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M S U a n d t h e S e a r c h f o r t h e N a t i o n’s O l d e s t Fr e e B l a c k C o m m u n i t y

Morgan Magazine

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3 – Cover Story

President’s Letter

Helping Hands

Eastern Shore Revival

A bridge between past and future

The Links’ GRASP Scholarship benefits HBCU students




Court Affirms Discrimination in ‘HBI Equity Case’

Commencement Highlights History and Progress

Maysa Leak, ’91

Judge’s ruling mandates changes in Maryland higher education

The U.S. attorney general and BGE’s CEO inspire Morgan’s newest alumni



Ahead of the Curve

Janet Clash Woolridge

Technology executive Kevin Hawkins advances with skills learned at Morgan

Author and retired educator is a woman of words and action

2 0 1 4

MSU researchers make a major historical find

Veteran vocalist becomes a Grammy nominee

18 Ideas in Motion Morgan’s National Transportation Center




Morgan Graduate Wins on Jeopardy

Leadership Spotlight

Lee Hull, New Head Coach

Recently appointed deans boost MSU’s academics

Changing the football culture

Craig Cornish’s brainpower brings another national championship

I ,

Cover Photo: Theatre Morgan students reenact an 1818 church service by the Rev. Shadrack Bassett in Easton, Md. Preserving the town’s history is part of the redevelopment plan being implemented by MSU’s School of Architecture and Planning. Listed below are the actors from Morgan’s Theatre Arts program who appear on the cover of this issue: Marissa Baker Jenelle Brown Dominique Butler Janene Franklyn Medine Kande Lisa Larsen Briana Leach Ariel Lindo Tavon McLaughlin Aaron Miller Keena Noble Tony Roberts (graduate) Carlyle Sealy Maurice Williams

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, selfaddressed envelope. Letters are also welcome. Send 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 Assistant Director of Web Communications

Henry McEachnie MORGAN MAGAZINE STAFF Publications Manager

Ferdinand Mehlinger Contributing Editor

Eric Addison Art Director

David E. Ricardo Senior Graphic Designer

Andre Barnett



The Vietnam Era Vets Club

From Morgan with Love

Former servicemen made big contributions to the development of Morgan State

A University Memorial Chapel event hosts couples with degrees from MSU

Graphic Designer

Kirian Villalta Photographers

P. A. Greene John Moore Contributing Writers

Cindy Atoji Donna M. Owens Peter Slavin Leeandria Williams Jannette J. Witmyer

President’s Letter Alumni and Friends, This issue of Morgan Magazine includes a number of articles around the theme of our University as a bridge from past to future. The intriguing photo on the cover of this volume addresses Morgan’s central role in identifying The Hill in Easton, Md., as what may be the oldest continuously inhabited community of free African Americans in the U.S. This is hardly the first time researchers at MSU have made major additions to the historical record. But, as you will read, research is only part of Morgan’s current involvement in Easton. A multidisciplinary team from the University is also leading the implementation of a plan to revitalize The Hill community and place it on a firm footing for prosperity in the coming decades. At the centerfold of the magazine, you will find an article about MSU alumnus Kevin Hawkins, a technology executive and entrepreneur now making major contributions of his time and treasure to alma mater. His father, owner of a construction company, knew nothing about his son’s newfangled major, which was information science and systems, but he had known enough about Morgan’s track record to steer his son to the University for the education that made Kevin a leader in the use of the Internet. Another Morgan alumnus and major donor, Janet Clash Woolridge, followed the long tradition of her husband’s family to get a degree at Morgan and achieve professionally, during the difficult days of de jure segregation. She went on to become an educator who fought for brighter futures for students who, once like herself, were considered not worthy of higher education. She has also written novels with settings that span centuries and link the experiences of African Americans from the 1700s to modern times.

Craig Cornish, profiled on page 21, is also a Morgan alumnus with expertise in history. A 2013 graduate, he recently put Morgan on a national stage with his successful run on Jeopardy, as he continued his education at Princeton. The article on page 8 discusses Morgan’s role in a legal case that continues to draw national attention. Remaining committed to the promise of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, Morgan alumni were instrumental in pursuing a lawsuit that may strengthen HBCUs and enhance diversity in higher education in Maryland. Fittingly, our coverage of Morgan’s recent Commencement exercises includes comments by Attorney General Eric Holder, one of the speakers at the Spring exercises, about the 60th anniversary of Brown. His words, and those of Calvin G. Butler Jr. — chief executive officer of Baltimore Gas and Electric Company and an impressive beneficiary of the Brown decision — were a great inspiration to our most recent alumni, who were poised to “grow the future and lead the world,” as Morgan students always have. Thank you for your continued support of this publication and Morgan State University. Sincerely,

David Wilson President



Helping Hands The Links’ GRASP Scholarship Benefits HBCU Students Patricia Jessamy, President, Baltimore Chapter of The Links, Inc. By Donna M. Owens


hen Shalene Simpson entered Morgan four years ago, it was a dream come true. “I love being in college,” says the physical therapy major, who grew up in Prince George’s County, Md. “I enjoy my classes, and I’ve joined some clubs.” But like countless students across the country, Simpson, 23, has struggled to pay tuition and related educational costs. “My grandmother helps, but I’m paying out of pocket,” she explains. “I have work/study at the museum on campus and a part-time job at a hospital.” Now in her senior year at Morgan and slated to earn her bachelor’s degree by summer 2014, Simpson was worried about how she would pay for the final stretch of school. Enter the Baltimore Chapter of The Links, Inc. — part of the 12,000member women’s service organization — and its new scholarship that is already benefiting students at Morgan and Coppin State Universities. The Graduation, Retention and Support Program, known as GRASP, was established to provide emergency financial assistance, prioritizing seniors who meet academic and other university requirements. 2


“Members of our organization have been alarmed by the numbers of African-American students who are dropping out of college for financial reasons,” says Patricia Jessamy, president of the chapter. “Some of them are leaving for fairly small amounts of money…a few hundred dollars. It’s amoral. We felt that something needed to be done.

from Washington, D.C., received $400 dollars and was also thankful.

The chapter founded GRASP with a $3,000 initial gift, using donations from its membership and Baltimore-area businesses, among them, Premier Rides and Barcoding Inc.

Hearing such stories is “immediate gratification,” says Esther Avery, a Links member who chairs the chapter’s HBCU initiative. She called the scholarship efforts vitally important in advancing educational opportunities in the African-American community.

“We have pooled our resources to immediately redirect these students,” says Crystal Watkins Johannson, M.D., Ph.D., a Links member who chairs the chapter’s scholarship committee. “We also plan to add a mentoring component that will give the students additional support.” GRASP scholars are awarded up to $500 each, although organizers say they may increase that figure to $1,000. Three scholarships have been awarded to date: one at Coppin and two at Morgan. Simpson, who received $300 dollars, says she felt privileged to get the grant. Bianca Johnson, a Morganite who hails

“I used the money to pay for books and the final bit of registration,” says Johnson, 23, a psychology major who graduated in May. “My brother has a degree, but (I was) the first woman in my family to graduate from college,” she says.

“One of the challenges at HBCUs is the graduation rate,” she says. The Baltimore chapter of The Links, one of four in the city, has also established several other scholarships at Morgan and at Howard University. Jessamy, a former Baltimore state’s attorney who has been active in philanthropic causes, says she hopes other Links chapters can replicate GRASP. “The community can also add to what we’re doing and continue to gift those dollars,” she says. “Helping someone to graduate is a wonderful feeling.” 

