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Researching Earth and Space to Improve Quality of Human Life


MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY HAS ESTABLISHED A CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITY PROGRAM TO FUND SCHOLARSHIPS for students and to ensure the future health and well-being of Morgan State University for generations to come. The Charitable Gift Annuity is a simple and convenient way to make a generous gift to Morgan and receive fixed payments for the remainder of your life, regardless of market conditions. You can even provide that payments continue for the life of another person, if desired. The amount of the annuity payment depends upon the age(s) of the individual(s) receiving the annuity and the amount of the gift.

• You will be entitled to a charitable income tax deduction for the year your gift annuity is funded. • Charitable gift annuities may be funded with cash or marketable securities.

The table below shows various payout rates at different ages, as recommended by the American Council on Gift Annuities, a national association of charities. GIFT ANNUITY RATES Single Annuitant Age .......Rate 60 .........4.4% 65 .........4.7% 70 .........5.1% 75 .........5.8% 80 .........6.8% 85 .........7.8% 90 .........9.0%

Two Annuitants Age ...........Rate 60/61 .......3.9% 65/69 .......4.4% 70/72 .......4.7% 75/77 .......5.1% 80/81 .......5.8% 85/86 .......6.9% 90/95 .......8.8%

For illustrative purposes only. Rates are subject to change. Contact the Office of Annual Giving for exact benefit information.

We invite you to call to request a confidential personalized report prepared for you that will illustrate the payment amount and an estimate of your income tax deduction.

To learn more about how you can establish a Charitable Gift Annuity to support Morgan State University, contact Donna Howard in the Development Office at 443-885-4680.

President’s Letter Alumni and Friends, Three years after the founding of Centenary Biblical Institute, the illiteracy rate of African Americans was 81 percent, and only 9 percent of African-American children attended school, of any kind. These numbers, from a University of Michigan analysis of the 1870 U.S. Census, are fitting with the agricultural occupations reported by the overwhelming majority of blacks that year. Twenty years later, when the Institute was renamed Morgan College, most blacks still lived off of the land. But, by then, the school’s mission had expanded from the training of black men for the ministry to the training of women and men as teachers, to address what was then the main challenge of Maryland’s African-American community. A little more than a century later, in 2009, again according to the Census Bureau, more than 81 percent of African Americans aged 25 or older were graduates of high school or postsecondary school. Nearly 18 percent had earned bachelor’s or advanced degrees. And among the nearly 28 percent of African-American workers in management, professional and related occupations that year, a sizeable number, especially in Maryland, were graduates of Morgan State University. The point of this brief history is that higher education at Morgan, as elsewhere, has always changed with the times. And the articles in this magazine reflect the changes taking place today.

But being competitive in today’s world economy, and having the ability to address the world’s biggest challenges, increasingly require literacy not only in the traditional sense but also in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). And in this educational mission, Morgan, again, is excelling, now ranking among the nation’s top 10 institutions in producing black graduates who go on to earn doctorates in science and engineering. In this volume, we highlight a few of the University’s many other achievements and advancements in STEM, including our role in the Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research program and the opening of our new, state-of-the-art Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies building. We also profile two exchange students from Brazil, now at Morgan through a program called Science Mobility; an alumnus who was a pioneer in medical technology; and two of our graduates serving as top officers in the National Society of Black Engineers. Clearly, taking the lead in STEM is consistent with Morgan’s historical mission of preparing a diverse student body for professional success and community service. We thank you for your vital support of that mission, and we hope you enjoy this edition of Morgan Magazine.

Our University has a very strong foundation in the liberal arts, established by renowned scholars on our faculty and by alumni such as James H. Gilliam Jr., a former English major whose contributions to Morgan you will read about in these pages. Likewise, the University has a very strong history in the fine and performing arts. Sincerely,

David Wilson President



Ta b l e

o f

C o n t e n t s



Letter from the President


Vo l

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2 0 1 3

7 Cover Photo: Frederick K. Wilson, Ph.D. of Morgan’s Department of Civil Engineering (rear) with civil engineering students (left to right) Judy A. JacksonPringle, Olawale Adekunle and Grace Mooney

Leaders in Engineering Diversity

Building on Morgan’s foundation, with STEM

Taking the lead in earth sciences





CBEIS Enhances Morgan Architecture, Engineering

Breaking Ground in Business and Management


Cultivating Achievement

Cartoonists draw on past and present

A med tech graduate becomes a Legacy Council donor

The new Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies

A new building rises on the new West Campus

Graduates take high offices in the National Society of Black Engineers





Historic University Chapel Needs Financial Assistance

Morgan’s Montford Point Marine

The Bassman Playeth

International Exchange Students Flourish at MSU

Supporting MSU’s spiritual center

Alumnus receives a Congressional Gold Medal

Morgan’s telecomm program spawns a drive-time radio legend

Undergrads from abroad thrive on campus





New Leaders at MSU

Morgan’s PEARL

A Gift of ‘Memories’

Administrative experience strengthens the University

A new name spotlights the former Estuarine Research Center

Exhibition honors a prominent Morgan benefactor

Students Celebrate at the 137th Commencement Cabinet member, others address 1,100plus graduates

Morgan Magazine Morgan Magazine is published by the Division of Institutional Advancement of MSU for alumni, parents, faculty, students, prospective students and friends. Morgan Magazine is designed and edited by the Office of Public Relations and Communications. Opinions expressed in Morgan Magazine are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the University. Unsolicited manuscripts and photos are welcome but only with a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Letters are also welcome. Correspondence directly to: Morgan Magazine, MSU OPRC 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane 109 Truth Hall, Balto., MD 21251 443-885-3022 office MORGAN ADMINISTRATION Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Cheryl Y. Hitchcock

Director of Public Relations and Communications

Clinton R. Coleman

Associate Director of PR and Communications

Jarrett L. Carter Sr.

Assistant Director of Web Communications

Henry McEachnie MORGAN MAGAZINE STAFF Publications Manager

Ferdinand Mehlinger Contributing Editor

Eric Addison Art Director

David E. Ricardo Sr. Graphic Designer

Andre Barnett

Graphic Designer

Kirian Villalta

Gold Winner


Title: Morgan Magazine

P. A. Greene John Moore

Vol. 1 2012, “Spicing-up Hollywood” Category: Publications/Magazine



Contributing Writers


James Michael Brodie Wiley A. Hall III Lynette Locke Frank McCoy Leonard C. Simmons, ’53 Peter Slavin Jannette J. Witmyer


Taking the Lead in Earth Sciences By Eric Addison

GESTAR’s eight research areas reveal the huge scope of the program.

FREDERICK K. WILSON, PROFESSOR AT MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, is a Ph.D. environmental scientist with a background in biology, oceanology and meteorology, and a job title that points to yet another area of expertise: civil engineering. His office is in a new, stateof-the-art building that houses both architecture and engineering degree programs. And recently, his research has him working very closely with an agency best known for putting humans on the moon.

The range of Dr. Wilson’s scholarship and research — from the bottom of the ocean to outer space — may seem amazing to many, but he says his career experiences reflect a well-known trend in science. “It’s the trend to collaborate and to approach science from different angles, which means an interdisciplinary, cooperative sort of format,” he says.

His interests and career choices also make him a seemingly perfect fit for a program involving Morgan and that space agency mentioned above. The program is called GESTAR — Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research — and it reflects the evolving role of NASA as an organization that explores both Earth and space to improve quality of human life.

