63, and Dr. Rod Pettigrew ’72, a physician and nuclear physicist. Even track and field legend Edwin Moses ’76 studied physics and industrial engineering and has been respected in those fields. As this listing illustrates, Morehouse has been a leader in preparing African American men for careers in the STEM disciplines. But, in today’s innovation market, the need for STEM graduates, particularly minority ones, is at an all-time high. It is estimated that by 2018, there will be more than 8.6 million STEMrelated jobs available across the nation.


24 WINTER 2017

STEAM REPORT In the medical field, there is a predicted shortage of between 45,000 and 90,000 doctors by 2025. Yet, in 2014, 73 fewer black men applied to medical school than in 1978, and 72 fewer matriculated, the only minority group to see declines. Morehouse is dedicated to filling the need the future holds for the STEM disciplines. According to data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, the College was the top producer of black male baccalaureates in biological sciences, physics, psychology, as well as mathematics and statistics over the ten-year period from 2005 to 2014. The College was also the second highest producer of black male baccalaureates in chemistry over the same period. Moreover, according to data from the National Science Foundation, Morehouse was the top bachelor’s degree institution for black men who earned doctorate degrees in life sciences and physical sciences from 2005 to 2014. President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 said that while those numbers are great, the College still has work to do in helping to make sure there are more men to fill the void of college graduates prepared to take on the rising number of STEM-related jobs in this country. Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Garikai Campbell has been working on a long-range strategy for how the College approaches instruction for STEM and STEAM, which includes the arts. “Our STEAM initiatives will drive our strengthening of the areas critical to preparing our students for today’s innovationdriven economy, said Campbell, who is a mathematician. “These initiatives acknowledge the need for and support a collaboration with the arts—broadly conceived to include the liberal arts—to influence our treatment of these scientific areas, and for science to impact how we train leaders to explore and imagine the arts,” he said. The College’s first lady, Carol Espy-Wilson, is a renowned electrical engineer, a respected professor and the founder of OmniSpeech, a company that offers technology to improve sound quality over cell phones, hearing aids and other devices. Shortly after arriving at Morehouse, she started the Carol Espy-Wilson STEM Scholarship Initiative with a goal to increase the number of Morehouse students pursuing graduate degrees in STEM fields; influence scholarly scientific activities emphasizing strong student-faculty and alumni interaction; and intensify student recruitment and research. It all combines to form a College that is even more focused on being a leader in producing the STEM graduates needed in today’s economy. Beazer, who will go into primary care or general surgery, is an apt example. “Morehouse made me evolve into a better student,” he said. “But it also helped me to be comfortable with being who I am. This is the place where I found confidence in myself and confidence in my abilities.” n

STEM PROGRAMS AT MOREHOUSE BUILDING RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE CAPACITY (BRIC) provides resources to strengthen faculty-initiated research projects and to foster more robust research training for faculty and students. Focus is on the development of minority scientists and eliminate health disparities. DISCOVERING RESEARCH EDUCATION FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN IN STEM, funded by the National Science Foundation, recruits promising black male students in the 11th grade in an effort to grow the pool of African American men to teach science and math. ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientist) advances science and technology by providing financial awards to academically outstanding students studying to complete degrees in science, engineering and medical research. HEALTH CAREERS PROGRAM plays a major role in attracting and increasing the number of Morehouse undergraduates applying to and entering health professional schools. HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM, through the support of National Science Foundation, is enhancing the quality of STEM instructional and outreach programs with a goal of increasing participation in the nation’s STEM workforce. THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY STEM SCHOLARS PROGRAM: supports 15 students annually with tuition scholarships. Students must be in STEM majors or studying energy or economic development, and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above. MICRO/NANO OPTICS RESEARCH & ENGINEERING LABORATORY is a state-of-the-art instructional and research laboratory that has an array of advanced technology not normally available to undergraduates—ranging from optical and computational software to nanostructure characterization equipment. MINORITY ACCESS TO RESEARCH CAREERS/UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT TRAINING IN ACADEMIC RESEARCH PROGRAM, funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, provides tuition and other support funding in an effort to increase the pool of minority students who want to earn a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. THE MOREHOUSE COLLEGE CULTURAL RELEVANT COMPUTING LAB PROGRAM: investigates societal issues had by people from a variety of different cultures and their possible computing based solutions. Projects fall under the categories of Data Science, Computer Science Education, Broadening Participation in Computing, Virtual Humans, Virtual Mentoring Systems and E-Learning. PHSI – PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCES INSTITUTE was created under a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to train and mentor undergraduate students in biostatistics, epidemiology, and occupational safety and health. RISE - MINORITY BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH SUPPORT PROGRAM RESEARCH INITIATIVE FOR SCIENTIFIC ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM has a goal of increasing the number of Morehouse students successfully matriculating in the sciences, and increase the number of students completing graduate-level study in biomedical research programs. RONALD E. MCNAIR POST BACCALAUREATE ACHIEVEMENT PROGRAM is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities as they progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post baccalaureate programs. The program provides students the opportunity to publish with their faculty mentors and/or present research findings. S-STEM: RENAISSANCE SCHOLARSHIPS TO TRAIN FUTURE ENGINEERS AND PHYSICAL SCIENTISTS is a pre-engineering program that supplements basic science studies in engineering-relevant fields (e.g., physics, chemistry, computer science and mathematics) through coursework, research, support programs and service projects. STEP - STEM TALENT EXPANSION PROGRAM has a goal of increasing the number of students who receive baccalaureate degrees by increasing retention. The program identifies at-risk students in their freshman year, then provides them comprehensive support and scientific literacy courses. WINTER 2017



CHANGING THE FACE OF STEM Morehouse initiatives and activities that are ensuring minority scholars are prepared for the innovation economy Morehouse Is First HBCU to Host Program that Exposes Middle School Students to STEM Opportunities

Jim and Marilyn Simons

Jim and Marilyn Simons Pledge $2.5 Million for STEM Education at the College MOREHOUSE HAS RECEIVED a $2.5-million pledge from mathematician and hedge fund manager Jim Simons and his wife, Marilyn, to be used for STEM education. “Marilyn and I deeply appreciate the unique role that Morehouse plays in our country,” said Jim Simons. “We are fortunate to be able to support Morehouse in its efforts to provide top-quality math and science education to a cohort of future leaders in the STEM fields. It is our hope that Morehouse graduates will serve as role models and help attract new and diverse talent to the STEM professions.” The Simons are long-time, staunch supporters of education. She is co-chair of the Stony Brook University Women’s Leadership Council. He has a distinguished career in academia, government and finance. Together, the couple heads the Simons Foundation, whose mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. President John Silvanus Wilson ’79 said the Simons’ gift helps the College continue to produce leaders—particularly those from underrepresented groups—in the STEM disciplines. “We take seriously our role in the effort to not only make sure that we provide a top-quality STEM education, but also to make sure the STEM fields reflect the diversity of this great nation,” he said. “I thank Marilyn and James Simons for seeing Morehouse’s role and for being a vital part in this important work.”n MOREHOUSE MAGAZINE

26 WINTER 2017

MOREHOUSE IS THE FIRST HBCU and only school outside of California to become part of the Summer Math and Science Honors (SMASH) Pathways Program. The San Francisco-based Level Playing Field Institute’s (LPFI) program is designed to expose underrepresented middle school students to opportunities in STEM careers. Students participate in hands-on activities and field trips, and are exposed to mentors and role models who teach them about STEM career opportunities. “We cannot expect children from underrepresented communities to flourish in the tech space if they are not provided the same resources and opportunities to participate as their more privileged counterparts,” said John Silvanus Wilson ’79. “At Morehouse, we are proudly taking the necessary steps to ensure we change the status quo in tech by partnering with LPFI and offering this opportunity on our campus for youth in the greater Atlanta community.” n

Math Department Honored for Devotion in Encouraging, Mentoring Math Students THE DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICS has been named a 2016 Mathematics Program that Makes a Difference Award winner by the American Mathematical Society. The award recognizes outstanding programs that address the issue of underrepresented groups in mathematics. According to David Savitt, chair of the Society’s award selection committee, the Morehouse math department “goes the extra mile to encourage and challenge its students.” “The faculty members show great care and devotion in their teaching and mentoring, and they also open students’ horizons by, for example, offering research opportunities and getting students to participate in conferences,” he said. n