Morgan Shines New Light on the Hidden History of Easton, Md. By Ferdinand Mehlinger The Slave Market in Easton (circa 1750).


he sweet smell of magnolia blossoms drifts once again through the Victorian porches of this historic Chesapeake Bay town, signaling that spring has arrived in Easton, Md. Easton has left a strong imprint on American history since its founding in 1710. Frederick Douglass was born a slave near here and spoke as a free man from the same pulpit in the same church that stands preserved to this day. Harriet Tubman operated the Underground Railroad from trails running near this land to help escaped slaves navigate by moonlight to Frederick freedom in the North. And Douglass George Washington was a visitor here after the American Revolution, when tobacco was the king of export crops and oysters and crabs in the bay were plentiful. But some of the town’s history, particularly that of its AfricanAmerican inhabitants, slipped into obscurity and was largely forgotten over time. Morgan State University is leading the historical and archaeological research of The Hill community of Easton, which may prove to be the nation’s oldest extant community continuously inhabited by free African Americans. The Hill was also the home of more than 400 free blacks in 1790, the largest population of nonbonded African Americans in the Chesapeake region. Most of these freedmen and freed-

women had been released from slavery because their Quaker or Methodist former masters had found their continued bondage to be a moral offense. Legally free, they remained largely invisible to mainstream society, reaping crumbs from the promise that America held for its European occupants. The Easton slave market held auctions next to the town’s historic courthouse. And although the building where the sales were conducted is long gone, a monument to those who fought and died for the right to “Easton has one of the oldest buy and sell human cargo now courthouses in America, one that stands proudly in the courtnever ooded, never burned and house yard. Dedicated in May one that at one point served as 1916 by the Charles Winder the (colonial) capital of (the camp of the United ConfedEastern Shore). That’s why George erate Veterans, the single Washington and Thomas bronze figure in Confederate Jefferson were so connected to battle uniform lists at its base the town.” 88 soldiers from Easton who fought with General Robert E. — Professor Dale Glenwood Green, Lee. In that very same courtMorgan School of Architecture and yard, 95 years after the ConfedPlanning erate memorial was erected, another monument of equal prominence was dedicated in 2011: a statue of the United States’ shared many of its more southern most renowned freed slave, Frederick neighbors’ sentiments about mainDouglass — abolitionist, scholar, taining slavery as an appendage to free enterprise. The fact that memorials to orator, author and publisher. Civil War-era opponents can coexist in Paradoxes such as these abound in such prominent view in the town Easton. It was, after all, a border state speaks of the New South and the directown during the Civil War. Maryland tion that Easton is headed. It’s an never joined the Confederacy but American story, and it is still evolving. Continued on page 4 MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2014






The Rev. Shadrack Bassett Arrives Itinerant preachers who rode circuits through small towns and villages were common in 18th century America and were popular where congregations could not build a house of worship. Many were Methodist. They would often appear on horseback or on horsedrawn carts and hold Sunday prayer meetings under trees or in open spaces in towns where all could gather to hear their sermons. “In 1710, when the town (of Easton) was founded, there was no black church,” says Dale Green, Morgan assistant professor of architecture and historic preservation. “And this is an important part of what Rev. Shadrack Bassett (did), because he (empowered) this settlement of free blacks by enabling them to create the first colored organization to be established on the Eastern Shore: the Bethel AME Church.” “Our own university, Morgan State, was birthed out of a church,” he adds, “so the black church is very important to the community.” Continued from page 3

The Project, the Plan In 2013, the Town of Easton, Maryland asked Morgan State University to propose a revitalization plan for their historic municipality, some parts of which had fallen into disrepair and neglect. The project became known as The Hill Small Area Plan, named after a central part of Easton, “The Hill,” where free blacks lived a hidden history. Morgan’s vision and framework for the comprehensive revitalization of The Hill preserves the community’s historical integrity, stimulates economic growth and provides a range of other public benefits, such as replacement of 4


The Morgan Team in Easton, Md.

Archana Sharma, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, (clockwise from far left): Landscape Architecture Department; Jasmine Forbes, planning student; Angela Howell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Hadley Joseph, landscape architecture student; Sociology/Anthropology Department; Khashayar Shahkolahy, architecture student; Stella Hargrett, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Finola Perry, landscape architecture student; Sociology/Anthropology Department; Tonya Sanders, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, City Marvin Perry, Division of Research and and Regional Planning Department; Economic Development;

blighted housing with mixed housing developments, and creation of office and retail corridors and public green spaces. “The Hill Community Project began in 2010, when I spoke at a preservation conference on Historic African American Churches here in Easton,” says MSU Assistant Professor of Architecture Dale Glenwood Green. “I gave my presentation at the Tidewater Inn, where members from Historic Easton, Inc. and both Asbury United Methodist and Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Churches were in attendance. After that session, they invited me back to that same community to look into the history of two black churches and The Hill community.” Professor Green grew up in Easton but admits that before his recent research, he had never heard of The Hill. As he runs down the facts that the project is now uncovering, it is easy to forget he is not a historian but an architect. Morgan’s team in Easton is transdisciplinary by intent. Dean Mary Anne Akers of MSU’s School of Architecture and Planning gathered faculty from architecture, planning, landscape architecture, historic preservation, sociology, anthropology, economics and education to have them

Dale Glenwood Green, Assistant Professor, Architecture Department; Mary Anne Akers, Ph.D., Dean, School of Architecture and Planning, and Professor, City and Regional Planning Department; and Paul Voos, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture Department

engage their students in developing a small area plan for The Hill. She anticipated that the experts in each discipline would influence the others toward a uniquely synergistic outcome. A total of 52 undergraduate and graduate students conducted site analyses, historical documentation, business and community surveys, personal interviews and community meetings for the project. As the records were made public, “the project became more community-based and moved from structures to the sociological aspects of what they represented,” Professor Green recalls, “and it continued to snowball.” Morgan’s vision guided the project’s rapid growth, and in Fall 2013, The Hill Small Area Plan was born. The University has made a five-year commitment to lead the plan’s implementation, with support from local, state and federal government agencies and several not-for-profit organizations. “A half-million dollars have been raised in philanthropic dollars thus far for The Hill Community Project, and $1.8 million is being currently secured from federal, state and local sources,” says Professor Green. “So it is a major project in many regards.” Continued on page 6


Easton, Md.

Issues Streetscape Analyses: Red Dots: (above) Landscape design intervention to address weak “sense of arrival”

Blue Bars: (above) Tree planting to address sparse tree cover in relation to the rest of the Hill

Yellow Bar — Redesign the RTC green trail: (a) as storm water collection, treatment and dispersal landscape for the town and with sensitivity toward its storm water management role in the watershed.

Green Bars: (above) A combination of rain gardens and bioswales leading toward the Rails to Trails-RTC green trail on the east, to address the issue of stormwater management (flooding and prevention of polluted runoff

(b) to better integrate it with the rest of the town through highlighting the intersections with different materials and plantings.

(c) to introduce economy-revitalizing programs along the trail for example, through conversion of the historic trolley station as a coffee and bike rental shop.

Solutions Sustainability-oriented design interventions through the entire Hill:  Introduction of rain barrels in backyards of all institutional buildings  Incentive for residences to include rain barrels and rainwater reuse

“The open spaces and the green spaces in landscape become the arterial system of the town connecting everything.” — Dr. Archana Sharma, MSU School of Architecture and Planning

 Conversion of 20 percent of current surface parking lots to rain gardens in addressing flooding issue but also reducing heat island effect  Re-grading the sidewalks to act as water directional element toward the RTC green trail

 Introduction of outdoor benches designed by local artisans on wide streets to make them seniorfriendly places

 Re-paving the sidewalks with brick material to reduce heat island effect and to reference the material of historic buildings, thus reinforcing the historic character of the town  Identification of art and history walking tours through depiction of historic and cultural references or events in the sidewalk material

 Addressing the inconsistency in street boulevard style look by planting trees and installing aesthetically pleasing lighting fixtures throughout The Hill rather than only on select streets.




Cassandra M. Vanhooser Director of Tourism, Talbot County, Md.

“We have to educate people of where we have been as we go forward, so we don’t make the mistakes of the past again.” On growing up in Easton, she says, “We were the help. We couldn’t go to ne restaurants. We didn’t have the privileges that we should have had.”

Jordan Leif Lloyd Executive Chef, Bartlett Pear Inn

Rosalie Sewell Gale Born in l922, Rosalie Sewell Gale is the oldest resident of The Hill and a living reminder of those whose dignity could not be compromised during the years of segregation. She turned 92 on March 12, 2014. The house where she resides, and where she was born, has been passed down through three generations of her family. She is a member of Bethel AME Church.

“There is a great opportunity through the efforts of Morgan to present ourselves to the nation as a place of enrichment.”