Continued on page 4 MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2013



Ozone Loss

Researching Earth and Space to Improve Quality of Human Life

Morgan’s Largest Contract Ever GESTAR was launched in May 2011, with the award of a $95.8-million contract from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to a team led by Universities Space Research Association (USRA). Morgan is one of USRA’s partners in GESTAR, explains Joseph A. Whittaker, Ph.D., former dean of Morgan’s School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences and one of GESTAR’s associate directors. The other partners are I.M. Systems Group, of Rockville, Md., The Johns Hopkins University, Ball Aerospace & Technologies, and The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies. Morgan’s share of the award from NASA Goddard, $28.5 million, is the largest research contract in the University’s history. Even to nonscientists, a quick look at GESTAR’s eight research areas reveals the huge scope of the program: Atmospheric Composition; Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems; Climate & Weather Prediction; Planetary Analog Studies; Hydrospheric Processes; Earth Rotational & Gravitational Dynamics; Data Analysis & Management; and Education & Public Outreach. “What ties it together is NASA’s interest in understanding the Earth and all of its environment, all of the factors in the universe that contribute to maintaining 4


the way we as humans function normally,” Dr. Whittaker says. Seeking Synergies Dr. Whittaker’s role in GESTAR is administrative, but it’s clear that the onetime NASA intern is still a scientist and teacher at heart. His eyes light up as he outlines some of the areas covered by GESTAR researchers, then he puts the processes of those areas in motion, as if he’s describing an animated film. “There are people looking at the Arctic and the ice melt, what influence that has on the weather and the ocean. There are people studying the Sun and all the energetics there, and how that influences the rest of the solar system. There’s work that has to do with terrestrial water: the rain and the water in the ground, all the water bodies in the Earth and how those are maintained, how they are cycled. The City of Baltimore has a goal of trying to clean up the Bay. How are you going to accomplish that?” “…All of the GESTAR researchers are doing their little piece and trying to do the best thing possible,” he says. “And we hope that at some point there will be enough synergy as we learn from one discipline and the other to bring those capabilities together to accomplish some of the bigger goals.”

Benefits to Morgan Being a GESTAR partner means, among other things, having greater access to the Earth sciences experts at NASA, Dr. Whittaker reports. “Many are now coming to the table with expertise that we ordinarily would not have on campus,” he says. “They can lend that expertise not just to the research but to our academic programs, to enhance some existing ones and to create some new paths for students, new areas of specialization, concentrations, new degree programs. For faculty, they can collaborate and go after grant opportunities just to help their level of scholarship, as well.” Among those who have come to the table are GESTAR Director William Corso, Ph.D. Dr. Corso has visited Morgan’s Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory (PEARL) several times “and actively engaged in the development of joint education programs and research proposals,” reports Chunlei Fan, Ph.D., who is an associate professor at PEARL. Students at the laboratory conduct “innovative research dedicated to investigating the complex interactions that define our environment,” its mission statement reads. Other benefits from GESTAR include scholarships.

Sea Ice

Sun Eruption

Student Participation LandSat

“Some students get their tuition or parts of their tuition paid from this program,” Dr. Whittaker says. “And there are opportunities for students to participate in the research and internships.” “GESTAR also potentially can lead to many different types of partnerships with corporate entities who are focused on novel innovations and global research,” he says. ‘A Whole Cycle’ The recurring theme heard from Morgan’s participants in GESTAR — the improvement of quality of human life — is something Dr. Fred Wilson says he learned early, from his mother, in his home country of Sierra Leone. “My mother was really interested in taking care of things, respecting things, teaching us not to misuse things. She taught us how to garden, how to cook. She taught us to be self-sufficient,” he says. “Subsistence farming was all over the place” in the village where he was born, near Freetown, Dr. Wilson recalls. “People lived off of the Earth, and they knew that they would have to treat the Earth in a special way, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to survive.” In Morgan’s Department of Civil Engineering, where he is now a research scientist/lecturer, Dr. Wilson has explored

his longtime interest in remote sensing and geographic information systems, which involve using satellites to look at processes on the surface of the Earth. Morgan’s participation in the GESTAR program has enhanced his ability to apply those advanced technologies to Earth system science: the study of things such as climate change, oceanology, and land-use/land-cover change in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. “Land-use/land-cover change is very important for the existence of human beings,” he explains. “It involves the way we transform the natural surface of the Earth by building things, using more asphalt, concrete and other materials; by deforestation: removing the trees, and then all of the functions of the trees are lost. I study the impact these things have. “Water is one of the most important assets that we have, and it is sort of dwindling every year,” he continues. “I mean potable water, water that you can drink. And if you look at it, it stems again from land-use/land-cover, because the precipitation that we get through the form of rains and snow does come from trees, through transpiration, through those leaves. They’re able to grab the water and bring it up and put it into the atmosphere, which creates clouds. And then the clouds precipitate,

and we get rain and then rivers, and then fish are there, which is a good source of protein. “So it’s a whole cycle,” says Dr. Wilson, whose work in this country represents the start of another cycle, of sorts. He is descended from former African-American slaves who settled in Freetown to gain their freedom, in the 1790s. “I just want to make sure we utilize these new technologies in STEM, not only in transportation but in engineering, in architecture, in science.” All on Board Another main goal of GESTAR is to increase the number of Earth scientists from underrepresented minority groups, Dr. Whittaker says. Those groups include African Americans. “We still have much to overcome in terms of representation of minorities in the scientific arena. And I think Morgan is well positioned to influence what happens there for the future,” he says. However, he adds, “the question is whether or not we’ll have everybody on board to make sure we accomplish that goal.” “Earth science-related fields, because they’re new and novel, it takes a while to get students and parents and high school teachers and so on to understand what they’re all about,” Dr. Whittaker says. “And for urban kids, these MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2013


Benita Bell, Ph.D. GESTAR Research Scientist NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Morgan’s share of the award from NASA Goddard, $28.5 million, is the largest research contract in the University’s history. are not the things that they routinely hear about. So it’s not something they readily gravitate towards. So you have to do your due diligence in marketing and PR and have some representation in the community to talk about it.”

The focus of Dr. Benita Bell’s work with GESTAR has been to develop, expand and strengthen astrobiology research partnerships among Minority-serving Institutions. She now serves as codirector for the Minority Astrobiology Collaborative, which is a virtual collaboration of minority institutions engaged in astrobiology research and education initiatives. Another component of Dr. Bell’s work is to provide outreach and education to local organizations; colleges and universities; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) conferences and area schools to promote awareness of astrobiology and advance STEM in underrepresented communities. “The GESTAR Progam is a highly beneficial and unique program to advance research and scientific collaborations among scientists,” Dr. Bell says. And she calls Morgan “a fertile research ground for continued greatness.”

Unique Opportunity Dr. Whittaker stresses that GESTAR is still a work in progress, two years after its launch. He reports that the program is on schedule and that the GESTAR team received many accolades in its first-year review. “We have a number of initiatives that we want to implement at Morgan during the second year, and we’re moving towards that,” he says. “One of those initiatives that involves undergraduate students as well as faculty is a dual-degree program: a B.S./M.S., five-year program jointly with Johns Hopkins. And so we’re in the midst of developing the curriculum and the program design at the moment.” Dr. Whittaker calls GESTAR “unique” and “a once-in-alifetime kind of opportunity for any institution.” “The fact that Morgan could be part of the winning team that got this award speaks volumes, and I think it’s up to us to make sure we can maintain that and we can succeed,” he says. “If we can do our part and leverage the opportunities and the capabilities that are associated with this, I think we will only go up from here. “…The students will be the long-term beneficiaries,” he concludes. “GESTAR should go a long way to helping us expand and grow the quality of our academic programs and our entire research enterprise.”



Ronald Errico, Ph.D. GESTAR Research Scientist NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Data assimilation products yield the best comprehensive description of the climate. Acquiring this description is a goal of NASA. Dr. Errico’s work involves validating current data assimilation algorithms and observations, improving assimilation techniques, and estimating the expected impacts of newly proposed atmospheric observing instruments. “Due to the size and breadth of the (GESTAR) organization, I cannot speak for most of the projects. But those with which I am familiar are on the cutting edge of research (that is) highly considered by the community of corresponding scientific specialists,” Dr. Errico says. “Our hope is also that…we can likewise significantly impact the Morgan community: educating, stimulating and encouraging students to enter one of the engineering or scientific fields of the Earth sciences.”

Leaders in Engineering Diversity By Frank McCoy

Keith Humphrey, ‘93, succeeded Darnell Fisher, ‘03, as national chair of NSBE Professionals, a component of the National Society of Black Engineers.