Morehouse, AUC Schools Partner With MSM on New Undergraduate Academy THANKS TO A $3-MILLION grant from Kaiser Permanente, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) has created a program to help underrepresented students enter graduate-level study in the health and biomedical fields. The Undergraduate Health Sciences Academy at the Morehouse School of Medicine was announced Sept. 16, 2016. The Academy provides tutoring, mentoring, research and support for undergraduate students at Morehouse, Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College. The goal is to advance and help ensure the success of the next generation of diverse healthcare providers and increase the potential of students to successfully progress to medical school and pursue careers along the healthcare pathway. “Partnerships like this are not only key to helping us transform the future of health care and medical education, but help ensure that those who are on the front lines of community health reflect the diversity of our nation’s communities,” said Dr. Ronald Copeland, senior vice president of Diversity & Inclusion Strategy and Policy, and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Kaiser Permanente. “The program allows participants who are underrepresented in biomedical sciences to not only collaborate with our faculty and students, but to join a community effort to provide culturallyrelevant, compassionate care,” said MSM President and Dean Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice. n

Lifting Diversity by Hosting Platform Summit FOR TWO CONSECUTIVE YEARS, Morehouse has hosted the Platform Summit, an annual event focused on diversifying the innovation economy. The two-and-a-half-day event has featured such tech and business luminaries as Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder; David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president for corporate development and chief legal officer; Topper Carew, filmmaker and urban design director at MIT’s Innovation Center Initiative; and Ben Jealous, partner at Kapor Capital and former CEO of NAACP and a Morehouse trustee. n

Morehouse President, Students Attend Global STEM Forum By SHANDRA HILL SMITH

ABEL GUMBO ’16, has held fast to a goal of doing his part to bring advances in technology to his homeland and beyond. The Zimbabwe native’s interests solidified even more when he traveled with three other Morehouse College students in March 2016 to Dakar, Senegal, to attend the first Next Einstein Forum (NEF). The Next Einstein Forum brings together leading thinkers in science, policy, industry and civil society in Africa to leverage science to solve global challenges. An initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, NEF mobilizes the brightest minds to address the most pressing problems through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as the social sciences. “One of the reasons I got into technology is because I strongly feel that technology has a huge part to play in solving some of the problems [Africa] faces as a continent,” said Gumbo, adding that he likes “how technology can be used to efficiently deliver better services to people.” The global meeting of the minds was sponsored by a grant from The MasterCard Foundation-African Student Global Leadership Development Fund. Gumbo joined fellow students Obey Justice Chiguta, also of Zimbabwe and a fellow Andrew Young International Scholar, Leandre Kibeho of Rwanda and Saidou Ngaide of Mauritania. President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79, spoke at the conference. Some of the panel discussions were on topics ranging from best-practice educational programs to train tomorrow’s science leaders, to how to get more women in science in higher education, to how STEM research and capacity may contribute to a sustainable innovation ecosystem. For Gumbo, the experience “was more of a reminder of where I want to go in life. It’s one thing to know what you want to do, but it’s another seeing people who are actually doing it and knowing that it’s something that can be done.” n WINTER 2017



PATH TO THE RHODES Prince Abudu’s Journey from a Small African Farm, Through Morehouse, and on to Oxford University



ANNY BELLINGER, the former director of admissions at Morehouse returned from a trip to Africa to meet with the first group of students in the Andrew Young International Scholars Program during the summer of 2012. With a wide smile on his face, he said, “This is a great group. I promise you, there is a Rhodes Scholar in this group.” Turns out Bellinger was right in his prediction. Prince Abudu ’16 became the College’s fourth Rhodes Scholar, and the first to major in a STEM discipline, when he was chosen as the representative from Zimbabwe in late 2015. It’s an honor that Abudu said he has always hoped to achieve. “This would not have been possible without the support of my family in Zimbabwe and the new family that I have been blessed with at Morehouse College. This is an opportunity that I have dreamed of all my life.” Abudu was always one of the better students when he was in school in Zimbabwe. He grew up on a small farm in Chegutu, Zimbabwe where his mother made $40 a week.


28 WINTER 2017

“I was good in every subject,” Abudu said. “I was the top student in English; I was the top student in native language honors, history, math and physics. “My teacher told me that I should pursue physics in college.” But in computer science, I was probably second or third best. It wasn’t my strong point. A computer science project changed that. A teacher asked him to create a computer system. He created a video library system that tracked customers coming in for books. Then his older brother gave him a computer, something hardly any of his classmates had to call their own. “It was very, very old, but it got the job done,” Abudu said. “It actually had Windows XP. But it got the job done and it changed my interest.” When it was time to choose a college, Abudu jumped at the chance to apply for the Andrew Young International Scholarship. The scholarship is provided by Strive and Tsitsi Masiyimwa (see related article on page 37) through their Higherlife Foundation, which helps educate African children. The Morehouse tradition and a strong legacy of science, technology, engineering and mathematics teaching was a huge draw, he said. When he got to Morehouse, he

immediately dove into his studies. He also gained an early mentor in Kara Walker, the College’s director of Web and Social Media. Finding out that he was a computer science major, she put him to work building web pages and sites for the Office of Strategic Communications. “Right now, one of my most powerful areas in computer science is building web sites and doing databases for them,” he said. “That started my freshman year with Ms. Walker.” Abudu also found time during his Morehouse years to co-found an organization called Emergination Africa that allows college-aged students to mentor young people in Africa. Currently, he is pursuing a master’s in science in computer science and an MBA at Oxford University in England. Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 said that Abudu entered Morehouse with the tools to succeed. “He arrived at Morehouse with no small degree of raw intelligence, grit, and a clear and compelling determination to succeed,” Wilson said. “He has developed into the iconic Morehouse Man who is academically, socially and spiritually equipped to lead and do consequential things in the world.” n


FROM DARK DAYS TO STEM POWERHOUSE Robert E. Johnson ’82 Leads Becker College in Becoming Digital Games Top Player


By ADD SEYMOUR JR. OBERT E. JOHNSON ’82 had no plans to become a college president. “All I knew is I wanted to go out into the world, make a difference and lead an organization,” he said. “That could have been a for-profit, a non-profit, or as it turns out, a college or university. But I knew I was going to lead something. There was something within me and I knew it was going to happen. It was something I was meant to do.” What he has done over the past five years is lead Becker College, a small liberal arts institution in Massachusetts, through a darker period in its history to become one of the nation’s most respected technical institutions. In fact, the college’s digital games program has been ranked nationally and/or internationally for seven consecutive years. A Detroit native, Johnson had always planned on attending an HBCU. His uncle, Jet magazine publisher Robert E. Johnson ’48, advised him to try Morehouse. An economics major, Johnson graduated and went to work in the corporate sector and as a motivational speaker. His uncle then referred him to Central State University president Arthur E. Thomas for potential speaking engagements. Instead, Thomas

offered Johnson a job. “I said, ‘Never. Higher education? It’s never going to happen,’” Johnson recalled. But Thomas, knowing that Johnson was pursuing a master’s degree in marketing, offered him a job as vice president for Enrollment and Marketing and the chance to earn his graduate degree for free. Johnson took the leap. In Thomas, he found an attentive mentor. “He would invite me to the cabinet meetings. After the meetings, he would take me to his office and explain some of the things in terms of decision-making. It was one of the most interesting and unique experiences. I was like, ‘You know, I’d like to do this.’” Johnson moved up the higher education ranks, becoming vice provost at Oakland University, vice president of Enrollment Management at the University of Dayton and senior vice president at Sinclair Community College. Meanwhile at Becker, the president left his post for another presidency in 2008. An interim president and the college’s board of trustees were running the school during the nation’s economic recession that ravaged the higher education landscape. Becker felt the impact. Student enrollment and the endowment dropped.