Continued from page 4

Broad Alliance His research on the history of The Hill has brought Professor Green close to celebrity status in Easton, if he hasn’t already reached it, that is. As principal investigator, he has become not only the face, voice and soul of The Hill Community Project but the focus of the hope it has generated among town residents. Doors open, people smile, and warm conversation begins when he meets the townspeople with his usual natty outfit, Sunday manners, warm smile and hug or handshake. But Professor Green is hardly alone in his optimism about The Hill. Cassandra M. Vanhooser, director of tourism for Talbot County, is on board



with the educational value that the vision and the plan are bringing to Easton. “We have introduced young visiting teachers to The Hill and its history,” she says, “and have planted that seed so that they can tell the story to their pupils in their schools. To see the young kids excited about it is thrilling, and that’s what makes me see the possibilities in The Hill project. It was still a hidden story until Professor Green started scratching the surface here. It was just a group of houses or a building here and there.” Easton Mayor Robert C. Wiley also

weighs in on the benefits of the small area plan. “This project (is providing funding for) a long-neglected neighborhood that is in need of a lot of help with infrastructure, housing and job opportunities,” he says. The mayor anticipates great improvement of The Hill’s streetscape, by replacing sidewalks, curbs, gutters and pavement, burying utility lines underground, planting trees and adding architectural buffering. Archana Sharma, Ph.D., assistant professor of landscape architecture at Morgan, sees the small area plan as an “organic overlay” to the historic

“I enjoyed being part of a project with such an important purpose,” says Brittany Hutchinson, a senior in Morgan’s graduate program in museum studies. “As a Morgan student, I think I felt most accomplished in knowing that I was able to contribute to the University’s legacy in some way. Personally, there was a great sense of accomplishment in being able to take part in a very positive African-American narrative. The history surrounding The Hill indicated

that this community was able to flourish in an environment where African Americans were marginalized to the point of invisibility in some cases. Morgan gave all of the researchers involved with the project an opportunity to lend a voice to an important part of the AfricanAmerican experience here in Maryland. For me, as an AfricanAmerican archaeologist and historian, it was an honor.”


The Excavation

– 1794 LIBERTY CAP CENT coin found in Easton, Md.

— MSU museum studies student Brittany Hutchinson at the excavation site at The Hill The Hill Community “The history surrounding The Hill indicated that this community was able to ourish in an environment where African Americans were marginalized to the point of invisibility in some cases.” — Brittany Hutchinson

themes of Easton. She and Paul Voos, associate professor and chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at MSU, envision streetlamps lighting the pathways with turn-of-the-century lampposts inlaid with replicas of coins from the 18th century. Collaboration with the community is key to successful design and other aspects of the project, Dean Akers says. “I think (the niche we have at MSU) is community-based development. We don’t go forward and plan for people. We plan with people,” she says. “Planners look at current conditions, and we ask the community how they want their community to look. And we develop capital

programs to make that happen. We are creating social capital.” “Along with the plans for town improvements, there is the issue of sustainability,” says Marvin Perry, a research and economic development associate at Morgan. “How do we create jobs and economic bases to keep the momentum going forward? “This is quite a change from, say, 80 to 100 years ago, when black businesses catered to black customers because of segregation,” Perry adds. “Once integration took off, black businesses began to decline to where they are today.” Perry is part of the MSU team seeking to

establish business incubators for startup companies and create a labor base that will grow with the town’s gentrification plans. The team is also looking at enhancing education for Easton’s youth. “That’s the other (benefit): from an economic development standpoint,” says Cassandra Vanhooser about the redevelopment plan for The Hill. “I’m really encouraged by and hopeful for the things it will do for this neighborhood, because we would like to see this neighborhood come back to life…. My hope is that a rising tide will lift all boats here. “I think what is great,” she adds, “is how people are coming together to support this project.”  MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2014


Court Affirms Discrimination in ‘HBI Equity Case’ Judge’s ruling mandates changes in Maryland higher education

Bowie State University, Coppin State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. In its case, the organization identified a number of policies and practices begun before the Brown decision and continued to this date by the State of Maryland, policies and practices that the Coalition claimed maintain and perpetuate a separate and unequal system of higher education segregated by race. Those include discriminatory funding practices, unfair allocation of missions to the State’s public colleges and universities and the approval and unnecessary duplication of HBI academic programs at Traditionally White Institutions (TWIs). The Coalition put the total funding deficiency at HBIs as a result of those policies and practices at $2.1 billion.

David J. Burton, ‘67


sked to outline the October 2013 ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Blake in the case Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, et al. v. Maryland Higher Education Commission, et al., Pace McConkie relishes the opportunity. McConkie, a longtime civil rights lawyer and the director of Morgan’s Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education, has been following the case closely since its inception in 2005. “It’s been a long process, but you have to feel good…” he says. “It has long been 8


Pace McConkie

acknowledged that Maryland operated a de jure segregated (higher education) system, and after Brown v. Board of Education it had to dismantle that system…. Well, it’s been 60 years since Brown. And in that 60 years, this is the first time that a federal court has weighed in and made findings of fact and conclusions of law that Maryland is still operating its system in violation of the law (and) that it has to fix it.” The Coalition represents students, alumni and supporters of Morgan State University and Maryland’s three other Historically Black Institutions (HBIs) —

While the Court found that gaping funding disparities continue to exist and should be addressed by the State, it did not find that existing practices for funding or allocation of missions by the State are clearly linked to the pre-Brown era of de jure segregation. However, it sided with the Coalition and mandated a remedy on the matter of academic programs, program approval and the unnecessary duplication of HBI programs. Upon delineating a framework for a remedy, the Court asked the State and the Coalition to attempt to mediate a remedial agreement and appointed Judge Paul W. Grimm to oversee and facilitate the negotiations. Should the parties fail to reach an adequate agreement in a reasonable amount of time, the Court will conduct a remedial phase of the trial and order a remedy and final judgment consistent with its findings of fact and conclusions of law.

“I think the judge…gave us a broad victory.” — David J. Burton, ’67, Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education

“All of these programs are going to have to be successfully implemented. That requires money.” — Pace J. McConkie, Morgan’s Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education

Some observers have interpreted Judge Blake’s ruling as a partial win for Maryland HBIs, but Coalition President David J. Burton, MSU Class of 1967, strongly disagrees. “I think the judge…gave us a broad victory,” Burton says. “I think a lot of people may have felt, ‘Well, you didn’t get the big bucks.’ (But) she gave us a lot more than that. She gave a future to resolve this in a way that will be a lot more far-reaching than a financial settlement. And I think she gave us a blueprint to make this right.” Cautious Optimism The remedy as outlined by Judge Blake in her ruling “is going to require several things,” says McConkie. “It is going to require an enhancement and improvement of existing academic programs at the HBIs. It is going to require an infusion of new, high-demand programs at the HBIs that will not be duplicated at the Traditionally White Institutions. It’s going to require a transfer of programs from the TWIs back to the HBIs, and it’s going to require a merger of programs and, possibly, institutions…. “All of these programs are going to have to be successfully implemented,” he continues. “That requires money. It requires buildings and other facilities, labs, faculty, staff, money for marketing, recruitment. And, in fact, it’s going to require millions and millions, maybe billions of dollars over time.” An Oct. 9, 2013 article in the Baltimore Sun presented Maryland’s HBI presidents as cautiously optimistic the ruling would lead to good things for their institutions.

“That could mean anything,” MSU President David Wilson was quoted in the article. “It could mean Morgan could have a school of public health. It could mean Morgan could have a statewide center of nanotechnology.” The article also stated that Dr. Wilson was “reviewing the opinion to determine its short- and longterm implications.” McConkie and Burton expect the legal remedy to aid HBIs in their “dual mission,” a mission acknowledged by Judge Blake: providing higher education to those who have been excluded historically and preparing all students to participate and compete successfully in the global economic community. “We want these institutions to be of such a stature and nature that they are viable choices for any student regardless of race or ethnicity,” says McConkie. “But in doing that, also, it enhances the educational opportunities for African-American students who choose to attend them. And the fact is that they remain overwhelmingly minority-serving institutions.” Burton is founder and president of Diverse Manufacturing Supply Chain Alliance, an organization that works with Fortune 500 and other large companies to diversify their manufacturing and logistics suppliers by “leveling the playing field.” He sees many parallels between discrimination against minority institutions in the private sector and in academia. “I was well aware of the subtle nature of disparity and how it incrementally creeps (and) accumulates over time,” he says, “without (anyone’s) seeing the pervasive and insidious effects of it.”