IT ISN’T POSSIBLE to engineer a device or write a computer program that controls luck. However, Morgan’s engineering and computer science programs, and the University’s academic community at large, did provide a path that led two alumni to leadership in the 29,000-member National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). NSBE, founded in 1975, now has hundreds of chapters in the U.S. and abroad. This past March, at the organization’s Annual Convention in Indianapolis, Keith Humphrey, Morgan Class of 1993, was sworn in as NSBE’s national Alumni Extension chair, succeeding Darnell Fisher, ‘03, who held that post during the previous year. On Aug. 1, 2013, NSBE’s Alumni Extension took on the more descriptive name “NSBE Professionals.” Humphrey is a database engineer at Cedar Document Technologies, in Atlanta. As a child, he was fascinated with science and technology and later enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park with a desire to become a meteorologist. He then transferred to Morgan to attend a smaller but competitive school, and decided to major in computer science. That decision would be a perfect fit with NSBE, says Humphrey, as the engineering organization also includes members from most other science, technology and math-related disciplines. The ex-MSU varsity basketball cheerleader joined NSBE after tutoring engineering students who were taking a C++ programming class at the University, and his interest and involvement in the Society took off. Now, he helps professionals discover and use valueadded components of NSBE membership in today’s tougher and more diverse economy.

Keith Humphrey, ‘93 ‘To Increase the Number’ Fellow Morgan graduate Darnell Fisher was NSBE National Alumni Extension chair from May 2012 through April of this year. He is a nuclear controls engineer working with the Nuclear Engineering and Planning Department of NAVSEA, the Naval Sea Systems Command, at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, in Virginia. Like Humphrey, Fisher excelled at math from a young age and gravitated toward a science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) career. But beyond the fact that he received an academic scholarship from the school, he says, he was sold on Morgan because of its exciting, family-like atmosphere. Fisher was initially attracted to engineering because of the high average salaries and diverse opportunities in the profession. However, he says, he “ultimately settled on engineering due to the friends I made during my orientation week at Morgan.” The social and career development life of the University also led Fisher to NSBE. The Society’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally

Darnell Fisher, ‘03 responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact that community.” “While I succeed, I owe it to Morgan, my community and those who supported me, to reach back and give another minority student a chance to succeed anyway that I possibly can,” Fisher says. The former Bear varsity basketball player now supports MSU as an active mentor and recruiter of prospective Morgan students still in high school, and financially, as a lifetime member of the MSU National Alumni Association. At NAVSEA, Fisher is responsible for overseeing technical planning and execution of electrical controls projects related to the nuclear reactor compartments onboard U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and submarines. Coincidentally, NSBE had another recent link to Baltimore. Calvin A. Young III, a Baltimorean and a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, was NSBE’s national chair, the organization’s top officer, for the 2012–2013 program year.  MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2013


CBEIS Enhances Morgan Architecture, Engineering By Frank McCoy



THE NEWEST addition to Morgan’s North Campus is not only attractive to the eye, it is also a magnet for students seeking a state-of-the-art venue to pursue careers in a wide range of architecture and engineering fields. Opened officially during a grand opening ceremony last Sept. 20, the Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies (CBEIS) is a 131,000-square foot, $67-million facility located on Perring Parkway, adjacent to Herring Run. The design of the Center facilitates MSU’s multidisciplinary approach to instruction, and as the school’s first building certified by LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, it also signals the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability. CBEIS won the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Sustainability award in 2012 and is on the path to LEED Gold certification. CBEIS delights the eye and mind. The light-filled facility houses Morgan’s School of Architecture and Planning, and the School of Engineering’s civil engineering programs, transportation engineering programs and National Transportation Center. Mary Anne Akers, Ph.D., dean and professor of the School of Architecture and Planning, says CBEIS was developed “to reflect the professional world, where architects, civil engineers, urban transportation specialists and landscape architects form one team. It is a natural grouping of allied professions.”

Genesis In the early 2000s, Earl S. Richardson, Ed.D., then president of Morgan, declared that the architecture and planning school had outgrown the Montebello Complex, where it had been housed since 1997, and deserved its own space. The State of Maryland heard that call but replied that there were too few architecture students at Morgan to justify the funding. Morgan’s dean of engineering, Eugene M. DeLoatch, Ph.D., then suggested bringing related architecture and engineering departments together under one roof.

“It made sense to have the young people in those disciplines work and be in close proximity,” he explains. “The stovepipe approach to education is over.” The State agreed, and construction commenced in 2010. The Freelon Group, an African-American-owned, North Carolinabased architecture firm, led the development, planning and preliminary design of CBEIS. Coincidentally, a Freelon associate, Churchill Banks III, received his Master of Architecture from Morgan in 1997. Freelon worked with Baltimore architectural firm Hord Coplan Macht, which led the construction of CBEIS.

Features Dean Akers says the building’s broad, four-story atrium creates a street-like atmosphere that can be “programmed” and used organically. Professors already gather students there for discussions. CBEIS features 34 classrooms; studios with spacious architectural desks; 10 study, conference and jury rooms; and computer labs. Four other laboratories include one with a 3-D projector and another with a tabletop wind tunnel to model structural stability. In keeping with a commitment to sustainability, CBEIS has solar panels on its roof, and photovoltaic window treatments. Two rooftop rain gardens, with adjacent patio space, send filtered water down to Herring Run. The facility also incorporates the natural landscape of the Herring Run watershed to control storm water, and a stream that runs through the basement of the building is part of a bioretention pond, to filter pollutants from storm water runoff. Akers says the building’s eco-friendly design elements brand Morgan as a “green” leader. One of the biggest gains for the civil engineering department at CBEIS is access to one of only two earthquake simulators on the East Coast. The device can produce seismic activity up to 9.0 on the Richter scale.

land’s newest facility for a school of architecture are already being felt. There are now 400 architecture and planning students at Morgan: 250 undergraduates and 150 graduate students. Dr. Akers says an influx of students could lead to further expansion of the school’s offerings. Evan Richardson, ‘00, assistant to the dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, and a master’s graduate of the school, has noted the school’s rise in popularity. He reports that about 30 architecture students transferred to Morgan in 2012, instead of the usual 10. “The building has a wow factor,” he says. Another MSU architecture graduate, Cynthia Shonaiya, ‘98, agrees. Shonaiya, the principal and vice president at Hord Coplan Macht, praises several elements of the building, including, “the way in which skylights introduce whimsical shadow play into the interior spaces; the ever-changing landscape in the rain gardens; the lively interactive pin-up spaces in the atrium; (and) the constantly changing colors of the LED lighting. All of these touches make this a special building,” she says.

‘A Research Tool’ The School of Architecture and Planning’s undergraduate programs include Bachelor of Science degrees in architecture and environmental design and in construction management. The three graduate programs are master’s degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, and city and regional planning. This past fall, CBEIS held an event for alumni to encourage graduates to visit, conduct guest lectures, sponsor a wall or bid for naming rights of the building. “We are a research university, and CBEIS is a research tool,” says Dr. Akers. “And the way this building was constructed produces a lot of data that we can use. When students and their parents decide on a college, the physical environment is a big deal.” 

‘Wow Factor’ The ripples from the opening of MaryMORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2013


Elected officials of Maryland and Baltimore joined Morgan administrators and alumni at the ground breaking of the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management. (Nov. 28, 2012)

Breaking Ground in Business and Management By Frank McCoy

THE OPENING of CBEIS was only one major start for MSU last fall. On Nov. 28, 2012, ground was broken for a new, $72-million, 140,000-square foot building for the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management. The structure will be the first building on Morgan’s new West Campus, across Hillen Road from the main campus and adjacent to the Northwood Shopping Center. Earl G. Graves, a 1957 graduate of Morgan with a bachelor’s in economics, is the founder and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine. At the ground breaking ceremony, he praised the new school’s placement, explaining that he started his first business as a Morgan student, mowing lawns nearby for Hillen Road homeowners. In true MSU fashion, he hired his fraternity brothers as the business grew. At the ground breaking, Morgan President David Wilson referred to the his10


toric civil rights activism of Morgan students at Northwood Shopping Center, in the 1950s and ‘60s. “Just as a new footbridge will connect this academic complex with the main campus to the east of Hillen Road, so, too, will this day bridge Morgan’s history here…with its future,” he said. When the school is completed in 2014, it will have a market research lab and

a financial instrument trading laboratory, more space for current entrepreneurship programs, and demonstration facilities for students in the hospitality program. “This state-of-the-art facility is an asset in the collaborative nature of teaching and learning in a global, technologically driven world,” says the school’s dean, Fikru Boghossian, Ph.D. “From this facility we will produce knowledge and knowledge workers who will shepherd the knowledgedriven economy.” Maryland State Sen. Joan Carter Conway and Baltimore City Councilman Robert W. Curran also participated in the ground breaking. Upon the business school’s completion, President Wilson said, Morgan will construct a Behavioral and Social Sciences building and a School of Community Health and Policy building on neighboring plots. 