Washington Monthly magazine even listed the college as one of the nation’s worst when it came to net price, average student debt, default rate and graduation rate. Johnson took another leap, eager for the challenge to lead the college. “I chose Becker because it was like a piece of clay,” he said. “They had some programs that needed a bit of polishing, branding…, but it was poised for change.” Much of that change focused on STEM fields. While the nursing and veterinary science programs continue to be strong, Becker has carved out a niche as a center for digital game technology. “You’ve got to have a niche,” said Johnson. “You’ve got to know your brand and you have to keep at it.” In 2015, the college was ranked ninth in the world as a place to study game design. It is also home to the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute, a statewide endeavor that fosters partnerships between the digital games industry, academia and the public sector. Today, enrollment at Becker is the highest in the college’s history. “Right now, 52 percent of our students are in some sort of STEM major,” he said. “My guess is that within the next seven years or so, we’ll probably be at the 75 percent mark.” n





Creating Opportunities

Fostering Diversity

WALTER E. MASSEY ’58 is president emeritus of Morehouse and the former director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), a position in which he was appointed by former President George H.W. Bush. This year, a then-controversial $205-million research program that he championed during his tenure with NSF has resulted in a major discovery: gravitational ripples created by the collision of two black holes some 1.3 billion light years away. These waves were predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago. The finding will allow researchers to better understand the cosmos, according to a 2016 story in Crain’s Chicago Business. “It’s mind-boggling,” Massey told the newspaper. “It was hard to say what we might find if we funded [the project]. But the more fundamental thing is that, as human beings, we want to learn as much as we can about who we are and where we are in the universe.” Massey has also served as vice president for research and professor of physics at the University of Chicago; director of the Argonne National Laboratory; and provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs for the University of California system. n

PAUL JUDGE ’98 is a highly regarded inventor, entrepreneur and investor. In October 2016, he launched Atlanta Startup Battle, the first of a quarterly competition that is part of his company TechSquare Labs. The competition’s mission is to identify the city’s top early stage technology startups and invest in their continued success. Atlanta Startup Battle will provide Atlanta’s top technology startups a structured way of accessing mentors and active investors. Five investor judges who judged each event were active early-stage investors from venture capital firms. Following a three-week application period, the Top 10 teams participated in a full day of mentoring, which included sessions on go-to-market, business development, technology, user experience design, fundraising and pitch preparation. Later, teams that advanced to the Top 5 presented live to the investor judges, as well as to Atlanta’s technology eco-system. “When I co-founded TechSquare Labs, the idea was to help Atlanta build and scale big meaningful businesses,” said Judge. “This battle will become the jumping-off point for many of Atlanta’s biggest successes.” n

DAMIEN HOOPER-CAMPBELL ’02 is the first chief diversity officer for eBay, where he is responsible for leading the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts, creating new programs and expanding existing activities that foster an inclusive culture. “eBay is one of the pioneers in harnessing technology to level the playing field by creating a global marketplace that is truly inclusive and diverse,” said Hooper-Campbell. “I look forward to leading eBay’s efforts to foster an even more diverse and inclusive workplace, which I believe can contribute to increased innovation and even better engagement with eBay’s hundreds of millions of buyers and sellers around the world.” Hooper-Campbell was also the first global head of diversity and inclusion at Uber Technologies. Prior to that, he was a diversity business partner and community strategist for Google’s Diversity, Integrity and Governance Division. n


30 WINTER 2017


“There Is Still a Crown Above Me”



At Morehouse, Bakari Sellers ’05 found a second home where the tradition of service and leadership was just as strong as the home he left.

HERE ARE two men whose lives of sacrifice and service have placed an indelible imprint on Bakari Sellers ’05. One is his father; the other, a Morehouse brother. Sellers, who was the 2016 Founder’s Day Convocation speaker on February 11, 2016, recounted how his father, Voorhees College president Cleveland Sellers, was indoctrinated into the civil rights movement when he was dispatched to Philadelphia, Miss., on a mission to look for three missing civil rights workers. As gruesome as the search for James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner was—they eventually were found murdered 44 days after their disappearance—Sellers would return home to face worse. The Orangeburg Massacre of 1968 turned out to be one of the most deadly civil rights demonstrations this country had ever seen. “[Students at South Carolina State University] didn’t foresee what would happen next,” recounted Bakari Sellers. “They didn’t know that shotguns would be turned on them with deadly aim. They didn’t know that it would not be rubber bullets, but buckshots fired at them.” Three were killed; 27 were wounded, including his father, Cleveland. The elder Sellers was taken to the hospital and, as fate would have it, the only black deputy in the town pointed him out as a protestor and had him arrested.

Bakari Sellers ‘05

Bakari came from a family where “service was a way of life—not a way to make a living.” At Morehouse, he found a second home where the tradition of service and leadership was just as strong. He also found a Morehouse brother, Horace Julian Bond ’71, who inspired and influenced his career as an activist.



FOUNDER’S WEEK 2016 “It’s been four months since [Bond] passed, but I still can hardly talk of him without crying,” said Sellers. “That giant of a man … my mentor and my friend. “As much as I love and respect that honorable man, Barack Obama, I hope people will say I’m more like Julian Bond than Barack Obama,” he said. After graduating from Morehouse with a degree in African American studies, Sellers earned a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Then, unfazed by the lure of big cities and even bigger money, he returned to his hometown of Denmark, S.C., population 3,426, where the median income is $18,000. “I went to serve,” he explained. “I went to do what a Morehouse Man should. I went where I was most needed,” he said, as he listed great Morehouse Men who had preceded him. “None of these men intended to be great men,” he continued. “They were like you—intelligent and energetic and studying. But when history asked who will go, they

answered, ‘Here am I, Lord. Send me.’” Sellers also answered the call. He made history when, at age 22, he became the youngest African American elected official in the nation’s history. He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, serving 2006 to 2014, and also was one of the youngest state representatives in the nation. Sellers, who is currently an attorney with the Strom Law Firm, LLC, of Columbia, S.C., represented the 90th District in the lower house of the state legislature and has served as a member of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus since 2006. He has worked for U.S. Congressman James Clyburn and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. He also has had extensive leadership experience working for the Democratic Leadership Council and Obama for America. He has been featured in Politico, and Time magazine listed him as a rising star of American politics in its “40 Under 40” listing. Despite giving up his seat to bid

unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2014, Sellers has continued to be a voice for social justice and equality. He appeared regularly on cable news after the shooting of Walter Scott, a black man fatally shot by a white North Charleston police officer following a daytime traffic stop in April 2015. Three months later, Sellers joined CNN as a commentator on race, politics and legal matters. After his Founder’s Day Convocation speech, Sellers was given the Presidential Award of Distinction by President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79. “I have rarely given the Presidential Award of Distinction,” said Wilson, adding that few have been exemplars of all five of the College values: acuity, agency, integrity, brotherhood and leading a consequential life. “At this moment, and at this time, I have such a man,” he said of Sellers. Yet, Sellers insists that his work is not done. “There is still a crown above me,” he said. “My head is still bare, I still have inches to grow and work to do.” n

SHARING THEIR STORIES As part of the Founder’s Day celebration, the Journalism and Sports Program sponsored the “Rising Stars in the Media” event, bringing back four recent graduates to discuss their work in the media. Pictured are: (l-r) David Dow ’12, production secretary at CBS’s “48 Hours”; Donovan X. Ramsey ’10, freelance journalist and Demos fellow; Ron Thomas, program director; Mark Anthony Green ’10, “Style Guy” fashion columnist for GQ magazine; Malcolm “Max” Tyler ’13, senior researcher and writer for ESPN the Magazine, and Jovan Davis ‘16, who directed the event.


32 WINTER 2017



President Wilson greets “A Candle in the Dark” Gala guests.

Ambassador Andrew Young and Candle honoree John Lewis


Rufus H. Rivers ’86, managing partner, RLJ Equity Partners, Bennie in Achievement Richard Roundtree, Golden Globe-nominated and pioneering actor, Candle for Lifetime Achievement in Arts and Entertainment

Robert E. Steele ’65, former executive director, David Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, Bennie in Service

John Lewis, U.S. Congressman, Georgia’s 5th District, civil rights icon, Candle for Lifetime Achievement in Civil Rights and Public Service

Joseph L. Press III ’84, senior division sales manager, Ethicon US, LLC, Bennie in Leadership Christopher P. Reynolds, managing officer, general counsel and chief legal officer, Toyota Motor

Corporation, Candle in Business and Law Also pictured (center) are Gala Mistress of Ceremonies Khandi Alexander, President John Silvanus Wilson ‘79 and First Lady Carol Espy-Wilson WINTER 2017



34 WINTER 2017

Singing “Dear Old Morehouse” at “A Candle in the Dark” Gala 2016






20162017 WINTER 36 FALL


“Selfless” was the word of the day for the 2016 Morehouse Commencement. In fact, Commencement speaker Strive Masiyiwa and his wife, Tsitsi, proved to be the very embodiment of the word. Consider what Mrs. Masiyiwa had to say about her wish list to God.