After learning about and researching the duplication of Morgan’s M.B.A. program at Towson University in 2005, Burton decided a lawsuit against the Maryland Higher Education Commission was necessary. From McConkie’s perspective, the potential impact of Judge Blake’s ruling could hardly be bigger, or better, for higher education in Maryland. The ruling, he believes, has implications that are national “and far-reaching, beyond just what happens on campuses…. Civil rights (in) education, employment, housing, voting rights and political empowerment, the criminal justice system: everything is essentially linked. And when you advance the cause of civil rights in one area, you inherently advance the cause in all areas.” But McConkie believes that for too many Marylanders, the ruling is like huge news in another universe. “And that’s problematic,” he says. Burton urges citizens, especially Morgan alumni, to stay abreast of the case. “I would like to extend appreciation to all in the community who have supported this and ask for them to stand with us as we move forward, because sometimes people tend to breathe a sigh of relief when something happens good like the judge’s ruling,” he says. “But let’s not lose sight of the fact that the real challenge is the execution and that the real threat is the lack of oversight. And that’s when the support of the general community will really be important.” 



Commencement Highlights History and Progress There was Shanna Green, who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. Green endured a childhood riddled with abuse in Baltimore’s foster care system and group homes, made her way to Morgan with the guidance of caring mentors and pastors, and started an organization to help Morgan students who emerge from foster care. There was the father and son pair among the engineering graduates: Samuel Aimufua earned his Master of Science degree in transportation and urban infrastructure studies, and Osas Aimufua earned his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. MSU degree candidates and faculty cross Welcome Bridge. (May 17, 2014) he numbers alone were enough to grab one’s attention at Morgan’s 138th annual Spring Commencement exercises, which took place this past May 17 at the University’s Hughes Stadium, on the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling. By MSU President David Wilson’s count, more than 1,300 candidates received degrees during the University’s 2013–14 academic year, including a record 52 doctoral graduates and the first two students to complete Morgan’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program. Add the impressive stories behind statistics like these; the attendance of the 50th anniversary class, the Class of 1964, in gold caps and gowns; and the two guest speakers who are first African Americans in their high positions — Calvin G. Butler Jr., CEO of




Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, and Eric H. Holder Jr., U.S. attorney general — and a truly historic event was evident. Among the candidates on the stadium field was Nicholas Edwards, a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and a recipient of Morgan’s prestigious Regent’s Scholarship. The 3.9 gradepoint average he earned on the way to getting his bachelor’s degree in information science and systems, and the confidence he gained by scoring in the 95th percentile on the Graduate Management Admissions Test, helped secure his acceptance to the University of Virginia School of Law. He has deferred attendance at the law school to enroll in Wells Fargo’s securities analyst training program.

There were nontraditional students, such as Shardé Harrison of Baltimore, who earned her bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences after a 10-year academic journey in higher education, including time off to be primary caretaker for her grandmother. She plans to become a teacher now in the Baltimore City Public Schools. There was Kemi Akinrimisi, who received her bachelor’s degree in biology, as relatives who had traveled from Ondo Town, Nigeria, looked on proudly from the stands. The Commencement speaker, Calvin Butler Jr., told these and the other candidates about the failures he experienced in his exceptional career, on the way to his current position as head of the nation’s oldest gas utility. Butler, a first-generation college student, told the degree candidates, “If I can do it, so can you…. With such a rich history and

Calvin G. Butler Jr., Chief Executive Officer, BGE

Eric H. Holder Jr., U.S. Attorney General

Carl W. Turnipseed, ’69, 2014 Alumnus of the Year

The Spring Commencement exercises filled Hughes Stadium. (May 17, 2014) strong foundation, how can you…as a proud graduate of Morgan State, not believe in the power of you?” Butler’s address was followed by remarks from Attorney General Holder commemorating Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark ruling that brought down the legal foundation of racially segregated education in the U.S. “…Thanks to Brown and those who made it possible, your generation will never know a world in which ‘separate but equal’ was the law of the land,” said Holder, who went on to state that the greatest threat to equal opportunity in the U.S. today is policies that impede that equality “in fact, if not in form.” He urged the soon-to-be graduates “…to find ways to serve your communities and give back to our nation. Never hesitate to ask difficult questions and call attention to uncomfortable truths. And work, above all, to promote understanding, to foster

inclusion and to push our nation forward.”

Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Briana Bobbitt, secretary of Morgan’s senior class, delivered the farewell address with the composure of a veteran, in front of the high-profile party on the platform. Her four-part message to her classmates was never to be comfortable with their accomplishments, never to give up, never to accept limitations on their abilities that others try to impose and never to be afraid of failure.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Wilson told the new graduates the University had deliberately tested their ability and resolve to succeed in higher education, “and we have dared you to dream dreams bigger than those you had when you entered Fair Morgan…. We are really proud of each and every one of you here at Morgan, and we look forward to hearing of the incredible success that we all know will come your way.”

President Wilson and Kweisi Mfume, chairman of the MSU Board of Regents, conferred honorary doctorates to Butler, Holder, theoretical physicist Sylvester J. Gates Jr., Joseph T. Jones Jr., founder, president and CEO of the Center for Urban Families, and Carl W. Turnipseed, Morgan Class of 1969, the 2014 Alumnus of the Year, who retired in 2012 as executive vice president of the Financial Services

The Spring exercises were the second historic commencement for the University this past academic year. More than 300 candidates received their degrees during Morgan’s inaugural December Commencement, which was held at Murphy Fine Arts Center last Dec. 20. ABC News anchor Byron Pitts was the speaker. 



G R A M M Y 2014


Maysa Leak, ’91 Veteran Singer Becomes a Grammy Nominee By Leeandria Williams

Maysa Leak


aysa Leak, MSU Class of ’91, has reason to celebrate. With her first Grammy Award nomination, for the song “Quiet Fire” from her 10th album, “Blue Velvet Soul,” she has secured a title as one of the world’s most talented musicians. Leak, commonly known by one name, “Maysa,” by her fans and peers, continually produces timeless classics with a voice that resonates styles of jazz, blues and contemporary funk. The news of the nomination, in the Best Traditional R&B Performance category, came as a surprise. Wendi Cherry, executive director of The Recording Academy’s Washington, D.C. Chapter, called Maysa during her son Jazz’s 14th birthday party. “I was cleaning the kitchen, and when I saw her name, it didn’t register why she was calling me,” says Leak, who resides in Baltimore, Md. “I literally just screamed, and I was crying so hard. It was such a beautiful and surreal moment that I have waited more than 22 years for.” “Quiet Fire,” written by Johnny “Hammond” Smith and Cheryl Friberg, was

originally written for Nancy Wilson’s 1988 album “Nancy Now!” Leak is an admirer of Wilson and often listened to her version to draw inspiration. “I’m a big fan of Nancy Wilson, and I really try to think about the artist who did (a song) before me and show them love and respect,” says Leak. Beginning at age 3 singing for guests at her parents’ home in Baltimore, Leak was always surrounded by music. Her mother took her to musicals and woke up her and her two brothers to the sounds of R&B and funk music. “Music was all the time, every time. It was just how we lived,” says Leak. “ In fact, after high school, I was going to get an apartment and pursue just my music. My parents said I had to go to (college) and then I could do what I wanted.” As a music major at Morgan, Leak received many career-enhancing opportunities, such as singing in the MSU Choir. It was at Morgan that she learned the ins and outs of the music industry, from contracts to tours. And it was through Morgan that she began

working as a background singer with Stevie Wonder. “My best friend from Morgan, Kim Brewer, was working with him at the time. They needed an alto voice for Wonderlove, and that’s how I got my audition.” After graduation, she went on tour with Wonderlove, became a member of the British jazz group Incognito and recorded nine solo albums. She has also worked with other leading artists, including singer-songwriter Dwele and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ledisi. In 2009, she won the Soul Train Centric Award. Maysa is now working on her first Christmas album and is considering writing a memoir. She often visits Morgan for performances. “Success is what you make it,” she says. “When I was a kid, to me, being successful (was) to get on stage and sing for people. The fact I’ve gotten that far is great.” 

“Music was all the time, every time. It was just how we lived.” — Maysa

Maysa and her mother, Laura Leak




Ahead of the Curve Tech Executive Kevin Hawkins Advances with Skills Learned at Morgan

Kevin Hawkins



“Morgan, quite frankly, has prepared me for the right trajectory in life.” — Kevin Hawkins, Class of 1988 By Eric Addison


rowing up with his role model in Harwood, Md., was a big help in Kevin L. Hawkins’ career, but not quite in the way he once envisioned. “My dad owned a construction company, and so my suit in life was to have my own business like my dad,” he says. “But he didn’t want me to go into construction, so he sent me to Morgan.” Following those marching orders, and an interest he had developed working with computers in high school, Hawkins became one of the early graduates of Morgan’s bachelor’s degree program in information science and systems. It was 1988 – before the Internet and other modern-day technology staples had entered popular culture. Since then, his Morgan education, and his love of business, have taken him far. Hawkins is now a managing director and Government Industry leader for Protiviti Inc., a global business consulting and internal audit firm. His foresight, and fate, have put Hawkins at the center of some very big movements throughout his career. His first job after graduation from Morgan was with the federal government, auditing federal contracts involving information technology (IT) and other matters. A year later, he took a position with an obscure federal entity called the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). There, he soon found himself in a meeting, watching a demonstration of the next new thing: the World Wide Web.