Walter Carr Jr., ‘55

Artist-Entrepreneurs Drawing on Past and Present By Wiley A. Hall III

SMILING THOUGHTFULLY, Walter Carr Jr. folds his arms, leans back in his chair and looks off into the distance. He’s in the sun-drenched enclosed patio of his comfortable home in Columbia, Md., a suburb between Washington and Baltimore. He has just been asked to reflect on more than five decades as an editorial cartoonist and describe one or two of his personal favorites. The question gives Carr, 80, a lot to think about. An award-winning freelance cartoonist and graphic designer, the Morgan graduate (Class of ‘55) has drawn for Playboy, as well as Ebony Mag-

azine, Jet, Negro Digest, Black World and virtually every other black-owned publication in the country, large and small. Carr’s smile turns into a grin. “The ones that come to mind were some of the ones I did for Players Magazine, but they were a bit risqué. I’m afraid I can’t describe them for a family publication,” he confesses. (Gentlemen of a certain age may well recall Players, the 70s-era magazine that saw itself as a black alternative to Playboy.) When Carr’s not being risqué, he’s often controversial. Here’s a Carr cartoon from 2009: A teacher is taking roll call

five years after the election of President Barack Obama. In the class there’s an “Obama Taylor,” a “Barack Thomas,” an “Obamalita Jackson,” a “Baracka Washington,” an “Obamalama Hicks…”. Like many of Carr’s cartoons, the panel sparked considerable comment when it first appeared in 2009. “Is this funny?” asked one blog post. “Would it make a difference if you knew the cartoonist was black?” “Yeah I think it’s funny, cause it’s true,” came one reply. “You know how we do.” Continued on next page



Passed-down Passion “You Know How We Do,” might be a good summation of Carr’s satiric wit. He’s a humorist from the old school, taking gentle jabs at the foibles of Black America, more in the tradition of Langston Hughes’ loving portraits of black life than the harsh, derogatory portrayals of many of today’s black comedians. On the other hand, when Carr’s not commenting on how we do, he’s taking a much tougher look at how whites do, such as in a panel illustrating the disparate sentences between whites and blacks convicted of drug offenses. Carr’s family came to his hometown of Baltimore from Philadelphia, where his father had been circulation manager for the Philly edition of the AfroAmerican Newspapers. After the move, Walter Carr Sr. began publishing the Nitelifer, a popular advertising periodical that circulated for many years in Baltimore’s bars. Carr Jr. played football and ran track at Morgan before graduWalter Carr Jr., ‘55 ating with a bachelor’s degree in art education. Carr Jr., who drew his first editorial cartoons for his

father’s publication, says he got his passion for social and political commentary from his parents, who were active during the U.S. civil rights movement. “My mom and dad were way ahead of their time,” he says. “I know my dad lived for those Nitelifer editorials. They were brilliantly written, and many of his points would still apply today.” Carr Jr. retired in 1989 as chief of the visual graphics section at the Social Security Administration’s Woodlawn, Md. headquarters. He devoted himself to his freelance career shortly afterward. Carr’s resume reads like a history of black publishing in the 20th century. Some of the publications he’s worked for are long dead, some are slowly dying; others are hanging on, desperately trying to reinvent themselves online. Even the mainstream publications are struggling to make ends meet. Although jobs in Carr’s craft may be withering, other opportunities for talented artists may be blossoming in the digital age. “Let’s face it, newspapers and magazines are dinosaurs, particularly black-owned publications,” Carr says. “Today’s kids are into graphic novels, storyboarding for movies, animations. “But that’s OK,” he continues. “I’ve been blessed in so many ways: my family, my wife, my hopes and aspirations. I have the greatest circle of friends. You can’t ask for more than that.” Carr’s one regret has to do with the business side of cartooning. He is self-syndicated and learned mostly through trial and error. He’s planning an anthology of his work but has found there was much he didn’t know about important issues such as copyright and republication rights. Inspiration for Youth In contrast, Morgan graduate Ajamoo Raheem Kemet, ’95, is more businessman than artist. He has created a graphic universe of superheroes designed for the next generation of African Americans. But the young entrepreneur, who was known as Maurice Mander when he obtained his graduate degree in African American history from Morgan, hires others to do the artwork, while he concentrates on selling the concept. And he is a terrific salesman. “Our children are searching for superheroes,” Kemet says passionately. “They are searching for them; they’re starving for them. “They are looking for exactly the same things I was looking for, coming up,” he continues.

“It’s not enough to have heroes who look like them. They want heroes they can look up to, who inspire them and don’t degrade them or their community.” Kemet has many enterprises working, but his No. 1 product is Surian Seed, a project he started more than a decade ago and launched at the Philadelphia Comic Con in 2011. His book, “Surian Seed Universe Guide,” always sells out quickly, along with associated posters and other artwork. There are no stories as of yet, because, he says, there don’t need to be: “We’ll start producing Surian Seed books when the market for the other materials dies out.” Superheroes in the ‘Hood The Surian Seed legend goes like this: It turns out that what we know as martial arts originated on the distant planet Sur, where the Surian warlords are locked in an intergalactic struggle with their former slaves, the Korroks. Earth gets caught in the middle of this battle, but we Earthlings are protected by a team of variants: human beings born with an advanced understanding of martial arts. These heroes are black, live and work in the black community, and many are graduates of Historically Black Colleges or Universities.

another is a cancer survivor. Kemet says he draws inspiration from such diverse sources as Sam Greenlee’s 1973 film “The Spook Who Sat By the Door” and Paul Laurence Dunbar’s 19th century classic poem “We Wear the Mask.” In selling his concept, Kemet says he tailors his pitch to his audience. “You can’t just be one thing,” he says. “Comic book fans might be attracted to the storyline and the artwork. But if I’m talking to educators, I talk about how important education is to the characters. And if I’m talking to social workers, I talk about Surian Seed as a self-esteem tool. My motto is, ‘You’ve got to spread yourself like a virus.' ” “When I first started, people told me this concept couldn’t sell,” Kemet says. “But a good salesman can sell fire to people in hell.” 

Ajamoo Raheem Kemet, ‘95

Their leader is Infinite, a high school teacher from Trenton, N.J., who attended Morehouse College. His sister is Jaden, a natural telepath who attended Spelman College and is a social worker, when she isn’t defending the planet from bad guys. And, of course, there are the Morgan graduates: Sinnerblock, who is a college professor with super strength, and the brilliant child prodigy Architec, who graduated from Morgan at 16, thanks to his intuitive understanding of science and engineering. Other heroes include Range, the complicated professional assassin whom Kemet describes as the female embodiment of Tupac, and Musenda, a wealthy financial analyst and philanthropist who went to Morehouse College. Spreading the Seed Much of the action in the stories-to-be will center on Kemet’s native Trenton, and he says the storylines will deal with urban challenges in all of their complexity. He foresees looking at issues such as whether hip hop is good or bad, and what it means to be a black intellectual. One of his heroines detests men who beat up women;