“SINCE THE DAY I learned that you can ask God for anything, I began to make a wish list making all sorts of requests of the things I wanted and the things I desired. On my list, I asked God for wars to cease, for famine to end, and for peace and good success to my family and my children. For the sick and the downtrodden to receive healing.” Noticeably absent from her list was herself. Yet it was precisely this type of selflessness that led her from opening her door to orphans needing help financing their education to standing at the podium of the 132nd Commencement exercises at Morehouse on May 15, 2016, to accept the College’s highest honor: the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Her husband, Strive, received an honorary degree from Morehouse four years earlier. Mr. Masiyiwa, who is founder of Econet Wireless and considered the wealthiest man in Zimbabwe, has been named one of the “Ten Most Powerful Men in Africa” by Forbes Magazine and one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by CNN Fortune Magazine. The College has now officially honored both Masiyiwas for their philanthropic and humanitarian work across the African continent. In one example of their selflessness, the couple has joined the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. But the selfless act of the day was found in the fruit of their labor from the Higherlife Foundation, a charity they founded to help educate African orphans. Through the Foundation, the Masiyiwas have made a $16.4 million commitment to fully fund four-year scholarships for 40 African men to attend Morehouse. Nine of the 10 members of the initial class of the Andrew Young International Scholars were part of the class of 2016 (the 10th member is in a five-year dual degree program and graduates next year). Two decades ago, before he took on

Commencement speaker Strive Masiyiwa greets Ambassador Andrew Young.

the Zimbabwean government in a five-year battle for the right to own his telecommunications company, Masiyiwa owned a small construction company. He noticed that he was going to a funeral nearly monthly, he said in his Commencement address to the 380 graduates and 6,000 audience members. HIV was killing many of his workers, who often left young children behind. As the virus spread, so did word that he and his wife were putting up the money to keep these orphans in school. Thousands of children showed up at their door. It got to the point where Mrs. Masiyiwa quit her job to run the foundation full time “to take care of these children.” According to Mr. Masiyiwa, since its conception, the foundation has given financial assistance to a quarter of a million African students. On any given day, the Foundation is helping 40,000 African students continue their education from secondary schools to colleges and universities. Three hundred and fifty of them are in the United States. Nine of those crossed the Morehouse graduation stage—with their benefactors looking on. “It fills me with humility and honor to find that the students we sent here came from a program that was set up for orphans 20 years ago,” said Mr. Masiyiwa. Four years ago, the 10 inaugural Andrew Young scholars were carefully selected. The Masiyiwas looked for talented young scholars who would be steeped in the Morehouse brand of service leadership,

then return to Africa to improve the lives of their fellow countrymen. Perhaps Prince Abudu stands out most prominently among the inaugural Tsitsi Masiyiwa receives class graduates. In honorary Doctor of 2016, he became Humane Letters. the College’s fourth Rhodes scholar (see article on page 28). And in a venture that transfers American knowledge to Africa, he co-founded Emergination Africa, which allows college-aged U.S. students to mentor African students. Although the Foundation sends students to institutions around the world, Mr. Masiyiwa said he was drawn to Atlanta for its rich legacy in the civil rights movement. In a spring 2012 Morehouse Magazine article, he said the U.S. civil rights movement was synonymous to Zimbabwe’s fight against colonialism. He was inspired to name the Foundation’s scholarship program in honor of Ambassador Andrew Young, Atlanta’s second African American mayor. And he wanted to send students to Morehouse because it had produced the U.S. movement’s iconic leader, Martin Luther King Jr. ’48. “In coming to Morehouse, I’ve always been fully persuaded that this great institution, which for generations has been the shining city on a hill to many Africans and African Americans, will play a key role CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE WINTER 2017


132ND COMMENCEMENT/BACCALAUREATE in the development of [Africa’s] potential,” said Masiyiwa during his address. “I am excited for the day when Morehouse Men supported by this program will collaborate with Morehouse Men from the U.S. to provide innovative and lasting solutions that will advance humanity.” Both Mr. and Mrs. Masiyiwa urged the Commencement audience to act selflessly. She said: “Maintain your testimony.

Acknowledge the good things that God has done for you, first and foremost. And also acknowledge the things that Morehouse College has put into you. And finally, make sure you give back. Don’t just come back to this great institution, but put your money in Morehouse.” He said: “I’ve been really concerned that there are so many young Americans for whom the cost of a college education is prohibitive. Surely this should not be

so. This is America, my dear friends. I say this with all the humility and love of a friend – let us fix this problem.” And, summing it up, President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 said: “I charge each of you to dream big and selfless dreams. We need you to do that because it is still true that a better Morehouse can make better men; and better men can make a better world; and a better world will put a smile on the face of God.” n

HONORABLE MENTIONS Valedictorian and Salutatorian Are Fulbright Scholars VALEDICTORIAN Willie Thompson and salutatorian Rami Blair are 2016 Fulbright Scholars and will travel to Taiwan and the West Indies, respectively, Rami Blair to work and do research. Blair, who majored in French language and literature, is also a 2015 Beinecke Scholar, which encourages and enables highly motivated students to pursue a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Inaugural Class of Wisconsin Scholars Graduates THE FIRST of the Wisconsin scholars were part of the graduating class. The Wisconsin Scholars Program was created in 2012 by the College and Milwaukee Public Schools to create a pipeline of talented students who would use their Morehouse education to return to Wisconsin to serve their community. Scholars received a $25,000 academic scholarship awarded annually, and mentoring and academic support, as well as access to professional and leadership development symposiums, advanced technology training workshops, corporate executive mentoring programs and summer internship opportunities. The graduates have pledged to contribute $1,000 yearly to the Morehouse Book Scholarship Fund to benefit future scholars. Some of the Wisconsin Scholars Program graduates are pictured below. They are Justin Wilks ‘16 (left) and Nicholas Stokes ‘16 (right).


38 WINTER 2017

Judson Lyons Society Helps Future Lawyers Prepare for Top Law Schools GRADUATES WHO participated in the College’s Abe Davis Pre-Law Program are heading to some of the nation’s most prominent law schools, including the University of Michigan, Cornell University, the University of Chicago, Columbia University, the University of California at Berkeley and New York University. The Judson Lyons Society recognized the nine students during a May 12 reception. The Society sponsored a sixweek, intensive LSAT preparatory course for the students, resulting in an average 10-point increase in their LSATS scores. One student’s score rose 19 points. Particpants received more than $750,000 in scholarship awards from law schools across the country. Pictured are society members (sitting, l-r): Winfield Murray ’96, secretary; Brent Wilson ’73, founding member; Derek Alphran ’75, president; Michael Tyler ’77, vice president and Sam Matchett ’81, treasurer; graduates (standing l-r) Sebastian Hurt, Lemuel Howard, Don Cox, Joshua Drumming, Simeon Lyons, Darrius Atkins, Kane Jacob, Reginald Matthews and Justin Edge.

TRIFECTA OF EXCELLENCE FOR THE FIRST TIME in College history, three graduates maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout their college career and emerged as valedictorians. The following is an excerpt from each valedictory: Liam Davis, business administration major with a concentration in accounting, Nassau, Bahamas

“MOREHOUSE COLLEGE is the epitome of brotherhood—a phenomenon that I will not take for granted. We are bound together by the rich tradition of Mother Morehouse herself, an institution that took in a lowly boy from the Bahamas with a population of 31,000 that sits on the top 10 murder rate per capital, that has an academic average of a D+ … and that produced me, a serious student yearning to be shaped and molded. A man who now understands his life purpose as a servant leader.”


Ian Niemeyer, economics major with a minor in mathematics, Durham, N.C.

Willie Thompson, economics major with a minor in Chinese studies, Griffin, Ga.

“I CAME TO MOREHOUSE seeking that light, seeking that strength I saw in my parents—never knowing if I could find the same. I’ve since then learned that strength isn’t found, it is built. “Mother Morehouse sees that light, sees that strength in all of us. She has held that crown over our heads and expected from us the audacity to challenge our preconceptions, to break barriers…, to take a stand for social justice, and to travel abroad to establish ourselves as global citizens. It is through this journey that Morehouse has opened our eyes to the world, opened our eyes to our own potential and opened our eyes to what is possible.”