“(The technology) was very immature (at that time),” he recalls. “Not long after that, I was very fortunate the IRS was interested in trying to figure out how to use the Internet.” Hawkins headed a team that developed an electronic filing system for the IRS, but e-filing was shelved when top administrators decided “the world wasn’t quite ready to do taxes online,” he recalls. “This was 1994.” In the end, the agency settled on posting its tax forms and publications online. “So the IRS brought a lot of things to the Internet, including the use of PDF,” he says, “and it was a program that I led.” The next year, Hawkins earned his M.S. in information systems from George Mason University. He also moved up at NTIS, becoming director of its FedWorld Office, and remained an innovator, playing an important role in the development of the federal government’s “public key infrastructure”: technology that made possible the use of the Internet for commerce and other secure transactions. The knowledge and skills he gained in that work became the foundation of the company he started in 2001, Enspier, which was recognized by MEA Magazine in 2006 as one of the nation’s fastestgrowing minority companies. That same year, Enspier was acquired by Protiviti. Hawkins has had great success in his career, excelling in “the little things,” as did his cousin, baseball great Maury Wills, he says.

“…There’s an aspect of his life that I like. He stole bases, and he never hit home runs,” Hawkins explains. “Sometimes folks are always trying to swing the big one, trying to get the big opportunity. And so much of life, to me, is about getting up every morning and trying to hit the single, doing the little things all the time. So that’s what I try to do: work on the little things. Then, the home runs? You’ll make it around, eventually.” A true Morgan alumnus, Hawkins believes in giving back, donating time and money to improve the welfare of others in local communities as well as abroad. He also gives generously to Morgan. He recently made a significant commitment to fund the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management’s first endowed lectureship. In addition, he funded an endowed scholarship at the School of Business and Management and provided funds for the purchase of a rehearsal room piano for use by students in the Murphy Fine Arts Center. Hawkins credits Morgan with giving him “fundamental tools,” including skills in writing and critical thinking, in addition to his basic training in IT. “I’m 47 now. At some point…it’s hard to keep up with everyone technologically. And as you move into management, you have to then bring a different set of skills,” he says. “…Morgan, quite frankly, has prepared me for the right trajectory in life. It has prepared me for the whole journey. And I am very appreciative of that.” 



Janet Clash Woolridge DonorProfile

A Woman of Words and Action

as well as an author and community leader in Baltimore. Her husband joined the Tuskegee Airmen as an engineer during World War II, after earning his bachelor’s degree from Morgan. After the war, he finished a master’s degree program in chemistry and mathematics at the University of Iowa, studied aeronautical engineering at Yale then served for decades as a chemist for the federal government at Edgewood Arsenal, in Maryland. Stephanie Woolridge Lewis retired from Ford Motor Company as a manager.

By Eric Addison


o say attending Morgan is a tradition in her family may be somewhat of an understatement from Janet Clash Woolridge. Her husband, Alfred, and his brother, Thomas Woolridge II, both graduated from Morgan, as did Thomas’ son, Thomas III, and his son, Daniel. On the distaff side, Janet’s daughter Stephanie is a summa cum laude graduate of Morgan, and among Janet’s in-laws, Alfred had two sisters who graduated from Morgan — Grace Burket and Ambia Patterson — each of whom married Morgan men and had a daughter who graduated from Morgan.



So it’s Morgan, Morgan,” Woolridge says with a laugh. “I have a lot of cousins… younger cousins who went to Morgan,” she adds. The college choice of the Clash-Woolridge clan has clearly been for good reason. Their education at Morgan has served them well in their careers, and they, in turn, have greatly benefited their communities. Janet Woolridge became an educator, school counselor and educational administrator,

Janet Woolridge says she didn’t come up easy. She was raised in Baltimore by her mother, who was widowed and who often was ill. “I had to kind of work for myself,” she says. After high school, she spent a year in Chicago as a reporter for the Chicago Defender. “…When the war came, I worked for Western Electric for about five years ’til the war was over. Then I went on to Morgan.” There, she continued her hard-working ways, taking a job in the college’s public relations department while she earned her A.B. degree in English-history. “I used to help with promotions for the

school. We brought high school girls to the campus, and we had a high school queen…,” she recalls. “I would help with publicizing the athletes and the football games, getting them on radio and television.” After she earned her Morgan degree in 1952, she and Alfred resumed the romance they had started when she was in high school, but their love and their marriage in 1955 didn’t impede the career her Morgan education had made possible. Janet went to work as a teacher in the Baltimore County Public Schools the year she graduated, and she continued her education, earning a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from New York University and taking doctoral courses at Columbia, UCLA, Ohio State, the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins.

Woolridge left the Baltimore County school system in 1958 to become a counselor at Morgan and served in that position for the next five years, through the tumultuous era of student protests for civil rights. Then she returned to public secondary schools, this time as a counselor in Baltimore City, and retired as the Guidance Department head at Walbrook High School in Baltimore, in 1985. Along the way, Woolridge has authored a number of creative works, including poems, a play and three books — “This Side of Tomorrow,” “Force of the Wind” and “Behind the Blackboard” — novels that explore different aspects of African-American history and current events. She’s writing her fourth novel now. She has also taught creative writing and has served as a volunteer for organizations such as the Woman’s Auxiliary of Crownsville State Hospital – Baltimore Mental Health Association, the Baltimore Council for International Visitors and the Baltimore Council for Foreign Affairs. And, she was the driving force behind a piece of state legislation that changed the way Marylanders drive.

“(Morgan) has been a contributing force…. And I’d like to see it go on.” — Janet Clash Woolridge, Class of ’52

“Janet Woolridge…had just bought a new car and was rather outraged that the dealer had insisted on affixing on the back those little metal letters spelling out the dealership name,” the Baltimore News American reported on May 18, 1986. “What right, she asked Sen. (Clarence) Blount, does this man have to make me drive around with an advertisement for his business?” Her complaint led to a law banning the practice, which was signed by Gov. Harry Hughes on May 27 of that year. In the photo Woolridge still keeps, she and Sen. Blount (Morgan Class of 1950) stand proudly behind Gov. Hughes at his desk. By then, Woolridge had long ago proven herself a fighter. During her two years as Guidance Department head at Dunbar High School, in the early ’70s, she received national recognition for securing scholarship grants of more than $1 million to send Dunbar graduates to Morgan. “I sent more students…to college than any other high school in the city, including Western…” she says with a laugh. Many Baltimoreans, black and white, were displeased by her achievement, she says, but she was undeterred. Having bettered her own life with Morgan’s help, Janet Clash Woolridge believed strongly in giving the same opportunity to others. She still does. “Morgan has really supplied a lot of places with students, workers. It has been a contributing force. And I’d like to see it go on…,” she says. “I just finished my will, and Morgan plays a prominent role in that.” 

Creating a Legacy at Morgan For information on remembering Morgan State University in your will, or if you would like to learn more about how a planned gift or life income vehicle can benefit you and support Morgan, contact Donna Howard at (443) 885-4680.



Ideas in Motion

Morgan’s National Transportation Center By Eric Addison

Hyeon-Shic Shin, Ph.D.

Z. Andrew Farkas, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Professor, National Transportation Center

Professor of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies and Director, National Transportation Center at MSU


ysters, roadways and environmental sustainability: a lot of ground separates those topics, from the perspective of the average person. But connecting things over distance is the expertise of the researchers in Morgan State University’s National Transportation Center (NTC). The center, founded in 1992, is an outgrowth of the federal government’s University Transportation Centers (UTC) program. The mission of the UTCs is to “conduct research that directly supports the priorities of the U.S. Department of Transportation…to promote the safe, efficient and environmentally sound movement of goods and people.”