Jesse Brown, ’77



Cultivating Achievement Jesse Brown, MSU Class of 1977 By Eric Addison AT AGE 81, Jesse Brown recalls his life journey in remarkable detail: from the farm where he grew up in southern Virginia, to the house in Glen Burnie, Md., where he now resides as a retiree from the federal government. It’s all there in the telling: the number of teachers in the segregated grade school he attended in Mount Laurel, Va.; the family history that led to his short matriculation at Virginia Union University where, instead of being drafted into the Army, he joined the Air Force and served honorably for four years. But the enthusiasm in his voice rises a level when he arrives at his contributions to his longtime profession, medical technology, the field in which he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in 1977, from Morgan State University. “I had three articles published (in scientific journals),” says Brown. “I found copies here.” The articles were all published, with Brown as the sole author, during his 32year tenure as supervisor of medical technologists at Kimbrough Army Community Hospital, at Fort Meade, in Maryland. And all began as suggestions to his superiors about how to improve processes in the chemistry lab. “Simplified Microdetermination of Urea Nitrogen in Serum or Plasma without Deproteinizing” was published in the

American Journal of Medical Technology in May 1971. Next was “An Inexpensive Tube Test for Hemoglobin S” in 1990, in the journal of the Society of Armed Forces Medical Laboratory Scientists. The last, “Correlation of the Abbott Spectrum with the Olympus AU5000 for Automated Urine Chemistry Analysis,”

Brown, who earned his degree as a part-time student over 16 years, is one of many Morgan graduates who have enriched the world with their work in STEM. was published in 2000 in Laboratory Medicine, a journal of the American Society of Clinical Pathology, shortly after his retirement. Brown, who earned his degree as a part-time student over 16 years, is one of many Morgan graduates who have enriched the world with their work in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). And he has been a standout performer as a donor to Morgan, as well, a role he downplays. He began with small donations, and “in the later years before I retired (and into my retirement), I had moved it up quite a bit,” he says. In 2001, he established a need-based scholarship fund at the

Mr. Brown is a member of the Legacy Council, established by the Morgan State University Foundation in 2012 to honor alumni and friends who have made a bequest or other deferred gift commitments to the Morgan State University Foundation. Gifts through your will, trust, retirement account, or life insurance can offer estate and income tax benefits to your estate while helping Morgan continue to fulfill its mission to provide access to higher education to all of the best students – from all backgrounds.

Morgan State University Foundation, and in 2011, he established the Jesse F. Brown Endowed Scholarship Fund to benefit students majoring in medical technology or chemistry. His philanthropic commitment to Morgan now and in the future is well over $1 million. Brown’s recollections of his life are interspersed with stories of the racial discrimination he faced coming up. But he recalls the incidents now without bitterness, sometimes even chuckling. He prefers to focus on ways to help young people succeed today. “If it hadn’t been for people like Dr. Bertha Williams (dean of the evening school at Morgan in the 1970s), I probably wouldn’t even have a degree,” he says. “What I do now (as a donor to Morgan) is to hopefully help some other students.” It seems Brown has been a cultivator all of his life, sewing seeds that slowly produced a good harvest in his career and as a Morgan benefactor. So maybe it’s no surprise he’s back to being a farmer now, part time, on land in his birthplace in Virginia. “Right now, I’m planting pines… loblolly pine. It’s sold for lumber,” he explains. “It usually takes 50, 60 years to grow a tree, but you can grow this one in 20.” 

To learn more about remembering Morgan in your estate plans, contact Donna J. Howard, director of Development, at (443) 885-4680, Morgan State University Development Office, Alumni House, Room 204, Baltimore, MD 21251, or e-mail

LEGACY COUNCIL Morgan State University Foundation MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2013


Historic University Chapel Needs Financial Assistance By Leonard C. Simmons, MSU Class of 1953 he University Memorial Chapel, previously known as the Morgan Christian Center, has the distinction of being one of the few buildings on the Morgan campus that has been in continuous use for the entire student body and community virtually since Morgan College became Morgan State College in 1939. In 2012, because of its historic significance, the Memorial Chapel was added to the National Register of Historic Places, the only building on the Morgan campus with that singular honor. Earlier, before its historic value was fully appreciated, the Chapel was allowed to lapse into a state of disrepair and now is in desperate need of financial assistance for its restoration and operation.




History The Morgan Christian Center, dedicated in 1941, was designed by Albert I. Cassell, FIAA, a nationally acclaimed African-American architect. The Center’s original purpose was to promote values and ideals consistent with Morgan’s origins as the Centenary Biblical Institute. Although it was owned and operated by the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Center became more than a house of worship: it was an integral part of campus life. In addition to providing traditional religious services, it served as an auditorium at a time when Morgan did not have one, and as a venue for scholarly presentations and academic ceremonies. It was also a recreational center and, during the period of de jure segregation, a place where visiting athletic teams stayed. Dr. Howard L. Cornish, Morgan Class of 1927, was director of the Morgan Christian Center from 1944 to 1976. New Ownership, and Name Change In 2008, because the Methodist Episcopal Church could no longer afford to operate the Morgan Christian Center and the nearby parsonage (also designed by Cassell), the two buildings were deeded to MSU. The venerable Morgan Christian Center was renamed the University Memorial Chapel. The name change was made to indicate that the Chapel had assumed the new mission of ministering to the spiritual needs of the entire Morgan community, not only Christians. In that same year, Dr. Bernard Keels, who holds a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University and Doctor of Ministry from McKendree School of Religion, was named director of the Chapel. Upon

becoming director, Dr. Keels was faced with two pressing problems: the decaying physical condition of the Chapel, and sparsely attended Sunday services. To assist in solving these problems, Dr. Keels convened a group of volunteers, Friends of the Chapel (FOC) — consisting of Morgan graduates as well as others — to advise him on strategies whereby the Chapel would return to its previous status as an essential and dynamic part of Morgan. Interfaith Services In keeping with its interfaith mission, clergy representing the Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions are now assigned to or available as resources of the Chapel. As a result of the hard work of these dedicated clergy, the Chapel has witnessed a surge in attendance at all of its faith services and is quickly outgrowing its physical meeting spaces. Of particular note: a new Islamic Prayer Room has been opened in renovated space within the Chapel, to serve the University’s growing Islamic community. Restoration and Preservation Throughout the process of planning for the Chapel’s needs, Dr. David Wilson, president, MSU, has been of invaluable assistance. He fully supported FOC’s goal to restore and preserve the Chapel and have it added to the National Register of Historic Places. Morgan graduates and students have also come to the assistance of the Chapel. Lt. Col. Larry D. Turner, U.S. Army (Ret.), Class of 1978, and his wife, Lottie Jackson Turner, are in the process of raising $100,000 for the Chapel in memory of their daughter Lauren N. Turner, a Morgan student, who was killed in a tragic accident in September 2010.

Members of Morgan’s Howard L. Cornish Metropolitan Baltimore Alumni Chapter have contributed in-kind services: they refinished the original pews. And in an unparalleled display of interdepartmental collaboration, Morgan graduate students in landscape architecture, under the direction of Melanie Moser, lecturer, presented proposals whereby the Chapel grounds would be landscaped to make them more accessible and inviting to the campus and surrounding community. The accessibility and site improvement plans proposed by the students will be implemented with funds from a grant provided by the State of Maryland. Future Needs Although great progress has been made in preserving the Chapel and restoring it to its original state, much work remains to be done. Additional work on the Chapel’s physical plant will cost approximately $200,000. Also, the variety and richness of programs offered by the Chapel need to be expanded significantly. Dr. Keels estimates that to implement the programs he envisions, an annual operating budget of $140,000 is required. It is hoped that alumni and friends of Morgan will donate generously to the Chapel, so it can continue to be a muchneeded source of spiritual guidance and support for the entire Morgan community. The FOC is seeking volunteers to join its group or support its activities. Tax-deductible contributions to the Chapel may be sent to the Morgan State University Foundation c/o the University Memorial Chapel. 

Leonard C. Simmons is former chair of the Friends of the Chapel. MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2013


Morgan’s Montford Point Marine

Franklin Beaird, ‘50, Receives Congressional Gold Medal By Peter Slavin

Bernice Johnson Beaird, MSU ‘54, knew that her husband, Franklin Beaird, MSU ‘50, had been a Marine in the Pacific Theater during World War II. But he never talked about his military service. After they married in 1954, it was another 57 years before she learned he was one of the Montford Point Marines: the African Americans who broke the Corps’ color barrier. 18


Indeed, like most Americans, black or white, Bernice had never heard of these warriors. Theirs is a largely forgotten chapter in United States military history, one that another Morgan graduate — writer, actor and producer Samm-Art Williams, ‘68 — attempted to popularize with his 2011 play “The Montford Point Marine.” Unlike the Army and Navy, the Marine

Corps had been a staunchly all-white institution since the Revolutionary War. But in June 1941, as war approached, President Franklin Roosevelt, pressured by black leaders, issued an executive order prohibiting further discrimination in war industries and federal agencies. Officials apparently used the executive order to insist the Marine Corps open its ranks.