“THE SECRET OF LEADING a consequential life is passion. Passion is the engine that fuels our desire to do better, be better and live better lives. Just think about all of the good that has been created in this world because someone pursued his God-given passion. “Think of Morehouse Men such as Jim Shelton, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Julian Bond. Also think Strive Masiyiwa, whose work has afforded a brother such as Prince Abudu to attend Morehouse College and become its fourth Rhodes scholar…. “My brothers, passion must be the vehicle that transports us from uncertainty to destiny.”


he Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley turned to sports and the Scriptures to inspire the class of 2016 during the Baccalaureate, a traditionally religious service that encourages students to reflect on their spiritual journey the day before they walk the stage to become Morehouse Men. Paraphrasing NFL coach Vince Lombardi, Wesley, who is pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., reminded the class that “the greatest tragedy is not to try, not to fail. The greatest tragedy is to have a gift and not do anything with it. “You are not graduating from Morehouse just to let life happen to you,” he said. Wesley then turned to 1 Samuel 10:17

and Saul’s assignment for greatness to both prophesy and serve as king of Israel and Judah. Wesley recounted how Saul was intimidated by the possibilities, felt inadequate for the position and insecure about his past. He urged the men of Morehouse to defy all: “In you, you have exactly what it takes to face any challenge that comes your way, any obstacle that comes your way,” he told the class. “The very thing you think disqualifies you is the very thing the Lord says makes you exactly who He’s looking for.” He encouraged the students to use their Morehouse degrees “to unlock every door of opportunity, because you are a Morehouse Man.” n

The Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley WINTER 2017


2016 REUNION 1951



1 9 66 GOLD E N T IGE R S



40 WINTER 2017







2011 WINTER 2017




Dr. Howard C. Willis ’76 President

Bud Willis ’86 Vice President-at-Large

John Toliver ’00 Treasurer

Dr. Jeffery L. Anderson ’97 Vice President, Region I

Toussaint Gaskins ’92 Vice President, Region II

Melvin D. Caldwell Jr. ’75 Vice President, Region III

Eric Guthrie ’88 Vice President, Region IV

Vacant Region V

Vacant Region VI

Emmett T. Robbins ’84 Vice President, Region VII

Donald E. Long ’64 Vice President, Region VIII

Michael Bryant ’87 Vice President, Region IX

MCNAA is an independent 501c3 organization.


42 WINTER 2017




Chester A. Taylor ’82 Andre E. Bell ’91 Shadeed Abdul Salaam ’00 Titus Nichols ’06 Edward Hill III ’90 Jerome Nicholas ’75 Walter H. Roban ’90 Randall L. Woodfin ’03 Kenneth Bailey ’71 Wiliam Nix ’72 Cedric Martin ’98 Byron Francis ’07 Melvin D. Caldwell, Jr ’75 Cory Hardiman ’14 Aaron O’Brien ’06 Douglas Troutman ’75 Eric Troy ’84 Paxton Marks ’90 Ernest R. Council Jr. ’76 Roosevelt J Price II ’92 Franklin Wilkerson Richard Allen ’70 Devonne Baker ’91 Dijon Jackson ’01 Kenneth J. Thompson ’82 Darrell C. Tiller ’83 Gerald L. Truesdale ’71 Curtis Langley ’63 Will C. Norwood ’05 James A. Duke ’90 Mark Register ’94 Chris Evans ’88 Tom Sands ’84 Robert Fulton ’07 Rich Watkins ’97 Willie W. Houston Jr. ’73 Gregory Martin ’93 George Thompson ’66 Reginald A. Crenshaw ’78 J.C. Love ’01 Jimmy B. Sheats II ’93 Fabian Fernander ’06 Dorian Mair ’05 Lamont Redrick ’93 Nicholas Limbal ’05 Mr. Clarence Sailor, Jr. ’05 LeMar Slater ’98 Gerald Williams ’86 Charles W. McLien, III ’97 Bradley Jackson ’94 Harvey R. Fields, Jr., Ph.D. ’83 Linzie F. Bogan ’88 Vacant George E. Rice ’95 Mark J. Simeon ’79 Durand A Ford, Jr ’97


“Accountability Is the Blessing of Duty”


s I started my day on Monday morning, April 4, 2016, I did not have a good feeling about it. Of course, I had concerns about the results of the Morehouse College National Alumni Association’s national election, but there was something else that I just could not get my hands on. As I went through the hospitals that day, it appeared to me that there was a reminder that Monday was the 4th of April everywhere I went. Arriving in my office and walking past my picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ’48, I immediately realized that 48 years ago on that day Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. As a freshman, I viewed Dr. King’s remains as he lay in repose in Sisters Chapel on Spelman’s campus one morning around 3 a.m. Confused, angry and struggling with my emotions as I walked back to Graves Hall, I decided that morning that I would make my life count for something—just as Brother King did. I find it ironic that 48 years later, on the day the greatest alumnus of Morehouse College was taken from us and I made that personal commitment, I was elected president of the Morehouse College National Alumni Association. Over the years, I have come to know that men of Morehouse and Morehouse Men are bonded by gender, race, culture, society, spirit and institutional brotherhood. Those bonds have been the air beneath the greatness of Morehouse. We cannot, and will not, let it pass away. As we look toward the future, the world teaches us that influence is a pleasing consequence of affordability and investment. If our Alumni Associations’ constitutional mission is to foster, advance and support the interest and welfare of Morehouse College in accordance with its ideals, principles and traditions, I am not sure our investments meet the level of our desired influence. President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79, students, faculty, staff and alumni community, if Morehouse is to maintain its greatness and move to a higher level of worldly influence, we must come together in commitment that each of us will account for something for the betterment of Morehouse College and its Alumni Association. We all know that accountability is the blessing of duty, responsibility and commitment. There has to be a respecter of mutual ideas, plans and openness for the appreciation of new ways of doing things and working together. We must understand when it is necessary to change things and when it is a benefit to leave good things alone. We will bring a new day to Morehouse College and its Alumni Association, and we must let all understand what that new day is as we celebrate 150 years of service to mankind. n

If Morehouse is to maintain its greatness and a movement to a higher level of worldly influence, we must come together in commitment that each of us will account for something for the betterment of Morehouse College and its Alumni Association.

Dr. Howard C. Willis ’76 President




Walter E. Massey ’58 Honored With the 2016 Public Humanities Award WALTER E. MASSEY ’58, a renowned scientist and president emeritus of Morehouse College, was recently honored with the 2016 Public Humanities Award. Illinois Humanities presents the award to individuals and organizations that make significant contributions to the civic and cultural life of Illinois through the humanities. Massey recently retired as president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. “Walter is a beloved figure in Chicago,” said Angel Yasguirre, executive director of Illinois Humanities. “The respect that he has earned from the cultural, civic and corporate leaders of this city is a testament to his belief in the importance of the humanities to the strength of our civic life and the need for providing

Walter E. Massey ’58

access to all people.” As president of the Institute from 2010 to 2016, Massey increased student scholarships and further diversified the campus through

initiatives like the Walter and Shirley Massey Chicago Fund and the College Arts Access Program, both of which provide opportunities to Chicago Public School students. “As an undergraduate at Morehouse College, my focus was in physics and mathematics, but some of my fondest memories are of studying music, literature and ‘art appreciation’ with my faculty mentors. I actually was a musician and briefly contemplated a career as a jazz saxophonist. Indeed, despite having spent much of my professional life in theoretical physics, I have retained a passion for the arts and humanities that has nourished and inspired me in ways that are perhaps difficult to describe, but that I nevertheless know to be true.” n

Marcus Noel ’08 and Jason Crain ’09 Named to “Forbes 30 Under 30”

Kenneth Newby ’96 and Boston Chapter Win Top Alumni Honors

MOREHOUSE MEN Marcus Noel ’08 and Jason Crain ’09 have been included in Forbes Magazine’s 2016 “30 Under 30” listing, which highlights 600 of the world’s brightest young entrepreneurs, breakout talents and change agents in 20 different sectors. They were chosen because of their game-changing quotient, along with dimensions such as impact, use of cutting-edge technology or creativity, scalability or adaptability, number of people reached and dollars raised/generated. More than 15,000 people were nominated. Finalists were Jason Crain ’09 Marcus Noel ’08 vetted by a panel that included notables such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Carmelo Anthony and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Noel was chosen in the field of education. He founded Heart of Man, a social venture that empowers young people to think like creators instead of like students. Crain was nominated in the manufacturing field as he and a partner co-founded Partpic, a firm that simplifies the search and purchase of replacement parts using visual recognition technology. It eliminates inefficiencies caused by unknown part numbers and streamlines the purchasing process from start to finish. n