Funded by federal government earmarks until 2013, the UTC program now requires prospective university participants to compete for participation in the centers, by submitting proposals that show what they bring to the table in terms of research ideas and capabilities. Morgan has thrived in this new arena, reports Z. Andrew Farkas, Ph.D., professor of transportation and urban infrastructure studies and director of the National Transportation Center at MSU. Morgan’s NTC is now a subgrantee with the University Transportation Centers at four other academic institutions: the University of Maryland, Penn State University, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. Awards to

Morgan through the UTC program have totaled more than $2 million over the last two years. Economic competitiveness in transportation is the strategic goal of the University of Maryland UTC, environmental sustainability is the theme of the research center at the University of Virginia, and improved safety in transportation is the focus of the Penn State and Virginia Tech UTCs. But “fortunately these themes are pretty broad,” Dr. Farkas says, a fact that enables a wide range of exciting research projects at Morgan. For example, “we’re doing some really advanced technology research on con-

Morgan’s NTC hosted a symposium on transportation in Maryland in October 2011. Participants discussed the importance of transportation to the state’s economy, provided useful information regarding transportation, explained alternatives for funding transportation infrastructure and engaged stakeholders in a dialogue regarding the future of transportation funding. (Photo Credit—Erica Johnson)

nected vehicles, vehicles that don’t yet exist that would communicate with each other and with the roadway,” says Dr. Farkas. Say you’re going into a blind intersection and can’t see the vehicle barreling into the same intersection from your left. “If you had this technology, that car would tell your car that it’s not stopping, and you or your car would slam on the brakes,” he explains. “We’re not doing the research on the technology, per se, but we are doing research on how people would react to the availability of the technology and what they’re willing to pay for the technology.” A few other examples of the NTC’s recent work include a study of the effects of social networks on alcohol-impaired drivers, analysis of the influence of road engineering on motorcycle crashes, and studies with Morgan’s Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory (PEARL) on the impact of transportation infrastructure on aquatic ecology and other environmental systems. And then there’s the oyster project, referred to above. “(PEARL) has been working with us to


Young-Jae Lee, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator, Department of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies

use recycled road materials, (such as) concrete that’s broken up and removed from roads (that are) to be resurfaced. Instead of dumping them into landfills when they can’t be recycled into the new road…we’ve been doing research on using them as foundations for oyster beds,” Dr. Farkas explains. “That (research) sets us apart from everyone. No one else is doing that.” He credits the Maryland State Highway Administration for its support of the oyster bed project.

manages the MDOT/MSU Graduate School Internship program — which offers part-time analyst and planner positions to grad students — and the NTC’s undergraduate summer internship at the Maryland State Highway Administration. Through these programs, many students have obtained full-time employment over the years, with government departments of transportation, with planning agencies and with consultants, the NTC reports.

Dr. Farkas notes that the NTC is interdisciplinary, supporting research by students and faculty from Morgan’s School of Business and Management, the School of Architecture and Planning, the Departments of Sociology and Psychology, as well as the Civil Engineering Department and the Department of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies.

Realizing the need to reach female and underrepresented minority students earlier in their education, the NTC also created a Summer Transportation Institute — a free, month-long science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) day program for 10th, 11th and 12th graders — and a Teacher Transportation Institute, a 10-day STEM program for high school teachers. Both institutes are held annually on Morgan’s campus.

The work mentioned here all fits the theme of Morgan’s NTC, which is “Transportation: A Key to Human and Economic Development.” Also fitting is the center’s goal of increasing the numbers of minorities and women entering transportation careers. Toward that end, the NTC has developed and implemented four programs that together form a pipeline to those careers for students from underrepresented groups. In collaboration with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Morgan’s National Transportation Center

The NTC was last required to track the careers of its graduates by the federal government about six years ago, Dr. Farkas says. At that time, “about 85 percent of our students…would go into transportation or graduate school in a transportation discipline. And…the overwhelming majority of our students were minorities and/or women…,” he says. “So we’ve done quite a bit, I think, in support of diversity.” Continued on page 20



Morgan’s National Transportation Center, continued

Young-Jae Lee, Ph.D.

Monique Head, Ph.D.

James G. Hunter, Ph.D.

Hyeon-Shic Shin, Ph.D.

Kelton L. Clark, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator, Department of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies

Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering

Since joining the Morgan family in 2011, Dr. Head has secured approximately $1 million in research projects to provide MSU undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to solve important, real-world problems facing our nation’s transportation infrastructure. Much of her and her students’ current work addresses improvement of bridges, a topic frequently in the news. Dr. Head has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Delaware and a doctorate in structural engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr. Hunter specializes in thinking outside of the box. After earning his bachelor’s in civil engineering from Morgan, he pursued his master’s in that field at Purdue. There, he received the top graduate student award for his research into persistence of animal antibiotics in the environment and went on to earn a doctorate in environmental engineering. In Morgan’s National Transportation Center, he has collaborated with researchers at MSU’s Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory on two projects, including “Evaluation of Waste Concrete Road Materials for Use in Oyster Aquaculture.” He has been a member of Morgan’s faculty since 2009.

Assistant Research Professor, National Transportation Center

Director, Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory (PEARL)

Dr. Lee is an expert in the use “connected vehicle” technology and other means to improve transit systems. Intelligent transportation systems and safety are other areas in his research focus. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and a Master of Science degree in transportation engineering from Seoul National University in Korea, and another M.S. and a Ph.D., both in transportation engineering, from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a member of Morgan’s faculty since 1999.

A wide-ranging scholar, Dr. Shin has a B.A. in public administration, an M.A. in urban planning and a Ph.D. in public policy analysis. That background makes him well-suited to address broad problems requiring statistical analysis, such as determining how much drivers will be willing to pay for next-generation “connected vehicle” technology, and calculating the effects of road width on the movement of goods through urban areas. Before joining NTC, he was a research scientist at New York University, where his research was the basis of the groundbreaking New York City Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan. He joined Morgan’s research faculty in 2010.

At PEARL, Dr. Clark has an ideal setting to explore his research interests of estuarine ecology and community ecology with an emphasis on marine and estuarine systems. Dr. Clark joined Morgan’s faculty in 2000, the year before he received his doctorate in marine estuarine and environmental science from the University of Maryland, College Park. He collaborates closely with Morgan’s National Transportation Center and is the lead author of “Evaluation of Waste Concrete Road Materials for Use in Oyster Aquaculture.”

NTC-affiliated Faculty Nathan Austin, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Business Administration

Michael Callow, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Business Administration

Sanjay Bapna, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Information Science and Systems

Celeste Chavis, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies



Kelton Clark, Ph.D. Director Morgan State University Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory (PEARL) Monique Head, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Civil Engineering

James Hunter, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Civil Engineering Mansoureh Jeihani, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies

Young-Jae Lee, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies Anthony Saka, Ph.D. Chair and Professor Department of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies 

Morgan Graduate WINS on

By Leeandria Williams

Craig Cornish, MSU Class of 2013 (right), with Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. Cornish appeared on the game show last December.


n merely two days, Morgan graduate Craig Cornish managed to earn $46,000, by answering some of the world’s hardest trivia questions on the popular game show Jeopardy.

“I grew up watching the show,” says Cornish, a member of the Class of 2013. “I played along, and I was doing pretty well. And I thought I could do as well as the people on there.” Cornish decided to audition for the show by taking the 50-question test on Jeopardy’s website. Afterward, he received an e-mail during Super Bowl weekend informing him that he had made it to the second round of auditions.

“I got to go to California for the first time,” he cheerfully recalls. “I took another test then a personality interview, and finally a mock game. I wasn’t expecting to get a call back, but it was fun.” Raised in Welcome, Md., Cornish always had a gift for retaining facts about diverse subjects. As a history major at Morgan, he participated in the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge as the Morgan team captain in 2012 and 2013. MSU won the academic quiz competition both years against 47 other schools, winning a total of $100,000 for Morgan. The Challenge taught Cornish a great deal about answering questions in a game show setting.

“(In the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge), there is a lot of overlap between the types of questions,” he says. “If you are preparing for one, it helps to keep track of the other. There’s also the pressure of competition (in front of) a live audience. It definitely helped me in that regard.” Cornish is now attending Princeton University, in pursuit of a doctorate in history. He is considering becoming a history professor after graduation. He is still unsure of what to do with his winnings. “On the show, I said I was going to take my family on their first-ever vacation,” he says. “But I’m saving them for now, so we’ll see.”  MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2014


Leadership Spotlight

By Cindy Atoji

Recently Appointed Deans Boost Morgan’s Academic Cachet


Kim Sydnor, Ph.D.