Belated Recognition At the war’s end, Beaird, glad for his discharge, enrolled in the physical education bachelor’s degree program at Morgan, on the G.I. Bill.

“I did what I had to do. I stood tall, man. I dressed the part.” — Franklin Beaird, ’50 THE CORPS COMPLIED, but with conditions: the African Americans accepted were segregated from white Marines. A separate basic training facility was established at Montford Point, part of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Some 20,000 African-American Marines went to boot camp there between 1942 and 1949, when Montford Point closed. Rather than being welcomed by the Corps, these recruits met open prejudice. Unless accompanied by a white Marine, they were not allowed to set foot in Camp Lejeune. Local merchants locked up their shops when the black Marines were granted their first liberty, and later the Montford Pointers were frequently turned away from restaurants. After boot camp, the black Marines were shipped off to battle zones, where they served in all-black units. During that time, Marine leaders voiced their intention to discharge all black Marines after the war. Beaird heard the talk. “It was going to go back…to lily white,” he says. But the newcomers eventually proved their mettle in the field, and attitudes changed. The African Americans stayed. ‘As Good or Better’ Beaird was drafted at age 18, right after high school, and was told to report to Montford Point. He remembers the white drill instructors and the strong desire to excel among all of the black recruits he knew.

“We were going to prove that we were as good or better than those whites as Marines,” he says. He was insulted when Gen. Bedell Smith reviewed the trainees, who were drawn up in parade formation. He remembers Smith saying, “When…I saw your black folks in our Marine Corps uniforms, then I knew (there) was a war going on.” Those words have always stuck in his craw. Beaird eventually made corporal. “I wasn’t that gung-ho Marine…,” he says, “I did what I had to do. I stood tall, man. I dressed the part.” Beaird was sent to the Pacific as part of an ammunition company and took part in the invasion of half a dozen islands, including Okinawa. Their job was taking ammo to the front and bringing back the wounded. They weren’t a combat unit but were in the line of fire. Beaird was wounded but not seriously and went on despite contracting malaria. Acceptance by white Marines, most of whom were Southerners, grew tremendously over time, he recalls, as the African Americans showed their competence. One eye-opener was their performance at the battle of Iwo Jima, where Marine casualties were so high officers had to press blacks into combat. “I heard two in our outfit won the Medal of Honor,” he says.

“I was a rock, but they polished me and made me a nugget,” he says. He names a number of professors who “would try to help you any way they could.” Two, in particular, he says — professors Wilson and Carter — arranged for students to get extensions to pay their college fees when they ran short of money. They helped him when his G.I. Bill tuition check was late. After his graduation from Morgan, Beaird taught physical education and coached in the Baltimore City and Howard County (Md.) schools for 32 years, retiring as athletic director at Baltimore’s Southern High School (now Digital Harbor High School). Since then, he and Bernice have traveled the world. He always tried to keep the war out of mind, because of its horrors and the indignities he suffered as a black Marine. He declined to join the Montford Point Marine Association. The Montford Pointers went unrecognized for nearly 70 years, until Marine Commandant Gen. James F. Amos began to make amends for their inferior treatment. Last summer, 430 of the surviving Marines were honored in ceremonies in Washington, D.C., and given the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal. At the ceremonies, Beaird saw black three-star generals and black women colonels. “It was really beautiful to watch,” he says, adding, “They saluted me. They said, ‘Thank you, thank you. You led the way for us.’ ” The honors, the gratitude, the realization of the Montford Pointers’ accomplishments gave Beaird a sense of pride in his Marine service for the first time. He joined the Montford Point Marine Association soon thereafter. 

Video: Beaird can be seen speaking about his military and Morgan experience at MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2013


The Marcellus Shepard, MSU Class of 1997 By James Michael Brodie

“BROTHER, YOU GOT SOME PIPES!” And with that observation from Morgan’s music director, a radio career was launched. But it was not the career that 19-yearold Marcellus Shepard, ‘97, had envisioned. He dreamed of TV, the movies, perhaps even a singing career. But a class visit to the WEAA broadcast facilities in the fall of 1994 changed all of that, once the station’s program director took note of the rich baritone coming from the young student during a Q&A session and decided to put him on the air. Better known as “The Bassman,” Shepard, who majored in telecommunications at Morgan, has been synonymous with Baltimore radio for nearly two decades. He serves as interim general manager and program director for WEAA, overseeing all aspects of station programming and finances, and is responsible for just about every song played on the Morgan airwaves, sifting daily through hours of submissions, trying to find the right sounds. At other times, he is on the phone with label representatives who push to get their set of songs some play. The Bassman is a fixture on the afternoon program In the Groove, and cohosts the nationally syndicated Cool Jazz Countdown, which airs in more than a dozen markets. Shepard, now 39, came to the music the old fashioned way: growing up in a home where the sounds flowed like water in a stream.



“My father would always have these parties, with turntables going in the basement,” explains Shepard, a product of Prince George’s County, Md. “I would sit on the stairs just soaking it all in.” His father, who owns an engineering and heating company, had assumed that young Marcellus would follow in his footsteps, but the son had other ideas. After high school, Marcellus enrolled at Florida Memorial University in Miami, where he sang in the chorale. He and a group of college buddies formed a vocal group named FLOW and began performing love ballads around the city. They were soon discovered by a local producer who offered to give them a shot. But a clash of egos led to the group’s demise just as quickly as it had started. The group disbanded, and Shepard came home and enrolled at Morgan. After making an impression with the radio heads at WEAA, he found himself sitting in a studio on a Friday night, flying without a net. “The director just handed me a stack of CDs, said, ‘I’ll be back in my office,’ and left,” Shepard recalls with a laugh. “I messed up a thing or two that night.” He also made a mark. Soon, he was filling in for the regular disk jockeys, developing his now trademark voice. In 1999, Shepard took his sound to Radio One’s 92Q as host of the late night slow jam The Love Zone and began carving out a niche in the Baltimore radio world. He eventually returned to WEAA.

But that Hollywood dream is still very much alive. Shepard has acted in a few independent films that have received distribution — “Hip Hop Task force,” “Lorenzo” and “Monica” — and is one of the principal actors in the film “Bachelorette’s Degree,” which is due out late this year. He also hosted The Baltimore Buzz, which was a weekly TV newsmagazine featuring local news and entertainment, and was a featured contributor to the syndicated Michael Eric Dyson Show. Outside of radio, Shepard is an entrepreneur, as well. He is the owner of TVM Productions & Consulting LLC, an audio/visual production company. His clients have included the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of the Army and the Federal Aviation Administration. “I am the kind of person who if I have down time, it drives me crazy,” he says. “I am still working to move my brand around the country.”

As WEAA’s interim general manager and program director, Shepard is responsible for just about every song played on the Morgan airwaves.



International Exchange Students Flourish at MSU

(left to right) Eduardo Morais, Yeqing Liu and Lucas Possani, international exchange students at MSU



JIER LI AND YEQING LIU, FROM CHINA, AND LUCAS POSSANI AND EDUARDO MORAIS, FROM BRAZIL, are all undergraduates at Morgan and are among the first fruits of the University’s expansion of its student exchange programs. When we talked with them in February, Li was in her second semester at MSU, and Possani and Morais were in their first. All were adjusting quickly to their new home on Morgan’s campus and were getting used to such challenges as speaking English as a second language, exploring Baltimore using public transportation and doing more homework than they ever have. Morais, 23, is a chemistry major from Porto Alegre, in Southern Brazil. Like a true scientist, he was skeptical of the scary things he was hearing about the U.S. at home. “…One of the things that people were telling me: ‘There’s a lot of homework there.’ And I was like, ‘I don’t believe it,’ ” he says. “Then I came here, and there’s a lot of homework,” he adds, laughing. “…But the people here are very cool, especially the people here at Morgan. They’ve treated me very well. I like the city.” Morais plans to be a university professor. He and Possani, 22, who is a computer science major from Guarulhos, Brazil, came to Morgan through a very competitive Brazilian program called “The Science Mobility Program.” The two were selected from about 9,000 applicants nationwide. But T. Joan Robinson, Ph.D., Morgan’s vice president for International Affairs, explains that the Brazilian students’ path to the U.S. actually began in 2010, when President Barack Obama signed an educational agreement with President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil. That meeting of the minds led to a visit to Brazil by administrators of five Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including Morgan, and the formation of a 34-member HBCU/Brazil Alliance, of which Dr. Robinson is chair. In April 2012, the Alliance signed an agreement with Brazil’s Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES), to increase cooperations, collaborations and student exchanges between the two countries.

This past summer, 25 more students from Brazil took English as a second language courses at MSU, Dr. Robinson reports. Some of them stayed on as science or technology majors in the fall. “One of Morgan’s Strategic Goals is to enhance the University’s student and faculty exchanges globally,” she says. “As a doctoral research university, we want to increase our collaborations globally, by bringing students and faculty here, and also sending students and faculty abroad.” The University has increased its number of potential partners for student exchanges, through agreements with institutions in Brazil, China, Finland, Tanzania, France, India, Botswana, South Africa and other countries, she says.

to get a master’s degree somewhere in the U.S., work in the media and return to China. “…Studying here at Morgan is the biggest decision I’ve ever made. But I think I did it right,” says Li. “This is a good chance for me to explore the world. I like to go to different places (and have) different experiences.” Dr. Robinson knows Li’s sentiment well. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, she was once an international student in the U.S. herself, more than 40 years ago. “I have a passion for international student exchanges,” Dr. Robinson says. “It

Doing It Right The program that brought Jier Li and Yeqing Liu to Morgan began six years ago with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between MSU and China’s Hubei University. After a visit to Hubei in 2011 by Morgan President David Wilson for the Chinese institution’s 85th anniversary, Hubei administrators came to Morgan. During their visit, in April 2012, they signed an agreement establishing a 2/2 Bachelor of Science degree program: two years at Hubei and two years at Morgan. Li, a 20-year-old communications major from the city of Wuhan, speaks about the challenges of being closer to her professors at Morgan. “The first semester was sometimes difficult because you (have) a whole different education system,” she says. “Let’s say, in China, our class is up to 60 students. But here, it’s like 20. One of my classes we just have five. But we have more chances to communicate with our professor. “And,” she adds, smiling, “we have a lot more homework.” Li’s parents are both university professors. Her father teaches marketing, and her mother is a linguistics professor who has worked abroad in Austria. Li says her mother has given her free rein to choose her career path, and supported her decision to come to Morgan. After finishing the 2/2 program, Li plans

is important for us to know each other’s cultures and engage in collaborative dialogue, getting to know each other better. That’s based on the experience that I’ve had from travelling broadly,” she explains. “I feel our students need to have that exposure of going abroad.” Last year, Dr. Robinson established Morgan’s Center for Global Studies and International Education, which serves the University’s more than 350 international students. The Center is staffed by Ian Jacobs, Ph.D., executive director; Johnson Niba, assistant director; and Richard C. Kitson-Walters, director of international student services. Students interested in going to China to participate in the Morgan/Hubei dual-degree program should contact the Center’s staff, says Antoinette Coleman, Ph.D., MSU’s assistant vice president for Academic Affairs. For Morgan students interested in participating in exchange programs with Brazilian universities, information will be forthcoming through the Center once the program is fully implemented.  MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2013


New Leaders at MSU


By Jannette J. Witmyer

T. Joan Robinson, Ph.D.

Maurice Taylor, Ph.D., J.D.

Vice President, International Affairs

Vice President, Academic Outreach and Engagement

T. Joan Robinson, Ph.D. is an accomplished scientist, educator and educational administrator with 30 years of professional experience, 20 of them in service to Morgan State University. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in microbiology and a Ph.D. in cell biology/endocrinology. She then did three years of postdoctoral research at the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health, before launching her career in academia. Dr. Robinson has served as an assistant professor at North Carolina A&T State University and as associate professor at Xavier University of Louisiana.

Dr. Maurice Taylor’s impressive career at Morgan began some 22 years ago, in 1991, when he was hired as the assistant dean of the University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Since then, he has served as assistant vice president for Academic Affairs, special assistant to the president, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, vice president for University Operations, and, since July 2012, as vice president for Academic Outreach and Engagement.

Since coming to Morgan, Dr. Robinson has served as professor and chair of the Department of Biology; as dean of the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences and as University provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, before taking her current position. As vice president for International Affairs, she is responsible for bringing international students to the campus community, facilitating University-wide efforts to internationalize the curriculum, developing collaborations with institutions abroad, and other duties that enable Morgan to meet its strategic goals related to international education. Dr. Robinson is also chair of the HBCU-Brazil Alliance, a White House initiative to increase educational cooperation and student exchanges between the two countries. “Engagement with international learners and scholars is an essential element of the growth of any institution,” she says. “Morgan aspires to be a leader in cultivating intellectual and creative capital from the brightest minds worldwide."



In his current capacity, Dr. Taylor, one of the key architects of the University’s Strategic Plan, will be responsible for the administration of a variety of programs, among them, a seniors academy; summer institutes; and credit, noncredit, online, on-campus and off-campus courses. “The idea,” he says, “is to provide lifelong learning experiences. We will use the resources that we have at Morgan, in terms of faculty and student energy, to work with the communities, businesses and neighborhood organizations to accomplish a better quality of life for the residents…thereby improving the ability of Morgan students and faculty to be comfortable in that environment, as well.”

Innovation and Global Vision Enhance Morgan’s Growth

Kevin M. Banks, Ed.D.

Victor R. McCrary, Ph.D.

Vice President, Student Affairs

Vice President, Research and Economic Development

Dr. Kevin Banks is passionate about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and about his job at Morgan, which he has held since August 2012.

Dr. Victor McCrary joined Morgan’s administrative team in December 2012. Having spent most of his 30-year science and technology career in private industry, government and at a private university, he is excited to share his knowledge and experience with Morgan. It’s important to him that graduates of HBCUs have the same opportunity to “sit at the table” as others. So, through the years, he has created research partnerships between other HBCUs and organizations such the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the U.S. Navy to advance that goal.

“I believe that I’m here to support the students,” he says. “I know the difference that it can make in the life of a young person. My philosophy is about working with the students and being an advocate for the students.” The “difference” that this accomplished, 18-year veteran of leadership in academia speaks of relates to his experiences as an undergrad student at an HBCU, Winston-Salem State University, where he found a nurturing environment and had the good fortune of being mentored by one of Morgan’s favorite sons, Hall of Fame basketball coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines. As a result of his work experience and nontraditional educational path, Dr. Banks understands that a lot of learning happens outside of the classroom, and he sees himself as an expert in that area. Developing a stronger extracurricular environment for weekends, providing greater exposure to alumni, partnering with local community associations and developing a conflict mediation program on campus to work with area high school and middle school students are just a few of his many ideas for Morgan. He is committed to success, so much so that his son, now a freshman at Monmouth University, will become a Morgan student this fall.

Dr. McCrary, who was awarded the U.S. Commerce Department’s Gold Medal for developing standards for electronic books, is a firm believer in thinking outside of the box and taking ideas to the next level. His goal is to unlock Morgan’s entrepreneurial potential and establish the University, via its research prowess, as a catalyst for economic vitality across the state. He believes that can be accomplished by building a collaborative environment that encourages the various schools to link their efforts creatively. “At Morgan, the key to our innovation and vitality is (first to unlock) our potential to take risks, to be fearless,” he says. “…A good idea is a good idea. Let’s go make it happen. We are a premier urban university.”