KENNETH NEWBY ’96, director of the Morehouse College Forensics Program and assistant professor of communication, was named Alumnus of the Year during the Morehouse College National Alumni Association’s Annual Reunion Banquet in May 2016. The Boston Chapter took home the honor for Chapter of the Year. Newby coaches the Morehouse College Debate Team, which was ranked sixth Kenneth Newby ’96 among the nation’s parliamentary debate teams in 2016. This year, his team won the World’s Division of the Pi Kappa Delta Nationals, finished first overall at the Southeast Regional Debating Championship, and finished first overall at the Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association’s State Championship. The debate team again was the only HBCU to compete in the World Universities Debating Championships, held in Greece in December 2015. The Boston Chapter is one of the National Alumni Association’s most active chapters and has a history of promoting alumni engagement. The chapter has donated more than $1 million to the College, with its More Better Gala consistently raising funds for scholarships. The chapter also hosts a Young Men’s Leadership Conference, an annual “Day On for Service” project to celebrate the King Holiday. Ryan Willingham ’07 is the chapter’s president. n


44 WINTER 2017


Bradley Harper ’99 Becomes First Elected African American Palm Beach County Judge in 22 Years Bradley Harper ’99

BRADLEY HARPER ’99 became the first African American in 22 years to be elected as a county judge in Palm Beach County, Fla., when he won his race on Aug. 30, 2016. Harper, a civil litigator with the Palm Beach firm Powers, McNalis, Torres, Teebagy & Luongo, defeated a better-funded and more experienced opponent to win the seat. “I think it’s an important step in our community,” Harper told the Palm Beach Post newspaper. “We came together from all different parts of the community to make sure we have a fair judiciary and that it looks like our community.” Harper has twice been a finalist for circuit judicial positions and is active in the Palm Beach County community, where he is a sixth-generation resident. Heavily involved in a number of community service activities, Harper is a past winner of the Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. “Man of Excellence” award and was named a Legal Services Trailblazer by the Success South Florida “40 Under 40.” n

Alvin Darden ’72 Named Trailblazer in Education by 100 Black Men of America ALVIN “SKIP” DARDEN ’72, associate dean of the College, was honored as a “Trailblazer in Education” by the 100 Black Men of America, Inc., during its 30th annual national convention in June. Darden has served as class dean at Morehouse for the past 20 years and has been responsible for navigating nearly 13,000 students into their new college environment and through their progression Alvin “Skip” Darden ’72 toward a degree. “There are phenomenal African Americans who demonstrate extraordinary compassion, leadership and commitment in our shared struggle to positively impact the lives of our people, particularly youth,” wrote Curley Dossman Jr. ’73, chairman of the board for the 100 Black Men of America, in his award letter to Darden. “You are one of those great leaders who have given tirelessly and humbly to promote the advancement of our youth in higher education.” n

Jordan Jones ’14 Named Associate Editor at The Atlantic

JORDAN JONES ’14 has been named an associate editor on the social media team for The Atlantic, one of the nation’s most prestigious magazines. Jordan will focus on audience development to help The Atlantic determine which readership segments are its strong suit and which audiences are potential readers. Data analytics and social media, especially tweeting and headline writing, are two of the key tools he will use to target demographics. His father, Dale Jones ’82, has been a Morehouse trustee

Jordan Jones ’14

since 2009 and is assistant secretary of the Board. Jordan double majored in English and Spanish, and took several courses in the Journalism and Sports Program. “Learning how to

write is the basis of all communications work, so I got that in my English classes, but also in the journalism program. I learned how to process my thoughts in Dr. Stephens’ class,” Jordan said, referring to English Professor Delores Stephens. “But turning out stories on deadline and succinctly, and turning ideas into 140 characters, is what I learned from the journalism classes.” In July 2014, Jordan became a Chairman’s Lab Fellow at Atlantic Media, doing research and helping

shape audience development strategy for the National Journal, the company’s political magazine. Last May, Jordan was hired full time as Audience Development Coordinator for Next America, a project of The Atlantic that examines how demographic shifts will change America. Among its numerous products, Atlantic Media publishes media-focused Wire, along with Quartz, that examines the digital business economy. n






Louis Sullivan ’54, founding president of the Morehouse School of Medicine and the former U.S. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, addressed the graduates of 2016 graduating class of the Drexel University College of Medicine.

Ronald C. Carter ’71 has resigned from his position as president of Johnson C. Smith University, effective at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year. Carter has been president of the Charlotte, N.C. HBCU for eight years.

1960s The Honorable Herbert Phipps ’64 was honored recently as he retired in November 2016 as a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals. His legal career spanned 45 years. C. Vernon Mason ’67 was highlighted in a article about the 50th anniversary of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management at the University of Indiana. The organization is an academic and business network for African American men to help acquire skills to thrive in corporate America. Mason was one of the program’s inaugural members in 1967.


46 WINTER 2017

Samuel L. Jackson ’72 received a Lifetime Achievement Award during the BET Awards in June 2016. Shelton “Spike” Lee ’79 presented Jackson with his award and congratulated “my Morehouse brother.” DeVerges B. Jones ’72 was presented the 2013 Wilbur Parker Distinguished Alumni Recipient Award by the Black Graduate Business Association at Cornell University. The award is given to alumni who demonstrate outstanding professional achievement and commitment to their community. Robert M. Franklin ’75 has been named the senior adviser to Emory University President Claire Sterk. Franklin served as the 10th president of Morehouse College, president of the Interdenominational Theological Center and theologian-in-residence at the Chautauqua Institution.

Shelton “Spike” Lee ’79 was honored at the Sept. 23 Triumph Awards with the “Activism in the Arts Award.” The Triumph Awards was televised on TV One on Oct. 2, 2016.

1980s Kevin M. Sweeney ’81, formerly a director for the Midwest Market with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, has joined Urban Partnership Bank as the market director for Detroit, Mich. Prior to the Nonprofit Finance Fund, Sweeney was a vice president, middle relationship manager, with Fifth Third Bank. In that role, he generated new lending and deposit relationships with nonprofit organizations and agencies throughout southeastern Michigan. His extensive career in financial services also includes working on crossdepartmental projects to improve internal processes and developing sales strategies to include the public sector, non-profits, small businesses and middlemarket companies. Sweeney earned his MBA from Clark Atlanta University. He is a member of the Urban Financial Services Coalition and serves on the board at the National Black Child Development Institute.

Munson Steed ’88 has written a children’s book series, Little Professor Skye, to open the imaginations of young readers and expose them to life’s possibilities. Steed is the CEO of the Steed Munson Group, Inc., whose flagship publication is RollingOut magazine.

1990s John F. Gates ’93, associate dean of the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science, was featured in a Charlottesville Tomorrow story about a panel discussion that he took part in in September 2016. Bryant Marks ’94, associate professor of psychology at Morehouse and and a senior adviser at the U.S. Department of Education’s White House Initiative On HBCUs, was quoted in Inforum Magazine in a Sept. 26, 2016, article on a White House meeting with 75 police chiefs across the nation to talk about policing. Marks was also the 2016 commencement speaker at Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, Miss.





Alvin Holsey ’88 Soars in the U.S. Navy

FLYING HIGH ALVIN HOLSEY ’88 has experienced lots of professional highs: there was graduating from Morehouse with a degree in computer science and receiving his military commission through the campus NROTC program. He finished flight school with the United States Navy at the age of 24 with, well, flying colors. And, he commanded the U.S.S. Makin Island, a Navy warship the size of nearly three football fields. Oh, and that time he arrived for a Navy recruitment presentation at his high school alma mater, Peach County High, via an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter (he landed it on the 50-yard line of the football field promptly at 9 a.m.). All of those are hard to top, but his latest accolade just might do it. The Fort Valley, Ga. native, 51, has been promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral. “I was blessed to have my mother present for this honor; my wife pinned me,” said Holsey, of the Pentagon ceremony presided over by Admiral John Richardson, chief of naval operations. “I’m only the 10th black aviator to become a flag officer. I’m only the second military general or flag officer ever produced by Morehouse College. The first was U.S. Army Lieutenant General James R. Hall,