Mark Garrison, Ph.D.

Dean, School of Community Health and Policy

Dean, School of Graduate Studies

Dr. Kim Sydnor believes in the well-being of communities, especially urban neighborhoods of color and areas of economic disadvantage. “What we do matters not just to ourselves but to the larger community,” says Dr. Sydnor, who has a long history of service at Morgan State University, as assistant professor then various other leadership positions before her current appointment as a dean. A graduate and former postdoctoral scholar at MSU, Dr. Sydnor has a commitment that reflects the vision and mission of her alma mater. Her goals for the School of Community Health and Policy are to impact community health by partnering with community organizations and local businesses, to influence the number of welltrained minorities in the health workforce and to become an accredited school of public health. Dr. Sydnor is the daughter of the late Rev. Vernon N. Dobson, a civil rights leader in Baltimore who, she says, was able to turn vision into reality for the benefit of the many. Dr. Sydnor has the same vision as her father: a world where all are treated equally and fairly, equipped with the resources needed to be fully engaged citizens. “Let’s go out and make a difference,” she says.

Dr. Mark Garrison is immensely proud of Morgan’s School of Graduate Studies, touting it as a major center for quality instruction and research, with a diverse faculty that ensures exposure to a variety of theories and research methods.


“The knowledge and skills acquired enables graduates to compete successfully in all arenas,” says Dr. Garrison, who points to an Award for Excellence and Innovation in Graduate Admissions that was given to the school by the Council of Historically Black Graduate Schools during his tenure. He was instrumental in a Baltimore-Washington area alliance that brought Morgan, Howard and Georgetown Universities together to enhance the graduate school experience for science, technology, engineering and math students. Holder of a doctorate in psychology, Dr. Garrison also teaches occasionally in the graduate psychometrics and graduate education programs at Morgan. Dr. Garrison was associate then interim dean before he was appointed dean two years ago, and is widely respected in his field. He has served on the executive committee of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools and as president of Maryland Graduate Admissions Professionals, among other appointments. He envisions a bright future for the School of Graduate Studies.

DeWayne Wickham

Dean, Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management

Dean, School of Global Journalism and Communication

Dr. Fikru Boghossian brings extensive experience as a professor or administrator at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas. He also has a background in business from his native Ethiopia. But after nearly a quarter century at MSU, he believes that the University has positive qualities like none other. “Morgan has a proud history of greatness and gives access to persons with potential. I have seen lives transformed here,” says Dr. Boghossian, who was appointed last year as dean of the Graves School, an AACSB-accredited institution. He plans to strengthen current programs, especially by incorporating business analytics, while developing new initiatives such as a global M.B.A. program. He sees himself leading a student-centered but faculty-enabled school, and he is dedicated to expanding student scholarships, graduate student fellowships and faculty development offerings. Dr. Boghossian is widely published in academic journals and has spoken at numerous professional conferences. He recently completed a leadership and training program at Harvard University. When asked his vision for the School of Business and Management, he is blunt: “I would like for our school to be as good as the best business schools anywhere. Period.”

Developing the new School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan and serving as its founding dean seem to be the next logical steps in the career of DeWayne Wickham, a highly respected, multiple awardwinning, 39-year journalism veteran. A columnist for USA TODAY and Gannett News Service, he writes a syndicated column that runs in 130 daily newspapers in the U.S. As a founder of Baltimore’s Association of Black Media Workers, the National Association of Black Journalists and his not-for-profit organization, the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies, he has worked tirelessly, since 1975, to create opportunities for black journalists and journalism students.

By Jannette J. Witmyer

Fikru H. Boghossian, Ph.D.

Wickham, a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, has taught at HBCUs, nonstop, since 2000. As he develops what is only the fourth school of journalism at an HBCU, he envisions partnerships with universities in the Caribbean, South America and on the African continent. However, his vision of globalism does not stop there. “…The globalism that we envision is one that will require us to teach knowledge-based journalism,” he says. “I expect (our program) to provide students with the mechanical tools to become journalists in the 21st century but also to leave this campus with the kind of knowledge that they can only obtain through an interdisciplinary approach to journalism education.”  MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2014


Lee Hull, New Head Coach Changing the Football Culture

“We’re here to…turn young men into men, so they can be productive members of society.” — Lee Hull By Peter Slavin


Coach Lee Hull

ew college football teams have as remarkable a past as Morgan State’s Bears. During the extraordinary era between 1929 and 1973, a 54-game winning streak under Coach Eddie Hurt was eventually followed by a 31-game streak under Coach Earl Banks. One season, Hurt’s team was unscored upon. In the late 1960s, the annual Morgan State-Grambling game in New York drew 60,000 people. Thirty-eight Bears have gone on to play in the National Football League, and four — Len Ford, Leroy Kelly, Willie Lanier and Rosey Brown — are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But after winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championship in 1979, the Bears went into a slide that has lasted three and a half decades. They have had only one winning season since then. Now, in Lee Hull, the Bears have an ambitious new head coach bent on changing the football culture. Hull, 48, left the University of Maryland, College Park and took over in January from Donald Hill-Eley. Hull has an impressive football pedigree. He grew up in South Jersey and was a star wide receiver at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., on a team that went 21-1 during his last two seasons and twice won the Lambert Cup. He played professionally for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts in Canada. After an injury ended his playing career, he started teaching high school and coaching in Worcester. To him, “coaching is teaching.” After six years in high schools, Hull began to climb the coaching ladder: five years at his alma mater, Holy Cross; five seasons at Oregon State University, where he coached three All-Americans; and six seasons at Maryland, where he tutored future NFL wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Torrey Smith.

Hull also had the ties to Maryland that Morgan was looking for, at a time when more than 70 percent of its players were from out of state. Hull had recruited in the state while at College Park, and his connections have already paid off: he quickly recruited his first class of 10, nine of whom were from Maryland and D.C. Another thing that won over Morgan administrators was Hull’s commitment to his players’ academics and his plans to follow through. The team’s graduation rate was only 44 percent last year. MSU Athletic Director Floyd Kerr thinks Hull can get it into the 70s. Now, early each Monday morning, each coach meets with his position players to plan their week academically, so assignments and studying for tests are not put off. “It’s time management,” Hull says. “Being from a family of educators…academics has always been important,” he explains. His father is a retired school superintendent, his brother a principal and his wife a guidance counselor. College, he says, is “more about life than it is about football. These guys (have) to understand (that) once they graduate, they’ve got to have something to fall back on. They might make it to the NFL, but the average career of an NFL guy is 3.4 years. So they need a degree. That’s the most important thing.” Hull has instituted more rigorous class checks by coaches and holds mandatory study hall five nights a week, from 7 to 9 p.m., for any player with a GPA less than

2.5. Student tutors are present. Mandatory study and tutors are not new for the team, but Kerr says Hull’s approach is different. For one thing, his coaches run study hall. “The level of commitment to study hall is much higher,” Kerr says, “and the accountability part of it is much stronger.” Attendance, he adds, “is 100 percent.”

“They went 5 and 3 in the league last year (and) have a lot of guys returning…,” he reports. “Expectations are definitely high.” Hull has set his sights not only on a MEAC championship but a national title in his division. 