Morgan’s PEARL

Improving Coastal Ecosystems

By Ferdinand Mehlinger

MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY opened a new chapter in its environmental stewardship, education, research and development program this summer, with the renaming and rededication of its estuarine research facility in St. Leonard, Md. Joined by several hundred people at the satellite campus, Morgan President David Wilson christened the open house event, announcing the new name of the former MSU Estuarine Research Center: the Morgan Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory (PEARL). Guests included federal, state and local government officials, administrators of the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University and representatives of the community neighboring the facility, among many others.

we all need to be accountable for and that we all have to be socially responsible for, developed later.”

Speaking on the significance of the continuing educational mission of Morgan’s PEARL, particularly for the next generation of urban youth, MSU’s newly appointed vice president of research and economic development, Victor R. McCrary, Ph.D., reflected on his early impressions of the Chesapeake as a young city dweller.

Commenting further on the renaming of the research facility, MSU President David Wilson said, “This new name is a reflection on this facility’s renewed commitment to its research mission, (which) is going to result in an environmentally improved Chesapeake Bay, a healthier seafood population and Maryland watermen who will benefit from a stronger industry.”

“I grew up in Washington, D.C., and when I saw the Potomac was when we drove by it,” said Dr. McCrary. “The Chesapeake Bay was something I knew about, as far as where we got crabs. But for kids growing up like I did in an urban environment, understanding that there is an entire ecosystem that



PEARL gives Morgan the distinction of being the only urban Historically Black College or University that has the Chesapeake Bay as part of its campus environment. Here, MSU students are able to conduct innovative research of the connections between complex ecological systems, while providing society with the knowledge to meet environmental challenges such as the effects of global warming in coming years. “We believe that the PEARL is a vital research facility in the mitigation of global climate change,” said Dr. McCrary.

Morgan acquired the 28,000-square-foot St. Leonard, Md., facility in 2005, when it was transferred to MSU in a partnership agreement with Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences. 

(left to right) David Rusen Ko, Vice President of Administration and Finance, Academy of Natural Sciences, Drexel University; David Jay Velinsky, Ph.D., Vice President of the Patrick Center for Environmental Research, Drexel University; Morgan President David Wilson, Ed.D.; Victor R. McCrary, Ph.D., Vice President for Research and Economic Development, MSU; Kelton Clark, Ph.D., Director, Morgan PEARL; Rev. Dr. Frances Mur-

phy Draper, Secretary of Morgan’s Board of Regents and Senior Pastor, Freedom Temple A.M.E. Zion Church, Brooklyn, Md.; Donna Murasko, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Drexel University; Mildred Ofosu, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Sponsored Programs, MSU; and Timothy Akers, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Research, Innovation and Advocacy and Professor of Public Health, MSU

Program Graduate Chunlei Fan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology at Morgan PEARL (right), with his former student Elaine Bautista, who graduated from Morgan in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Bautista now works for the National Institutes of Health.



By Lynette Locke

A Gift of ‘Memories’ An exhibition at Morgan’s James E. Lewis Museum of Art this past winter honored Morgan alumnus and benefactor James H. Gilliam Jr., ’67. The event, which ran from Feb. 10–28, was titled, “Making Memories: The Scrapbooks of Financier James H. Gilliam Jr., Esq., Morgan Alumnus, Baltimore Native.”

THE EXHIBITION TOLD THE STORY of the prominent lawyer, financier and humanitarian through his scrapbooks, which dated from his high school days until his death in 2003. Gilliam, an English major at Morgan, had a 20-year career with Beneficial Finance Corporation, where he served as executive vice president and general counsel until 1998. After leaving Beneficial, he and his wife, Linda G.J. Gilliam, D.M.D., now a Morgan regent, formed the Gilliam Foundation, a philanthropic organization established as a means for their family to channel resources back into the community. The foundation created a $1.5-million fine arts endowment at Morgan in 2000, in honor of James Gilliam’s mother and his father, who is also a Morgan graduate, Class of 1948. The James H. Gilliam Sr. and Louise Hayley Gilliam Concert Hall, the largest auditorium of the University’s Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center, bears their names. The younger James H. Gilliam was born in 1945 and kept dozens of scrapbooks 28


and notebooks about his life. “Making Memories” included highlights such as his correspondence and photographs with U.S. Presidents Clinton, Carter and Ford, and with Joe Biden, who was then a U.S. senator. The Gilliam family donated the scrapbooks to Morgan. Annette Palmer, Ph.D., chair of Morgan’s Department of History and Geography, and project director for the Gilliam Papers, says the University had no idea the family’s initial gift to Morgan three years ago would end with the retrospective on Gilliam’s accomplishments. “All I knew was that he had given (a large gift) to Morgan to honor his parents (and) that his peers in the English Department thought that as a student, he just about walked on water,” she says. The University needed someone to process the collection, and the Gilliam Foundation was willing to pay for the archiving. So a light bulb went off for Dr. Palmer. Morgan’s History and Geography Department had been talking for several years about introducing courses in public history. She thought the collection of

scrapbooks could become a hands-on laboratory where students could get experience in historical preservation. Dr. Palmer knew that her colleague in the department, professor Debra Newman Ham, Ph.D., had archival experience. Dr. Ham had worked at the Library of Congress and the National Archives, and she jumped at the chance to start the project. Their graduate and undergraduate students have gained valuable experience processing the collection, which includes more than 50 boxes of textual materials and about the same number of boxes of 3-D objects. “In addition to traditional history majors, we have students who are working on museum studies degrees. One of these students, Iris Barnes, was the curator for this exhibit,” says Dr. Ham. “Anyone who (visited) this exhibit (came) away with a greater understanding of this man in history and the important roles that African-American men and women have played in shaping it.” 

Students Celebrate at the 137th Commencement A CROWD of more than 10,000 family members, friends and well-wishers filled W.A.C. Hughes Memorial Stadium this past May 18, as Morgan conferred degrees to more than 1,100 graduates at its 137th annual Commencement exercises. The University awarded baccalaureate degrees to more than 800 undergraduate students and more than 300 master’s and doctoral degree candidates, under a bright sky at the Saturday ceremony. “This is the moment of validation of the investment made by our students and their families,” said Morgan President David Wilson. “We are honored and excited to send these graduates out into the world to grow a future of innovation and prosperity.” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed the graduates as this year’s Commencement speaker, tracing his own career path — from college in the U.S., to professional basketball player in Australia, to executive at a Chicago not-for-profit that provided college education opportunities for students at a struggling inner-city school. And he told how the major lessons he has learned coincide with the main elements of a Morgan education. “I have great faith that when you leave Morgan State, you will also remember

those essential ingredients of an MSU education: the call to lead a life of consequence, to pursue your passion and to be a world citizen,” he said. Duncan also expressed support for Historically Black Colleges and Univer-

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, 2013 Commencement speaker sities, saying “HBCUs must not merely survive. They must thrive. As we move ahead, we can only lead the world again in college graduation rates, as the president has challenged us to do, with the leadership and success of HBCUs.” Since the Obama administration took office, federal funding for HBCUs has increased by 43 percent, from $3.6 billion to $5.2 billion, and Pell Grant funding for HBCU students has jumped 77 percent, from $523 million to $929 million.

Honorary degrees were awarded to two distinguished champions of civil rights and education. Prominent educator Dr. Charles Vert Willie, of the Harvard School of Education, and the Honorable Fred David Gray, former attorney for Rosa Parks and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., both received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Notable graduates of the MSU Class of 2013 include Fulbright Scholar Christian Kameni, a history major and Prince George’s County, Md., native, who went to Paris this past summer to teach English in the French Ministry of Education. Also graduating were mother and daughter Beulah and Tiye Lewis of Baltimore, Md., who received undergraduate degrees in family and consumer sciences and in physical education, respectively, from the School of Education and Urban Studies. A perfect 4.0 grade-point average earned graduate Craig Cornish of Southern Maryland, a member of Morgan’s National Champion Honda Campus All-Star Challenge team, a full scholarship to Princeton University to study history. Also of note was the award of Morgan’s first doctorate in psychometrics to Mercy W. Nedge Mugo, from the School of Graduate Studies.



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Growing the Future • Leading the World

Morgan Magazine 2013 Issue Vol. 1  
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