(class of ’57) over three decades ago.” Holsey, who now serves as deputy director for operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, says he owes so much of the success of his decorated 28-year (and counting) career to his family, especially his parents, Rosa and the late Charles Holsey Sr., and his time at dear old Morehouse. In fact, he admits to beaming with pride every time he studies a beloved photo of himself posing aboard the Makin, a Morehouse patch prominently displayed on the shoulder of his flight suit. “My parents told me I could be somebody, Morehouse told me that I was somebody – a Morehouse man,” he says. Even with that, self-doubt crept in when he arrived in Pensacola, Florida for flight training. “As a young black male coming from a small college, initially, I felt all the bad ‘I’s’ - inferior, inadequate, insignificant. Then, I realized I had something the other students could never have: I had Sale Hall in the summer of 1983; I had the long registration lines; I had Dr. Cason Hill for English Composition; I had walked the same steps as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; I had matriculated through the campus that Dr. Mays built; I had shouted, ‘Hugh, Hugh, Hugh’ when President Gloster addressed the student body. I don’t feel

those ‘I’s’ anymore.” Holsey, who’d dreamed of becoming a pilot while a teenager bagging groceries at the local Piggly Wiggly store, ultimately earned a Master of Science degree in Management from Troy State University in 1995 and attended the Joint Forces Staff College in 2010. He’s also held a diverse mix of positions with the Navy, including executive assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations. “He’s the highest ranking guy in the Navy,” explained Holsey. Though he has no plans of slowing down any time soon, Holsey says he is looking forward to passing the torch to his two sons, Joshua, 23, and Jordan, 17, whom he shares with his wife and Spelman sweetheart, the former Stephanie Noble, a dentist. Joshua has wasted no time following in his dad’s footsteps; he graduated Morehouse in 2015 with a computer science degree and is currently matriculating through Navy flight school. Holsey couldn’t be any prouder. “My parents taught me that I could do anything and Morehouse just brought it full circle for me,” he said. “People always tell you what you can’t do, but you push through and show them otherwise.” n WINTER 2017


CLASS NOTES Verdun Perry ’94 received the 2016 Toingo Foundation’s Blazing Trail Award. Perry is the senior managing director and co-head of Strategic Partners for Blackstone in New York. Benjamin Spencer ’96 was sworn into the U.S. Army Reserve, Judge Advocate General’s Corps in October 2015. He is the Earle K. Shawe Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law and teaches civil procedure. He began a six-week training phase at Fort Benning in January 2016, which was followed by attending three-and-a-half months in the U.S. Army JAG School in Charlottesville, Va. As a reservist, he will serve one weekend a month and two weeks each year.

2000s Brian K. Jones ’01 was re-elected to a third term on the Union City (Ga.) City Council in November 2015. Jones has been on the Council for nine years and has served on a number of national policy and advocacy committees with the National League of Cities and the Georgia Municipal Association. Lodriguez Murray ’04, Ulysses Burley III ’05 and Quardricos Driskell ‘05 have been selected as three of the National Minority Quality Forum’s 40 Under 40 Leaders in Health. The award recognizes awardees’ accomplishments in the health care field and MOREHOUSE MAGAZINE

48 WINTER 2017

their potential to continue to positively impact minority and other communities. The three were honored at the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust’s Award Gala Dinner on April 12, 2016, at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL). The Rev. Dr. Beryl M. Whipple ’04, pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in White Marsh, Md., received the doctor of ministry with a concentration in church leadership from Wesley Theological Seminary in May 2015. He received the master’s of science in church management from Villanova University School of Business in 2010 and the master’s of divinity from Wake Forest University Divinity School in 2007. At Morehouse, where he majored in religion, Whipple was a Chapel Assistant, MLK Scholar, Thomas Kilgore Scholar and Oprah Scholar. The Rev. Nicolas Richards ’05 has created Roho, an online library of sermons from prominent African American church leaders, among them The Rev. Otis Moss III ’92, The Rev. Marcus Cosby and The Rev. Cynthia Hale. He left his position as assistant pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in June 2016 to dedicate himself to building Roho full-time. Jonathan Blocker ’06 has joined the firm of Christian & Small LLP, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., as an associate focusing on professional liability

and medical malpractice, construction, aviation, liquor liability, and cyber and data breach liability matters. Previously, Blocker was an associate attorney at Page, Eichenblatt & Bennett, P.A. in Orlando, Fla., and served for three years as an assistant state attorney for the Office of the State Attorney, Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida.

2010s Donovan X. Ramsey ’10 was named to “The Black and Lit List: 30 People Under 30 to Watch Out for In New York by” BET. Ramsey is an author and journalist. Kenley Hargett ’12 recently became a reporter for KYTKTV CBS19 in Dallas, Texas. Kevin Johnson ’12 recently became a sports reporter at KYTK-TV CBS19 in Dallas

Jared Loggins ’15, a former Maroon Tiger managing editor, was one of five student reporters honored by The Society of Professional Journalists-Georgia and the Savannah Morning Press. The students are members of the Georgia News Lab Consortium, which will receive the first Larry Peterson Memorial Award for Investigative Journalism. The five wrote an article titled “Expense Allowances for Commissioner Come With No Strings Attached,” published in June 2015 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Loggins, who graduated in May 2015 with a degree in political science, served as an intern with the AJC before attending UCLA, where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in political science. He also is freelancing for The Washington Post.

S AV E T H E D AT E S 150TH FOUNDER’S WEEK AND 29TH “A CANDLE IN THE DARK” GALA February 12-19, 2017 Hyatt Regency Atlanta “A Candle in the Dark” Gala: Saturday, February 18 Reception, 6 p.m. Dinner, Dancing and Awards Ceremony, 7:30 p.m.

BACCALAUREATE/COMMENCEMENT/REUNION May 19-21, 2017 Host Hotel: Ritz-Carlton Atlanta Reunion: Friday and Saturday Baccalaureate: Saturday, 3 p.m. Commencement: Sunday, 8 a.m.



Played Radio Raheem in “Do the Right Thing”

Bill Nunn (far left) speaks with a student on the steps of Sale Hall.

ACTOR WILLIAM “BILL” NUNN III ’76, best known for his iconic portrayal of Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” died on Sept. 24, 2016. An English major from Pittsburgh, Pa., Nunn first performed around the country as part of the comedy team “Nunn and Cooper” with his longtime friend, Al Cooper. His film breakthrough was in 1988 in another of Lee’s film, “School Daze,” as football player Grady. Nunn’s career spanned film, television and stage as he appeared in movies such as the “Spiderman” trilogy, “New Jack City” and “A Raisin in the Sun.” It was his 1989 role in “Do the Right Thing” that has resonated in recent times. Nunn played Radio Raheem, the young black male who died as a victim of police brutality. Morehouse presented Nunn with a Bennie Trailblazer award in 2002.

Nunn portraying Radio Raheem in “Do the Right Thing” with director Spike Lee ’79

“Bill did what every Morehouse Man is charged to do: demonstrate acuity, practice integrity, exhibit agency, commit to brotherhood and lead consequential lives,” said President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ‘79. “His acting career—particularly in films that his Morehouse brothers Shelton ‘Spike’ Lee ’79 and Samuel L. Jackson ’72 led and took part in—truly made a mark in cinema.” n WINTER 2017




Georgia’s First Black Federal Judge Broke Down Legal and Political Barriers By ADD SEYMOUR JR.


HEN THE GEORGIA NAACP was looking for someone to break the color barrier at the University of Georgia’s law school in 1950, they looked to a young Morehouse graduate named Horace Taliaferro Ward. Ward had just graduated from Morehouse in 1949 and finished graduate school at Atlanta University. The bright young man from LaGrange, Ga., knew there was at least one African American practicing law in the state and wanted to be the next. He was never admitted to the University of Georgia law school, but Ward, who died on April 23, fought to make sure that color barrier was eventually broken. Ward’s UGA law school application triggered a long court battle, as he would have become the first African American to attend UGA. Georgia officials offered Ward out-of-state tuition, but he stood firm. His case was delayed for years, giving Ward time to serve his country in the U.S. Army. Not willing to wait, he enrolled in Northwestern University’s law school, which served as the state of Georgia’s reasoning to dismiss the case. Ward eventually earned his law degree at Northwestern University. But he helped break down the doors of segregation at UGA as part of the legal team that successfully fought to get Hamilton E. Holmes and Charlayne Hunter admitted as UGA’s first African American students in 1961. Ward practiced law in the early 1960s before becoming Georgia’s second African American since Reconstruction to serve in the Georgia State Senate. The first was his Morehouse classmate, Leroy Johnson ’49.