Undergirding Hull’s approach to both football and academics is a focus on building character, something highly successful coaches customarily stress. “We’re here to…turn young men into men, so they can be productive members of society,” he says. “We’re here to teach them how to be good husbands and good fathers…to get their priorities straight.” Noting that many of his players are from single-parent homes with no father figure, he says coaches have to be role models. “We talk a lot about responsibility, commitment and being consistent.” He says the players have embraced the change. Hull is also determined to use constant reinforcement to build players’ confidence that they can win. One way is to bring alumni from the University’s great teams of the past to talk to the players, so their aura of success rubs off. It’s part of Morgan’s “Return to Greatness” initiative in athletics. On the field, Hull plans to add the option of a fast-paced “spread” offense, so he can vary the game’s tempo. He is optimistic about his team. MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2014





heir reunion in March 2012 was not for a happy occasion, but for the several members of Morgan’s Vietnam Era Vets Club who had not seen each other in 42 years, it was a good occasion nonetheless. The men had gathered at the University Memorial Chapel for a memorial service for one of the organization’s founding charter members, Leonard T. Jackson, Morgan Class of 1971. At the service, the men were surprised to learn that many young members of the Morgan community did not know the Vietnam Era Vets Club had ever existed, much less the role it had played in Morgan’s development during the tenure of Dr. Martin D. Jenkins as president of the college (1948–1970). Morgan’s Vietnam Era Vets Club was founded by Paul W. Brown Jr., ’70; Harry C.R. Williams, III, ’70 and Harry Braxton, ’71. Brown, Williams and Braxton had learned their comrades, military veterans, faced numerous problems that other Morgan students did not. Much of the public was against the Vietnam War, and the negative sentiments were felt by all who served the 26


U.S. in the conflict. Many of the vets worked full time to support their families while attending Morgan State. Several had not received their GI Bill compensation in months because of problems processing their claims at the Veterans Administration. Worst, Brown, Williams and Braxton learned that several vets at Morgan were homeless. The founders concluded that something had to be done and decided to explore the possibility of forming a Veterans (Vets) Club. During a meeting in

Spencer Hall in 1967, a charter was drafted, and Dr. Clayton Stansbury, himself a vet, accepted the offer to be the club’s faculty advisor. Seven men joined Brown, Williams and Braxton as founding charter members: Leonard Jackson, ’71; Donald Priester, ’71; Lawrence Worthington, ’71; David Y. Thomas,’72, a current Morgan professor; Clyde (“Chuck”) Taylor (deceased); Ben Fuller, ’71, and Thomas Wilcox, ’72 (deceased). President Jenkins signed the charter in 1967, creating the Morgan State College Vietnam Era Vets Club. Other active members of the Vets Club included James

Era Vets Club

Members of Morgan’s Vietnam Era Vets Club: (left to right) Clarence “Tiger” Davis, ’68; Harry C.R. Williams III, ’70 (founder); Paul W. Brown Jr., ’70 (founder); and Lawrence R. Worthington, ’71

Gillis, ’72; Neil Outing, ’85; Clarence (“Tiger”) Davis, ’68, who later became a Maryland state delegate, and Norman Brailey, ’70 (deceased).

Smith, a professor in Morgan’s education department. The Vets Club also led the first fundraising effort to launch Morgan’s radio station.

The club’s most active years were 1967– 1972. At its pinnacle, the organization had 250 dues-paid members and a host of associate members. The club gave popular cabarets during Homecoming Weekends and chose Homecoming Queens, such as “Moms” Roberts, who had been a part of the Morgan Canteen staff for many years, and Dr. Iola R.

But the club was best known for assisting Morgan’s Student Government Association in organizing the most successful march on Annapolis in the history of the college. Soon after the march, which took place in 1970, state funds to Morgan were increased to support future projects and administrative actions. Furthermore, a greater

number of African Americans were elected to the Maryland State House. Charter member Paul Brown speaks passionately about preserving the club’s history. “The Vietnam Era Vets Club never asked for any recognition as to the part they played in their support of Morgan. However, certain facts should be known,” he says. “Morgan’s posterity must know the essential role the Vietnam Era Vets Club played in the development of Morgan.”  MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2014


From Morgan with Love MSU Couples Celebrate Their Matrimony

Martin and Nampeo McKenney


ore than 150 persons, including the pairs profiled at right, made their way to the Morgan State University campus last Feb. 16, for an event celebrating couples composed of former Morgan students. The “Jazz Brunch in Recognition of Morganites Who Married” was held in the University Student Center’s Calvin and Tina Tyler Ballroom and featured entertainment by Voices of Praise, Dancers of Praise and illusionist Fabian Christopher. Proceeds from the event benefited the University Memorial Chapel.


Rev. Dr. Bernard Keels

The Jazz Brunch was “great fellowship,” says the Rev. Dr. Bernard Keels, the director of the chapel. “Seeing that Morgan of yesterday had such a strong environment of people just caring for one another and from that friendships began and marriages emerged: that to me was a very powerful statement given 2014 and the reality that a lot of families and relationships are being broken.” Rev. Keels adds that he expects the event to become a major fundraiser: “We’re definitely going to do this annually…. We have some big days ahead in terms of raising the kind of endowment (that can) provide (chapel) programs and personnel to meet the emerging needs of this world-class university.”

“Jazz Brunch in Recognition of Morganites Who Married”



Martin and Nampeo McKenney met at Morgan, where they were part of a small group of sociology students who gathered in the library for studies after class. The friendship between the former Air Force airman and the aspiring demographer blossomed into love, and on Aug. 5, 1961, two years after their graduation, the two Charles County, Md., natives married. Martin and Nampeo had been active in the civil rights movement while they were at Morgan, and as graduates, they took that activism to places such as Westminster, Md., where Martin was pastor of a United Methodist Church, and the 1963 March on Washington, a city with which Nampeo was very familiar. It was there that she did groundbreaking work at the Census Bureau on data about minority groups. The McKenneys both continued their education after leaving Morgan. Nampeo earned a master’s degree in sociology from American University, and Martin is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary. Retired now and living in Bowie, Md., they are sometimes asked to speak publicly about their work for civil rights. The McKenneys have two children, Gilesa and Daniel; a grandchild, Michael-Luther; and a son-in-law, Vincent.

Lawrence and Denise Montgomery

Thomas and Hilda Kelson

Robert and Cherri Cragway

2013 Lawrence and Denise Montgomery dated as undergrads at Morgan in the Class of ’83. They finally married last year on May 13, the second marriage for each. Denise is a longtime corporate operations manager who now does consulting in that field. Lawrence, a retired U.S. Army colonel, is now CEO and president of Black Jack Legacy Enterprise, LLC, the organizer of the Jazz Brunch for Morgan couples. His ties to Morgan run generations deep. His father, Lawrence Sr., also was commissioned through Morgan’s ROTC program, Class of ’56, and met his wife, Sarah Coleman, an aspiring English teacher from Philadelphia, at Morgan, where she was a member of the Class of ’57. They married on Aug. 10 of her graduation year. After his retirement from the military with the rank of lieutenant colonel, Lawrence Sr. served as director of Alumni Affairs at Morgan. Lawrence and Sarah’s four children — Lissa Jackson, ’80, Lawrence Jr., Lorree Slye, ’85 and Lynnet Turner, ’86 — were commissioned through Morgan’s ROTC program and are all Morgan graduates, as is Lawrence Jr.’s daughter, Deyanira, ’08, and Denise’s son, Marcel, of the Class of 2013.

50th Anniversary, 1998

1983 Robert and Cherri Cragway, MSU Class of 1980, were friends in high school in Baltimore. But during their junior year at Morgan, they ran into a bevy of miniature matchmakers: the children they counseled in the National Youth Sports Program, which was held on campus in the summer of 1978. Time proved the children’s intuition correct. Robert and Cherri married on June 18, 1983. The Cragways trace their Morgan lineage through four generations, beginning with G. Beatrice Reid Hurt, Class of 1931, who was Robert’s great aunt and the wife of Morgan’s legendary Coach Edward P. (“Eddie”) Hurt. Robert’s parents, Roy W. Cragway Sr., Class of ’48, and Wilhelmina Reid Cragway, Class of ’49, also met at Morgan and were married on June 13, 1953. Robert and Cherri’s daughter, Rachael, graduated from MSU in 2013. Cherri is a playwright, author, actor and teacher. Robert is a financial analyst with Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Thomas and Hilda Kelson, tablemates with the Cragways at the Jazz Brunch, were honored at the event as the longest-married couple. “Sixty-five years,” says Hilda, of Morgan’s Class of ’47. “It will be 66 in (June 2014)…. I don’t remember when I was single,” she adds with a laugh. In fact, she does remember. Thomas worked for his father’s mortuary in Baltimore when he and Hilda were students at Morgan, and he’d sometimes make the 45-minute drive to her home in Frederick, Md., at midday, in a hearse. During their stay at Morgan, Hilda majored in music and directed the school’s first jazz combo, and Thomas majored in psychology and played center and linebacker on the football team under Coach Hurt. In the early 1950s, the couple relocated to Hollis, N.Y. They now live in Randallstown, Md., only blocks away from the man who introduced them: Thomas’ quarterback at Morgan, Cyril O. Byron Sr., Ed.D., Class of ’47, a former Tuskegee Airman. The Kelsons have three children: Athelston, Darryl and Lolita, a member of Morgan’s Class of ’81.



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Morgan Magazine 2014, Volume 1