50 WINTER 2017

Ward served in the Georgia legislature from 1965-1974. During that time he was also deputy city attorney for the city of Atlanta and later, was the assistant county attorney for Fulton County, Ga.. He was appointed as a Fulton County civil court judge in 1974 and then to the Georgia Superior Court in 1977. Ward again made history when President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, making him the first African American to sit on the Georgia federal bench. And righting things from decades earlier, the University of Georgia awarded Ward an honorary law degree in 2014, with UGA President Jere Morehead saying Ward made “substantial contributions to our university community.” “Judge Ward was a Morehouse Man in every sense,” said Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79. “Our students and alumni strive to live consequential lives that make a difference in our world. I am proud to say that Horace T. Ward did that and so much more. He will be missed and his legacy will live on.”

Grover C. Dye Sr. ’41 passed away August 17, 2015, at the age of 96 in Oakland, Calif. His family asks that donations be made in his honor to Morehouse College’s Office of Alumni Relations; to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala; or to any charity of your choice. Robert S. Kennon ’47 passed away on March 12, 2016, at the age of 93. Kennon earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehouse and went on to earn three master’s degrees. Kennon spent 12 years teaching 5th and 6th grade math in Detroit before joining the Michigan Department of Education in 1967. He became a supervisor in the Vocational Education Section, opening the door to hiring minorities, women, the physically disabled and non-English speaking persons. Kennon helped establish the Coalition of Community Concerns in an effort to forge a political alliance between the black, Hispanic and labor communities and to improve the relationship between the community and the Lansing Police Department. Edward R. McDonnell Sr. ’50 passed away Aug. 30, 2015. Calvin C. Crawford ’51 passed away Nov. 18. 2015. He taught at Wrens High School in Wrens, Ga., and then spent 30 years in the Reidsville City School System. Crawford served on several city boards and was the recipient of the Zion Baptist Church’s 2003 Community Service Award. Howard Hancock ’54 passed away January 10, 2016. Hancock was a member of the Morehouse College Glee Club, sang in the Morehouse College–Spelman College Chorus, and acted in the Baldwin Burrough’s Thespian Corps.


Reginald Eaves ‘56 former police commissioner for the city of Atlanta and a former member of the Fulton County (Ga.) Commission, passed away on June 9, 2015, in Jacksonville, Fla., after an extended illness. Eaves served as an assistant to Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson ‘56 and then was appointed the city’s first Commissioner of Public Safety. He later was elected to serve as Fulton County Commissioner, where he served 11 years. Eaves was a founding member of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, life member of the NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and past president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. He was also active in the Morehouse College Alumni Association and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Asa Spaulding ’56 passed away on Oct. 25, 2015, after a lengthy illness. He is the son of the late Asa T. Spaulding, the former president of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. After working for North Carolina Mutual, Spaulding eventually became president of BarberScotia College. He also was a member of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. Spaulding had a successful career in television and radio broadcasting and wrote a syndicated weekly column that was published by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Spaulding also ran for several elected offices, including Secretary of State in North Carolina in 1976 and mayor of Durham, N.C., in 1971. The Honorable Taylor L. Baker Jr. ’57 passed away July 5, 2015, at the age of 79. A retired judge of the Superior Court of Marion County (Indiana), Baker served as Marion County Judge for 24 years in the Criminal Division, Civil Division, Environmental Court and as a presiding judge. Baker was Indianapolis’ first African American prosecutor. He was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and the Bachelor Benedict


LIVER ROLAND SUEING ’72, an international musician known as “The Voice,” passed away on Feb. 16, 2016, at the age of 65. Sueing studied under Madame Adria Brunati, a renowned soprano soloist who performed with famed conductor Arturo Toscanini. A member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Sueing was also a member of the Morehouse College Glee Club. During the 1970s and 1980s, he was the featured tenor soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s “Christmas with Robert Shaw” concerts. His performances also included “The Impossible Dream” solo at the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter with the Atlanta University Community Chorus; the funeral services for Morehouse president Benjamin E. Mays; and the

Club. Baker received many national, state, city and community awards. William J. Willis Sr. ’57 passed away July 11, 2015, at the age of 91. In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College, Willis also attended the Atlanta College of Mortuary Science where he graduated in 1947. He was a World War II veteran, serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. He received the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in 2013. In 1949, he and his wife Dorothy, established Willis Funeral Home, which is still family-owned and run today. James I. Roberts ‘70 passed away on Feb. 26, 2016. Roberts was a U.S. Army veteran who earned the National Defense Service Medal. He was honorably discharged in 1972. He spent more than 30-plus years in upper-level store management positions with several major retailers,

funeral services of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson ’56. Sueing’s operatic performances included leading roles with the Phoenix Opera Company of Atlanta, Opera South of Jackson State College and Americolor Opera Alliance Company of Atlanta. n

including Sears, Roebuck & Company, Office Max and the Dayton Hudson, Lechemere, and K-Mart corporations. Additionally, Roberts opened the very first Value City in the Southeast, in Marietta, Georgia. Michael Vince Johnson ’72 passed away May 4, 2016. He was the only child of former Georgia Sen. Leroy R. Johnson ’48 and Dr. Cleopatra Johnson. Johnson worked in construction in Atlanta before graduating from Morehouse. He owned two office chair production companies and was later employed for 18 years as an information specialist with the Georgia Department of Labor, where he retired in 2011. Johnson was in several golf groups, and designed and taught a course titled “The Psychology of Golf.” A member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Johnson was appointed to the board of directors of the Players Club Resort in Hilton Head, S.C., in Oct. 2013.




Preston Hughes III ‘75 passed away on Jan. 4, 2016. He worked for and retired from the Federal Reserve Bank. Millard H. McWhorter III ’76 passed away Aug. 31, 2015, at age 60. He studied medicine at Meharry Medical School and practiced family medicine in Andalusia, Ala. Dr. Frederick V. Miller ‘79, known as “A Classic Man” who became the African American president of a publicly traded billion-dollar company, passed away on April 16, 2016. Miller graduated summa cum laude from Morehouse and then earned another bachelor’s degree, as well as a doctorate of medicine, from Emory University. He finished his military career by serving as the chief medical officer for neonatal, maternal-fetal and pediatric services at the Frankfurt Army Regional Medical Center in Frankfurt, Germany, and for Central Europe’s Medical Command. He later served as the medical consultant to the U.S. Surgeon General for three years. In 1991, Miller joined the Medical Group in Fort Lauderdale and later earned master’s degrees in healthcare administration and business administration. In 2013, he served as the chief executive officer and president of PhyMED Management, a physician-owned company. At the time of his death, he was developing six franchised chiropractic treatment facilities in the Fort Lauderdale area. n



ABRAL FRANKLIN ‘97, son of former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and the late David Franklin ’64, passed away on Sept. 15, 2015, from complications of cancer. Franklin’s passion for politics came from hearing his mother and father, an attorney and veteran political strategist, debate issues at home. His mother’s mayoral bid marked his first foray into helping manage political campaigns, kicking off a career that included state and local campaigns. Franklin was managing partner at Franklin Communications, LLC. He served as the senior adviser for the Georgia Coordinated Campaign, as well as produced radio ads for Michelle Nunn’s 2014 U.S. Senate run and Jason Carter’s 2014 Georgia gubernatorial bid. In addition to working on Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s early campaigns, he also worked on campaigns in Virginia, South Carolina and Mississippi.

HE REV. RALPH D. ABERNATHY III ’82, a former Georgia state legislator and son of civil rights icon, Ralph David Abernathy, passed away March 17, 2016, after battling colon cancer. He was 56. Abernathy studied English and linguistics at Morehouse. Motivated by his work in the civil rights movement as a child with his father, Abernathy decided to run for elected office. At age 28, he began service in the Georgia state legislature, first in the State House of Representatives from 1987 to 1991 and then in the Georgia State Senate from 1992 to 1999. After serving in office and building a successful career in business, Abernathy entered the ministry. At his death, he had been working on a project to raise $3.5 million to build a “freedom plaza” outside of West Hunter Street Baptist Church, where his father had been pastor.


52 WINTER 2017




As people from the four corners of the globe share their Muhammad Ali memories, we proudly share ours. Before Ali’s historic comeback in 1970, Morehouse Man LeRoy Johnson ’49 called on the ‘House to host The Greatest for an exhibition fight to ensure that the big show would go on. The Archer Hall event was the precursor to his return.

Muhammad Ali stands with Georgia Hill after their 1970 exhibition fight on the Morehouse College campus. Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated FALL FALL 2016 2016






Profile for Morehouse College

Morehouse Magazine Winter 2017  

STEAM Growth in America

Morehouse Magazine Winter 2017  

STEAM Growth in America

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded