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Morgan MILE & Warrior Institute Lighting the Torch in Male Leadership Mentoring





L eaders are everywhere. We found some at Morgan State University.

We’re proud to participate in education programs that help build brighter futures.

Š2008 The Travelers Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Travelers Indemnity Company and its property casualty affiliates. One Tower Square, Hartford, CT 06183

Alumni and Friends, More than at any other time in recent memory, the United States of America is, at one and the same time, displaying its enormous potential for progress, yet witnessing some of its most negative tendencies towards regression. As always, during such turbulent times in the nation, the troubles that it faces are magnified in our community. While an historic presidential campaign has finally demonstrated the nation’s commitment to freedom and justice for all and has ended in the election of the nation’s first African-American president, our democracy continues to be threatened by the racial, ethnic and religious intolerance that has made such an election impossible in the past. Most Americans applaud this presidential election as a monumental achievement and a positive sign of progress, but too few Americans know or appreciate the extent of black people’s struggles in this country. And too few understand the remarkable role of historically black colleges and universities in reaching black students and making them successful in the American mainstream. This lack of awareness is manifested in daily news reports of hate crimes, in the shocking number of black men dropping out of our educational system into jails and prisons, and in the accompanying political attacks on black institutions, which have the best record of reaching black students and making them successful. Since its founding 141 years ago, Morgan State University has had a unique, important and positive impact on the community that it serves, and it has established a remarkable record of graduating students who went on to become local, national and international leaders like the President-elect. It also has demonstrated a strong commitment to taking on responsibilities that others have shunned. As you will see in this publication, its positive contributions continue today in a number of ways. For example, Morgan has bucked the national trend and risen to the challenge of retaining more male college students by establishing not one, but two nationally respected mentoring programs: the Morgan MILE and The Warrior Institute. In addition, Morgan students, alumni such as Mark Branch of NASA, and six talented artists from Morgan’s EPOCH Exhibition have bolstered the University’s argument against those who would insist that today’s potentially successful students be left to fend for themselves and have shown why HBCUs remain a vital force today in assisting those students.


Earl S.Richardson, President

By now, most of you are aware that I will be leaving the presidency of Morgan State University in December 2009. In the meantime, I will continue to work very hard in the interest of our students and in the interest of Morgan’s mission to provide educational opportunities to some of the nation’s brightest students and to many students who were historically denied the opportunity. As we continue another promising academic year, I welcome you back to your Alma Mater with this issue of Morgan Magazine. MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME II 2008


Ta b l e o f C o n t e n t s

Morgan Magazine is published by the Division of Institutional Advancement of MSU for alumni, parents, faculty, students and prospective students. Morgan Magazine is designed and edited by the Office of Public Relations. Opinions expressed in Morgan Magazine are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the University. Unsolicited manuscripts and photographs are welcome but will be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Letters are also welcome.

Morgan State University Magazine

Correspondence should be directed to: Morgan Magazine, Morgan State University, 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, Truth Hall, #109, Baltimore, MD 21251 443-885-3022 office • 443-885-8297 fax •

Volume II 2008


Cover Photo Morgan MILE participants Kyle Turman (center) and (left to right) Julius McNair, Marlon Young, Marvin Carr and Taylor Graham





Letter from the President

Building Successful Black Men

The Continuing Significance of HBCUs

Earl S. Richardson

History, Promise Converge at Commencement Two Anniversaries at Morgan's 132nd

Morgan’s MILE and Warrior Institute Programs Boost Retention of Males

Morgan’s Deans Speak Out





A Great Day for Golf

MorganTravelers Partnership

Artists’ Homecoming

Brighter, Better

Annual Tournament Raises Money for Scholarships

Creating New Scholarship Opportunities

The New MSU Library





Morgan Professors Win Boeing Fellowships

Dawn of a New Day

NASA Engineer, Hip Hop DJ: Mark Branch, ’91

IRA Rollover Extended

Learning, Teaching in Corporate America


EPOCH Exhibition Displays MSU Alumni Talent


Vice President for Institutional Advancement

MSU Students Reflect on Obama's Victory

Physics Grad Enjoys 'Best of Both Worlds'

Vehicle for Alumni Giving


Publications Manager

Photographer (Magazine Cover)

Contributing Writers Rasheim T. Freeman Wiley A. Hall 3rd Christina Royster-Hemby Jannette J. Witmyer

Cheryl Y. Hitchcock

Ferdinand Mehlinger

P. A. Greene

Director of Public Relations and Communications

Art Director (Magazine Design)

Communications Assistant

Clinton R. Coleman

David E. Ricardo

Rachel Irving

Sr. Graphic Designer

Contributing Photographer

Contributing Editor Eric Addison

Andre Barnett



Ferdinand Mehlinger

History, Promise Converge at Commencement


By Eric Addison

132nd Commencement speaker, Loida Nicolas Lewis

Civil rights warrior Gloria Richardson, receiving honorary doctor of laws degree

Educator James L. Fisher, Ph.D., receiving honorary doctorate

MSU Alumnus of the Year Ella Moultrie Harris

On May 18, 2008, more than 1,200 candidates marched solemnly into an atmosphere of restrained celebration at W.A.C. Hughes Stadium, to receive doctorates, master’s degrees or undergraduate degrees, at Morgan State University’s 132nd annual commencement. The ceremony took place against a powerful historical backdrop: 50 years earlier, Martin Luther King Jr. had delivered the commencement address to Morgan’s Class of 1958, 10 years before his assassination. Forty-three doctorates, 135 master’s degrees and 1,035 bachelor’s degrees were conferred during the services, and three members of Morgan’s extended family received honorary doctor of laws degrees: civil rights warrior Gloria Richardson, who was head of the Cambridge, Md., branch of the Student NonViolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s; higher education expert James L. Fisher, Ph.D., former president of Towson University; and the commencement speaker, Loida Nicolas Lewis, who is chief executive officer of TLC Beatrice, LLC, chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice, Ltd. in China, and chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice Foods in the Philippines. Mrs. Lewis, also a prominent motivational speaker, best-selling author and social and civic leader, is the widow of Baltimorean Reginald F. Lewis, who founded TLC Beatrice in 1987. The company was then the largest black-owned and black-managed business in the U.S.

MSU Class of 1958

Morgan’s Class of ’58 was invited to join the processional into Hughes Stadium and was honored in print with a special insert in the commencement program. It included their class highlights and excerpts of Dr. King’s prophetic 1958 address. “…Doors are opening today that were not open yesterday. The challenge of this hour is to be ready for those doors when they open,” Dr. King said, before closing with the rousing message about freedom that would get the world’s attention in 1963: “Freedom must ring from every mountainside… And when this happens, all men will be able to stand together — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics — and sing a new song: ‘Free at last, free at last, Great God Almighty, we are free at last!’ ”  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Among those who received special recognition during commencement were officers commissioned through Morgan’s ROTC program; the senior honor graduates; recipients of class awards, prizes and special awards; and the Alumnus of the Year, Ella Moultrie Harris. The Morgan State University Band and MSU Choir both performed, and senior class president Deborah Gant gave the farewell remark, before her class was inducted into the MSU National Alumni Association. MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME II 2008


Building Successful Black




MILE and Warrior Institute Programs Boost Retention of Male Students By Rasheim T. Freeman and Eric Addison During a university-wide retreat he convened in 2004, Morgan President Dr. Earl S. Richardson had the large task of outlining MSU’s impressive capital projects — tangible evidence of the University’s unprecedented physical growth. Coupled with this encouraging news, however, was the disturbing announcement that retention and graduation rates of the school’s African-American male students were falling alarmingly. Dr. Richardson’s concern was not a complete surprise to his listeners, and the problems he presented were hardly unique to Morgan. Black males in this country are more than three times more likely to live in a prison cell than in a college dormitory, according to a 2006 U.S. Census Bureau report. Only about 35 percent of the black men who make it to college graduate, compared with a graduation rate of 43.6 percent for black women, says the journal Retaining African Americans in Higher Education. Furthermore, data from the federal government’s National Center for Education Statistics show that the ratio of black male to black female bachelor’s degree recipients in the U.S. has been shrinking for the past 20 years and that in 2005, nearly twice as many black women as black men received bachelor’s degrees. Dr. Richardson called on his faculty to improve Morgan’s retention rate for African-American males. But as daunting as that challenge may seem, it was soon met by two faculty members with impressive credentials: Dr. D. Jason DeSousa, then the director of Morgan’s Institute for Student Leadership, Character Development and Outcomes, and Dr. Raymond Winbush, director of the University’s Institute for Urban Research. Both became leaders of nationally known mentoring programs that are based at Morgan and that have seen significant success.

Continued on page 6







Continued from page 5

The Morgan MILE By the time he came to Morgan in 2002, Dr. D. Jason DeSousa had been director of Career Development at Tuskegee University, vice president for Student Affairs at Savannah State University and president of the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals. So, he knew well that retention of black males in higher education was a growing challenge. Upon hearing the latest statistics from Dr. Richardson in 2004, he felt compelled to respond in a manner that drew upon his diverse experiences. “I told Dr. Richardson that I had experience in writing for and attaining Title III grants at Dr. D. Jason DeSousa, several of my previous Former Director, Morgan MILE schools,” says Dr. DeSousa. “The conversation started out as a ‘What if?’ because…at that time, not many people were focusing on black males in particular, outside of the fraternities and the sports clubs.” “What if” became reality later that year, when Morgan’s Institute for Student Leadership, Character Development and Outcomes launched the “Male Initiative on Leadership and Excellence” (MILE) project. “Integrated identity,” “identity and learning” and “student engagement” became the theoretical anchors of the Morgan MILE: the concepts undergirding the mentors’ efforts to help students become intentional learners. The program sought to meet males where they were, intellectually and culturally. It aimed to engage them in dialogue and activity that would lead them to match their values and goals with their academic progress. Among the key elements of the innovative program were leadership retreats, community service projects completed during spring break and recognition dinners that acknowledged personal triumphs. Derek Bolton, a May 2008 graduate of MSU with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, was the first student invited into the Morgan MILE.

“The MILE allowed us to get some experiences that we most likely would not have had otherwise. Many of these experiences were out of our comfort zone,” says Bolton, who now is working in Baltimore as a residential sales inspector and a marketing consultant and has plans to open a marketing consultation firm of his own next year. He credits the program with helping him find his purpose in life. “As one of our first activities, we went to Western Maryland on a ‘spirit quest,’ which is derived from the Native American tradition,” he recalls. “There were about eight of us on this trip. We basically spent a night in the woods about a half a mile from each other, with the help of a tour guide. We had a pocket knife, a journal, a tarp, a rope and two bottles of water. And we basically had to just sit out there by ourselves and try to figure some things out.” He succeeded, Bolton says. “It was very quiet. One thing that I noticed after about an hour or two, staring into the distance, was that there was a tremendous number of spider webs.... There are things constantly falling in the woods – branches, trees, animals running through – and these spider webs were being constantly damaged by falling things. And then the spider, who really couldn’t do much about it in defense, would, if he was able to survive this tree branch that crushed his web, pretty much start over and make another one. “So the thing that I got out of it is things happen in life that you can’t control,” he concludes. “Sometimes you just have to start back over and build your web. It taught me, I guess, a certain level of perseverance.”

“So the thing that I got out of it is things happen in life that you can’t control…. It taught me, I guess, a certain level of perseverance.” — Derek Bolton, ’08, former Morgan MILE participant



The data show that Bolton wasn’t the only MILE participant to learn that lesson. From 2004 to 2006, students in the program earned progressively higher grades and had a group retention rate much higher than for nonparticipants. Of the original 20 students in the Morgan MILE, 18 graduated with a 3.2 grade point average within four years. In addition to their academic improvements, the young men in the program participated in more campus activities that encouraged leadership skill-building and allowed them to mentor younger students.




Because of its swift success, the MILE program has been modeled and replicated at other colleges and universities, including St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa., and the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Finding funds for the program was difficult when it was in its infancy, but once the Morgan MILE was on its feet, its success was heralded. “Never in my wildest imagination did I think that this program would take off,” says Dr. DeSousa, who became provost and vice president for Student Affairs at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, in June. The Morgan MILE continues to fly. Douglas Gwynn, director of MSU’s Office of Residence Life, has been named the mentoring program’s new interim director. Dr. DeSousa and Gwynn met in 2006, when the Office of Residence Life and the Douglas Gwynn, Interim Morgan MILE began working Program Director for the together and sharing informaMorgan MILE tion about students’ progress. Gwynn, with the support of Dr. Timothy Rainey, associate provost of Morgan and director of Academic Support Programs, completed the planning phase of the Morgan MILE, which Dr. DeSousa began by initiating research into the risk factors correlated with male academic success and graduation rates. “When I came to Morgan in 1998, one of the things I did was look at the GPAs of the men in the residence halls at Morgan. And it didn’t look good,” explains Gwynn. “We found that it wasn’t the students’ intelligence levels that were giving them difficulties in their studies; it was external socioeconomic factors that were major distractions.” The cooperation between Gwynn and Dr. DeSousa paid off. This past spring, the Office of Residence Life developed a component of the MILE program for male students living in residence halls on campus. The component, named the Morgan MILE Academy, became part of the Office of Residence Life’s Living & Learning initiative. Through this program, in Fall

2008, all of the first-year male students living in O’Connell Hall will automatically become members of the Morgan MILE Academy and will be invited to participate in yearlong activities to enhance learning and academic performance. “The Morgan MILE will not only continue into years to come but will continue to grow as it becomes a staple of student residence life and the campus community as a whole,” says Gwynn. The MILE definitely continues in him, says former program participant Taylor Graham: “When I see my MILE brothers outside of Morgan or anywhere else, it’s like, ‘Remember the trip? Remember this? Remember that?’ ” Graham is now a construction management assistant with the Washington, D.C. Housing Authority. He had many leadership positions at Morgan – including sophomore class president – and began with the MILE in 2005. He finished coursework in August for his bachelor’s degree in marketing.

“The MILE brings people from all kinds of backgrounds together.”

— Taylor Graham, former “The MILE brings Morgan MILE participant people from all kinds of backgrounds together,” he says. “There are 4.0 (GPA) students. There’s somebody who may have a one point-something. There’s somebody from Africa. There’s somebody from Jamaica. There may be a leadership student, like myself. But they’re all brought together through the MILE, and that gives them a common ground.” Continued on page 8




W A R R I O R Continued from page 7

The Warrior Institute While Dr. DeSousa was at Savannah State researching a project designed to support black boys — a program that would become the precursor to the Morgan MILE — Dr. Raymond Winbush was 5,000 miles away in West Africa. His work there was to research the Poro Society, a secret society that has a 1,000year-old tradition of “warriorizing” its boys to prepare them for life in the bush and beyond.

“…I prescribe a cultural vaccination for black boys for the onslaught of society (to create) cultural, economic, spiritual and political leaders of the community.” — Dr. Raymond Winbush, Director of The Warrior Institute at MSU



Dr. Winbush thought this “warriorizing” was an ingenious strategy that could be utilized to stop young black men from becoming “an endangered species” in the U.S. Later, back in the States, he decided to write a book on the topic, which he titled, “The Warrior Method: A Program for Rearing Healthy Black Boys” (New York, Amistad/HarperCollins, 2001). “…I prescribe a cultural vaccination for black boys for the onslaught of society,” Dr. Winbush says, not to be warriors in a violent sense but to practice the “warrior method,” which is about preparing boys to be “cultural, economic, spiritual and political leaders of the community.”

M E T H O D The book became a focus of his lectures at Morgan’s Institute for Urban Research. One of the students inspired by this radical method of rearing black boys was Karen Banfield-Evans, who, unbeknownst to Dr. Winbush, was the aunt of actor Jada Pinkett-Smith. Banfield-Evans told her famous niece, who was then a new mom, about the widening appeal of “The Warrior Method” in public schools and among African-American families around the nation, and Pinkett-Smith fell in love with the book, even telling friends, relatives and audiences about it. “I was on a book tour with my second book, ‘Should America Pay? Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations’ (New York, Amistad/HarperCollins, 2003) and was doing a reading at Esowan Books, a black bookstore in Los Angeles,” Dr. Winbush relates. “Before the reading, I was flattered when the owner told me that the Smiths had come into his store and purchased books listed in the back of ‘The Warrior Method’ that (I think) black parents and educators should read.” When he returned from Los Angeles, Dr. Winbush saw Banfield-Evans, who confirmed that she had told Mr. and Mrs.

Smith about the book and that they were indeed big fans. In 2004, the Will & Jada Pinkett-Smith Family Foundation donated $50,000 to the Institute for Urban Research. This seed money helped establish The Warrior Institute later that year. The institute, now headquartered in Room 216 of Morgan’s Montebello Complex, has catapulted Dr. Winbush, the Morgan State scholar-activist, to international acclaim, with speaking engagements around the world for those who want to know what “The Warrior Method” is about. Dr. Winbush says the method takes cues from the African belief that it takes a village, suffused with love and common sense, to raise a child. The Warrior Method is a wholistic, Africancentered curriculum that guides young males through life’s maturity seasons: “spring” (birth–four years of age), “summer” (ages five–12), “autumn” (ages 13–21) and “winter” (ages 22 and older). The method promotes total immersion in what it calls the “Four C’s”: consciousness, commitment, cooperation and commu-

nity. For example, the curriculum calls for the establishment of 10 principles for raising black boys, including the establishment of “warrior circles.” Each circle is composed of seven sets of parents and their black male children. The parents monitor the boys’ growth and development. Students in The Warrior Institute have shown promising growth. And since the success of “The Warrior Method,” Dr. Winbush has often been tapped as an expert on race, with appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and other international programs. But he knows his work is far from done. “…Right here in Baltimore, when 69 percent of African-American males drop out of high school, and when I go to middle schools and the kids know that the rapper 50 Cent’s real name is Curtis Jackson but don’t know who Malcolm X is, there still remain challenges before us,” he says.

Dr. Winbush, Dr. DeSousa and Douglas Gwynn are anomalies in the world of higher education. All are accomplished black men who have focused on running counterculture programs to fight the high-school dropout rates and change the behaviors that have turned many urban high schools into gang factories. And the programs of all three men have thrived — with help from the University and from strong outside supporters such as the Pinkett-Smith Family Foundation — despite a contraction in federal financial aid for HBCUs. The Morgan MILE program and The Warrior Institute are now accepting donations and enlisting volunteers among those interested in fighting for their cause, stopping the flood of black males falling through the cracks of our society. Call the University’s Division of Institutional Advancement at (443) 885-3535 to find out how you can be a part of this important movement for change. 

The Institute for Urban Research (IUR) at Morgan is guided by a mandate to look at urban issues throughout Maryland. Many persistent and complex social problems, including injustice and poverty, affect the lives of people residing in cities. Research and advocacy, community workshops, lectures and a film series are some of the ways in which the IUR demonstrates its commitment to intervention and generating understanding. MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME II 2008


The Continuing Significance of HBCUs

By Wiley A. Hall 3rd

Morgan’s Deans Keep the Torch Lit for the Next Generation IN HIGH SCHOOL, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY SENIOR TASHAWNA MILLER GOT HER IMAGES OF WHAT ATTENDING A BLACK COLLEGE WOULD BE LIKE FROM “A DIFFERENT WORLD,” THE SITUATIONAL COMEDY ABOUT LIFE ON A FICTITIOUS CAMPUS, WHICH RAN ON NBC FROM 1987 THROUGH 1993. “I had always wanted to confident she has the grades and attend an HBCU (historically preparation to get into the school of black college or university) her choice. Just as important from anyway,” says Miller, who is Morgan’s point of view, Miller is graduating this fall with a enthusiastic about her college experidegree in English. “My mom ence and, as president of the Univerinstilled in me the idea of sity’s Pre-Alumni Council, she’s eager giving back to the commuto talk about it. nity, giving back to our own. Year after year, Morgan produces But I really, really identified graduates such as Miller; yet year with the students on ‘A Difafter year, the University finds itself ferent World.’ fighting for survival, forced to justify “I just knew I was going to its mission and very existence. be another Whitley,” Miller Unseen Success says, referring to one of the principal characters on the It sometimes seems to the Univershow. sity’s administrators that success stoIn the idealized, fictional ries such as Tashawna Miller are inviscampus on “A Different ible to the world at large. World,” HBCUs were nurMorgan President Earl S. turing environments where Richardson, says he has seen “a rising caring faculty and staff tide” of negativity directed at HBCUs instilled in students an in recent months. It is fueled, he says, appreciation of their culture, by ages-old prejudice and by the their responsibility to the determination of historically white black community and the institutions to protect their turf importance of their role as against competition. MSU senior, Tashawna Miller future leaders. “They seem to be reinterpreting the Miller, 21, says she found intent of the civil rights movement all of that on Morgan’s campus — and more. and the laws that followed, suggesting that the goal was to “The one thing that impresses me now was meeting so eliminate black institutions rather than to enhance them to many different kinds of black people; black people from all the point of parity,” Dr. Richardson says. “It is not only very over the world with different histories; different tastes in disturbing; it could have profoundly tragic consequences for HBCUs and the students they serve.” things like foods, clothes, music; different ways of thinking The national furor was sparked in November by an and looking at things. Growing up in the suburbs, attending arguably offensive op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal by a suburban high school, didn’t prepare me for the variety of Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom that posited that blacks people I met here at Morgan,” says Miller, who grew up in may be happier on black campuses because there is less of a Owings Mills, Md., a community north of Baltimore. mismatch between their lower abilities and the lower acaMiller is the type of graduating student that universities demic standards of HBCUs. That argument was endorsed by cherish: She’s bright and articulate and bound for bigger things. She plans to apply to law schools this fall and is fairly a group of black conservatives and echoed in Maryland by a



Continuing Significance of HBCUs


Baltimore Sun story in which academics and politicians complained black colleges have not been held accountable for the higher failure rates of their students, despite a sizeable investment by the state in their campuses in recent years. Dr. Richardson says the critics deliberately miscast the historic goal of the civil rights movement — to remove the social, political and economic barriers that denied equal opportunity for blacks — and the mission of HBCUs — to arm blacks with the knowledge they need to succeed in that quest.

cent of American colleges and universities, they are enrolling about 16 percent of black students, producing 30 percent of those with bachelor’s degrees and graduating the majority of black master’s and doctorate degree-holders. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Education determined that HBCUs added about $10.2 billion to the national economy, including more than 180,000 full- and part-time jobs. Some studies suggest black graduates from HBCUs have greater self-esteem and are more likely to ascend to leadership positions in their chosen fields.

prestige for embracing this mission. Traditionally, universities are esteemed for their selectivity. Morgan freshmen average a little more than 900 on their SATs, more than 46 percent receive Pell Grants, and about 90 percent are on some form of financial aid. But in Dr. Taylor’s eyes, the loss of prestige is a small price to pay, given the university’s mission. “There’s a difference between choosing to serve others and having others serve you. HBCUs choose to serve,” Dr. Taylor says. Adds Patricia L. Welch, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education and Urban Studies, “Mainstream America just can’t understand how we do it. They can’t grasp how we can take students with low scores, who come from low-performing schools, and turn them around so that they come out and go to the most prestigious graduate institutions in the country.” The focus on providing opportunity to students with low scores and insufficient funds leads some critics to complain that once proud institutions have become remedial schools, a perspective that makes Dr. Richardson bristle. “The true measure of an institution’s worth is not what it takes in but what it produces,” he says. “I would stack our graduates against those of any institutions in the land.” 

Rich History

Morgan’s Mission

The Higher Education Act of 1965 defined HBCUs as ”any historically black college or university established before 1964, whose primary mission was, and is, the education of black Americans.” Many were founded by newly freed black men and women in the years after the Civil War, and most were founded in the South, where the majority of blacks lived at the time. There were 103 HBCUs in 2007, according to the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including two- and four-year colleges, public and private. The trade organization for HBCUs, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, or NAFEO, lists 118 members, including institutions in 25 states, Washington, D.C., the Virgin Islands and Brazil. The United Negro College Fund, perhaps best known for its motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” represents 39 private HBCUs. For most of their history, HBCUs produced the overwhelming majority of the educated elite of black America. Even today, as HBCUs constitute only 3 per-

But those successes tell only part of the story, according to Morgan administrators and professors. Founded 140 years ago, primarily to train black men for the ministry, Morgan today is open to the best and brightest students of all ethnicities and those who are not eligible for a college education under traditional standards. Morgan educators are particularly proud of their ability to reach out to students other institutions reject. “We provide access and opportunity for a population of students that otherwise would not have access and opportunity, and we turn them into successes. That’s what we do well. That’s what our history has been,” says Maurice C. Taylor, J.D., Ph.D., Interim Vice President for University Operations. “Our students rise up and become business leaders, doctors and lawyers.” Maurice C. Taylor, J.D., Ph.D., Interim Vice President Dr. Taylor notes that the for University Operations university suffers loss of



Continuing Significance of HBCUs

Morgan’s Deans Speak Out

"In many ways, Morgan is the miracle at Cold Spring, particularly in the transformation it has made in the personal and professional lives of its graduate students." — Maurice C. Taylor, J.D., Ph.D, Interim Vice President, University Operations and Former Dean, School of Graduate Studies

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

Allan Noonan, M.D., Ph.D.

“We are able to teach a body of knowledge that is standard, but teach it in an environment that is open and honest for people of color.” — Dean Patricia Welch, Ph.D, School of Education and Urban Studies

Patricia Welch, Ph.D.

“Maryland’s history demonstrates that equal footing between historically black institutions and traditionally white institutions is not an objective. Morgan’s public health program has existed for 10 years and has graduated 26 persons with doctoral degrees, thus far. It has not received a penny of state funding. The University of Maryland at Baltimore received $2 million to develop a competing program prior to enrolling a single student.” — Dean Allan Noonan, M.D., Ph.D, School of Community Health and Policy



Mary Anne Akers, Ph.D

“Most other institutions are very much about producing star architects, people who design for their reputations. At Morgan, we emphasize social responsibility. We are addressing the needs of people who are often left out and ignored in the design process.” — Dean Mary Anne Akers, Ph.D, School of Architecture and Planning

”Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have had tremendous success in the education of underrepresented minorities in the U.S., despite a long and storied history of being underfunded, undervalued and underrated. Despite successes in education and training, HBCUs are often unfairly compared with majority institutions, which have largely denied access to individuals from the underserved urban sector of society, even though, in many cases, those same majority schools have received significant funding to address diversity or minority training.”

Joseph A. Whittaker, Ph.D.

Eugene M. DeLoatch, Ph.D.

Burney Hollis, Ph.D.

Otis M. Thomas, Ph.D.


“From the standpoint of the production of adequate numbers of African Americans in the very important field of engineering, HBCUs are a national treasure. If left to other institutions — whether it is by geography, mission, and certainly by history — there would be a serious deficit of African Americans in a profession that’s at the very core of our technologically based society.” — Dean Eugene M. DeLoatch, Ph.D, School of Engineering

“The role of HBCUs really hasn’t changed that much since the days of segregation. We provide a sensitivity and nurturing that African Americans may not be getting from other institutions, including the experience to develop the leadership skills that are essential in the business world. We understand the background of our students, and we know enough to fill in the gaps where needed.” — Dean Otis M. Thomas, Ph.D, School of Business and Management

“HBCUs must continue to strive for improvement and advancement even in spite of the grim economic outlook and general lack of support. While being cognizant of their rich history, mission and traditions, as well as their proud accomplishments to date, these institutions should also recognize that resting on their laurels will not assure they will be perceived as comparable and competitive with white majority institutions. Despite obvious successes, HBCUs must continue to find creative ways to discourage complacency, while promoting progress on all levels to ensure a sustainable future.” — Dean Joseph A. Whittaker, Ph.D, School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences

“The liberal arts remain the centerpiece of collegiate training, and it has been the centerpiece of the curriculum at Morgan State University for nearly a century. Since its foundation was laid in the 1920s, under the leadership of President John Oakley Spencer and with the approval of the Middle State Association of Colleges and Universities, which first accredited Morgan then, the liberal arts foundation at Morgan has been one of its salient characteristics and values.” — Dean Burney Hollis, Ph.D, School of Liberal Arts



A Great Day for Golf MSU’s Annual Tournament Raises Money for Scholarships



By Eric Addison

“IT’S JUST BEEN A GREAT EXPERIENCE. THIS TOURNAMENT IS GROWING EVERY YEAR AND IS GETTING BETTER AND BETTER.” — Joe McIver, MSU Athletic Department A May 12 thunderstorm “This tournament is actumeant a change of plans for the ally 33 years old. It was Herb organizers of Morgan State UniBrown’s tournament that Ms. versity’s 19th Annual Golf TourRobinson brought to nament, but the event’s deep Morgan,” McIver explains. roots helped ensure its success “He gave it to Morgan so in June. Morgan could have a “A beautiful day,” reports Joe fundraiser…. Chuck Thomas McIver, assistant director of was our original golf pro. He External Operations for MSU’s does the scoring, and a lot of Athletic Department. “We had a the work of putting the tourfull course.” nament together.” The tournament, on June 10, Neither Brown nor Thomas Tim McCready Rodney “Binx” Watts Al Wilson brought 132 golfers to Turf is a Morgan alum, “but they Valley Resort and Conference have been involved with the Center in Ellicott City, Md., to enjoy Tim McCready, who attended Morgan tournament from the beginning, the games, luncheon and prizes. The for three years — lent their expertise McIver says. “Mr. Nicholas Mangione, annual event is a fundraiser put on by and energy to help make the tournawho is the owner of Turf Valley, has the MSU Foundation to benefit ment a success. This year, the three also been a tremendous resource for Morgan’s athletic scholarship fund. — who won Morgan’s only CIAA Golf the University.” Among those on the course this Tournament in 1967 — introduced a Sponsors of the tournament this year were Dallas R. Evans, chair of golf clinic for new golfers at the year included C.B. Richard Ellis, Turf MSU’s Board of Regents; Maryland tournament. Valley Resort and Conference Center, State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, MSU ’73 McIver says the organizers expect UPS, PepsiCo, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and ’77; Maryland State Delegate the tournament to raise more money Grant Capital Management, CareFirst Nathaniel T. Oaks, MSU ’74; MSU this year than it did in the last two BlueCross BlueShield, Harbor Bank of Head Football Coach Donald Hillyears, combined. Maryland, Frederick P. Winner Ltd. Eley; MSU Head Basketball Coach “Mary Robinson, the former director and Paniaguas Management.  Todd Bozeman; and surgeon Miles of development, brought this event Harrison Jr., M.D., MSU ’76, author of to Morgan State 19 years ago,” McIver the book “Ten Bears.” Past attendees relates. “We honored her at the tourhave included Maryland Governor nament this year. She’s no longer with and former Baltimore City Mayor us, but her husband and her grandMartin O’Malley; former Maryland daughter were there.” Gov. Robert Ehrlich and former MaryTwo other members of Morgan’s land Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. extended family, Herb Brown and For the sixth year running, three Chuck Thomas, have played imporlocal golf pros — Rodney “Binx” Watts tant roles in the event, as well, McIver (MSU ’67), Al Wilson (MSU ’70) and says. MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME II 2008


TEAI/MSU sponsored students: (left to right) Jessica Robinson of Westhampton, N.J.; Tiara Colbert of Annapolis, Md.; and Grace Nyambura of Baltimore, Md.

“We have now attracted the interest of business majors entering the program, which has created more diversity in the classroom.”— Nicassia Williams, Director, MSU Actuarial Science Program

Morgan-Travelers Partnership Creates New Scholarship Opportunities Risk management is a field that traditionally has seen few people of color and, until recently, has remained rather obscure and inaccessible as a career option in most minority communities. Working together, Morgan State University and Travelers insurance company of Saint Paul, Minn., are helping to change that situation. “Statistically, minorities usually end up as either risk factors or victims but are seldom seen as professionals analyzing data and facts for key decision-making in risk management firms,” says Joseph A. Whittaker, Ph.D., dean of Morgan’s School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (SCMNS). “Our goal is Joseph A. Whittaker, to increase the number of minority proPh.D. fessionals in the actuarial sciences with the Travelers Education Access Initiative.” By building a pipeline to universities including Morgan, the Travelers Education Access Initiative (TEAI) is supporting community- and school-based efforts to help students progress from middle school to rigorous high school curricula that will prepare them to enter college and compete on an equal level with their peers. Once enrolled in college, the students benefit from a broad range of supportive services, including scholarships provided by Travelers. Morgan is one of 113 universities in the U.S. that offer actuarial science as an undergraduate concentration. As part of its Actuarial Science Program, the SCMNS offers instruction

By Ferdinand Mehlinger

in risk management. Through the Morgan-Travelers partnership, SCMNS and TEAI officials believe they can boost the success rate of Morgan students in this expanding field. “Underrepresented college students face a unique set of obstacles that can interfere with their ability to complete their course work,” says Marlene Ibsen, vice president of community relations for Travelers. “Research shows these students are much more likely to achieve success if they have a broad range of supportive programs available. Travelers believes that TEAI provides the comprehensive approach that will be the formula for success for students who may not have a traditional support system.” Actuaries are in great demand, but their careers are demanding, explains Nicassia Williams, director of the Actuarial Science Program at MSU. “Actuaries not only have to foresee risk, they also have to assess it, as is the case with the occurrence of natural disasters such as Katrina,” says Williams. “An actuary uses his or her knowledge of statistics, finance and business to minimize risk for companies and financial institutions. The majority of actuaries are found in the insurance industry because that industry is our society’s biggest tool to monitor risk.” “We selected Morgan State as a TEAI partner because Travelers has an opportunity to positively impact the lives of students here in a way that aligns with our business goals,” says Ibsen.  MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME II 2008


Artists’ Homecoming Artist Robert Reed

EPOCH The Legacy & Influence of Six Morgan Alumni 18


The EPOCH Exhibition Displays MSU Alumni Talent By Jannette J. Witmyer

SIX OF THE EARLIEST GRADUATES OF MORGAN’S FINE ARTS DEPARTMENT RETURNED TO THE UNIVERSITY IN FEBRUARY, EXCITED AND HONORED TO SHOW THEIR NEWEST WORK, ALONG WITH A FEW OLDER PIECES, AT THE OPENING RECEPTION OF “EPOCH: THE LEGACY & INFLUENCE OF SIX MORGAN ALUMNI.” The exhibition, presented by Morgan’s James E. Lewis Museum of Art and members of the Pierians, Inc., Baltimore Chapter, featured the creative gifts of Dr. Randall J. Craig Sr., ’55; Reva Goodwin Lewie, ’56; Robert Reed, ’58; Virginia Evans Smit, ’58; Lawrence Sykes, ’55; and Jack White, ’58.

Over the years, as they have traveled, found parallel interests or had their work shown in major collections, these artists have found ways to maintain the common thread between them, continuing to make art and explore and grow in their creations. Continued on page 20

EPOCH: The Legacy & Influence of Six Morgan Alumni featured the work of (l-r) Jack White, ‘58; Robert Reed, ‘58; Virginia Evans Smit, ‘58; Dr. Randall J. Craig Sr., ‘55; Reva Goodwin Lewie, ‘56; and Lawrence Sykes, ‘55.

Professor James E. Lewis (Aug. 1, 1923 – Aug. 8, 1997) Professor James E. Lewis was a Henry O. Tanner Scholar Emeritus at Morgan State University and former director of the museum that now bears his name. He gained international renown for his work as a sculptor, archeologist and art historian. His untiring devotion to the museum has helped it gain international prominence and a permanent place as a Baltimore art institution.



Continued from page 19

Robert Reed (’58)

Reva Goodwin Lewie (’56)

Virginia Evans Smit (’58)

Robert Reed was 16 when he arrived at Morgan to study under Alberto Sangiamo and James Lewis. After graduating, Reed continued his studies at the Yale School of Art and received an additional bachelor’s and a master’s in fine arts. In later years, his solo exhibitions included shows at the Whitney and Bayly Museums, the Washburn in New York and the McIntosh in Atlanta. His work also became part of permanent collections across the country, including the Hirshhorn, the Walker and the Whitney. Reed’s portraits are distinct in their geometric themes. His art is a study of tones and shapes that investigate the energy and optical effects of form. Through paint, the artist creates complex canvases with layered textures that add to the portrait’s three-dimensionality. Ideograms are visual documents about the artist’s past and the techniques he uses to move from past to future to present. This suggests, as with Dr. Randall Craig, that Reed’s work is a journal of memory, real and contrived.

“We had sculpture on the lower floor, and at the same time, the music people had singing. So, we were banging, and they were singing,” Reva Lewie says laughingly, as she describes working in tight quarters as a student in Morgan’s then newly developing art department. “That was in 1953, and the campus, of course, was nothing like it is today.” “(Professor Charles) Stallings and (Morgan museum and art department founder) James Lewis really had an impact on my career and, I think, on all of the students’ careers,” says Lewie, who went on to earn a master’s degree at New York University, return to Baltimore and become an educator. “James Lewis was way ahead of his time. He was an excellent sculptor, and he inspired his students.” “When I retired from teaching, I built a studio onto my home,” says the 1988 National Education Association Teacher of the Year. “So, I’m able to work there. I like color and have been working with glass — sort of a mosaictype thing where I take small pieces of stained glass and work them into abstract expressionist creations.” “I always exhibited some but never really marketed my work. I did it more for the joy of doing it,” she says. “Work has sold by word of mouth, one person telling another.”

“…There was this new guy, Alberto Sangiamo,” Virginia Evans Smit recalls from her days as a student at Morgan. “Mr. Lewis had hired him from Yale. Sangiamo had just gotten his master’s, and he was new to teaching. He, in essence, gave us everything he had learned at Yale, which was wonderful.” Evans Smit credits Sangiamo’s teachings with preparing her to compete in the master of fine arts program at the University of Pennsylvania, where many of the other students had attended other Ivy League schools. “As far as painting, which was my major there, I never felt inadequate in any way. I never felt that I had missed something, and I participated in the art shows at the university,” she relates. “One year, I won a first prize. The second year, I won the Thornton Oakley Medal for Achievement in Creative Art. So, I felt that my background at Morgan had served me well.” After she completed her M.F.A., her plans to teach on the college level were placed on hold when she married and moved to New York. She started print-making when she was pregnant with her first child. “To this day, I’m still pretty much a printmaker, although a lot of my work has a ‘paintedly’ quality to it. And, now, I do all kinds of prints, not just woodcuts,” she says. “At this point in my life, I’m just enjoying making art,” says Evans Smit, who is now retired and spends five months a year in Barbados. “And, I am enjoying showing the stuff.”



Lawrence Sykes (’55)

Jack White (’58)

Dr. Randall J. Craig Sr. (’55)

“You’re talking about a kid coming out of the east side of Baltimore, out of a non-art-specialization program, coming to Morgan in 1950,” says Lawrence Sykes. After pursuing other interests, and with only three semesters to complete, Sykes committed fully to Morgan’s Art Education program, with the intention of getting into a good graduate school. He set his sights on the Pratt Institute in New York and was accepted. He gives Morgan credit for getting him there. In grad school, Sykes began to freelance, designing posters and drawing editorial cartoons for the NAACP. Then, in the late ’60s, after completing grad school, teaching junior high in New York and directing Morgan’s Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center, he accepted a position at Rhode Island College, where he started and developed a photography program. “It gave me a new position and a new outlook,” he says. “I started to have more time to put my skills together, to paint and to do my political cartooning, my illustrations and book covers and so on.… I kept running into black artists and African artists and African writers and poets. And they were the people who kept me jumping, with their book jackets and things for their books of poetry, using my art in that way.” Through the ’70s, Sykes, who has always been drawn to Africa, saw as much of the continent as he could. The influence is apparent in his work today. He spends much of his time now doing artwork in his basement studio and exhibiting at a gallery in Providence, R.I.

When he arrived at Morgan, an Air Force veteran who had never studied art in school and had not been in a formal classroom in four years, Jack White began to wonder whether he had made a huge mistake. He was now in class with people who had studied high school art. His concerns were short-lived. “I could always draw, and that was my strong point,” he says. “When I got in those drawing classes and those instructors saw how I could handle a line, I raised a few eyebrows right off the bat. In my sophomore year, I got the President’s Purchase Award. Dr. Martin Jenkins, who was (Morgan) president then, purchased one of my drawings for his offices. That made my year. And from that point on, I knew that I could hang with these guys. I had no experience, but I just had this raw talent.” However, he says, “No matter how much talent you’ve got, it’s the drive that you have to go with it that really makes the day.” So, after he completed his studies at Morgan, during his time teaching junior high school in Rome, N.Y., and during his studies at Syracuse University, he continued to make art and grow as an artist. Right now, White’s work deals with his African heritage. “I always tell people that art makes art. The more art I make, the more creative I become and the more new stuff comes into my mind,” he says. “I have one main inspiration: that’s my ability to use my ancestors as fodder.”

In looking at the figural work of Dr. Randall Craig, sculptor, one sees subtle influences of James Lewis, the artist and teacher. Craig’s “Professor James E. Lewis,” a bust of resin that stands at more than two feet, most resembles the technique of the artist’s former mentor. The likeness in styles and technique is part of Craig’s homage to his professor. Dr. Craig retired as professor and coordinator of Arts Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. A Baltimore native, Dr. Craig received his master’s in painting and sculpture from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University and his doctorate in arts education from the University of Maryland. He completed additional studies in African art, music and literature at the University of Ghana and has taught at Morgan State and Rutgers Universities. Dr. Craig’s work captures the mannerisms of personalities at their most human and bare. This vulnerability reveals a strength through humility. 



Brighter, Better By Eric Addison

The New MSU


As a student in what she jokingly calls “the Dark Ages of the ’60s,” Karen Robertson, ’66, often had to do research in dungeonlike libraries, without much help from the staff. So, in her own career as a reference librarian, and as Morgan State University’s library director since 1982, she has made helpfulness toward clientele a top priority. And when patrons of MSU's Soper Library were asked for their comments about the building, during the early planning for a new library facility, in 2001, she had a good idea of what they would say. “…In the beginning stages of the design of the new facility, we did what the architects refer to as a brown paper charrette,” Robertson relates. “In the main lobby of the old building we put up boards with pieces of brown paper and pictures of different libraries, different settings, interiors, exteriors, to stimulate some interest and comments. The No. 1 comment we received: ‘old library too dark, too dull.’ “That’s why you see in the new building a lot of glass, a lot of openness, a lot of natural light coming in,” she says. And, a lot of space. The new Morgan State University Library, which opened on Feb. 26, has four stories and 212,997 square feet, more than twice the square footage of Soper, which stands next door awaiting renovation as Morgan’s student support services building. Among the many notable features within that new space: • Showcases for themed exhibits • Multimedia and audiovisual capabilities in meeting and study rooms • The Beulah M. Davis Special Collections Room for African-American books, manuscripts, artifacts and “Morganianna” • The Benjamin A. Quarles Room for seminars and meetings • The Parren J. Mitchell Room for meetings • Study space for visiting and emeriti faculty • An environmentally friendly “green roof”



The book collection was in place at the new facility on opening day, and the move to the new Morgan State University Library is now essentially complete, Robertson says.

Her top priority after the move, Robertson says, was “to see that our major services were all functioning. The computer labs for students were set up by September, and we are now completing installation of the public computers, which is a major priority. We are also working on the assignments for the graduate/faculty study rooms. We’re creating a committee of graduate students and faculty to determine a method for having those rooms assigned and to develop policies and procedures for their use.” “The building has been well-received by users,” Robertson reports. “They think it’s ‘beautiful,’ ‘gorgeous,’ ‘so nice.’… The total ambience and feel of the new building is better,” she agrees. The new, larger facility will need “decidedly more staff,” including librarians and security personnel, Robertson says, to fulfill the library’s broad mission. “The library endeavors to support the research activities of all of Morgan’s degree programs,” the director says, “as well as community service efforts and recreational reading for the greater community.” 

“That’s why you see in the new building a lot of glass, a lot of openness, a lot of natural light coming in.” — Karen A. Robertson, MSU Library Director



Morgan Professors Win Boeing Fellowships The Welliver Program

“I think (the Welliver program) is excellent. It…allows faculty to get industry experience but also learn about business and engineering pratices.” — Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, MSU School of Engineering

By Eric Addison

T H E B O E I N G C O M PA N Y & S. Keith Hargrove, Ph.D.

Thanks to The Boeing Company, and Morgan State University’s constant drive to improve educational opportunities for its students and faculty, two professors of Morgan’s School of Engineering spent eight weeks this summer exchanging knowledge with some of the best engineers, technologists and corporate professionals in the world, in Boeing’s Welliver Faculty Fellowship Program. S. Keith Hargrove, Ph.D., who is chair and associate professor of Industrial Engineering at MSU, and Jumoke (“Kemi”) Ladeji-Osias, Ph.D., assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University, were among 10 engineering educators from the U.S. and India who became Welliver Fellows this year. Professors in the Welliver program look over the shoulders of Boeing employees at various company locations to learn from them. They also contribute to the company by working on projects and suggesting how Boeing can make improvements.



The prestigious, annual program has as its goal to give academicians “an understanding of Boeing’s business, including its research needs, with an improved understanding of the practical application of technical and business skills,” the company says. The program is also designed to give the professors “a network of contacts within Boeing and among their faculty peers that can form the basis of long-term relationships.” “This is a highly selective program…. Boeing believes it’s important to make this strategic investment because these professors are educating our future employees,” says Trina Medley of Boeing University Relations. “We’re giving these selected professors access to our technical and business programs with the intention of helping them educate students, giving (the students) the skills they need to be successful in careers in engineering, business, manufacturing and technology.”

(l–r) Dr. Eugene M. DeLoatch, Dean of MSU's School of Engineering, with Welliver Fellows Dr. S. Keith Hargrove and Dr. Jumoke Ladeji-Osias

M O R G A N S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y “I’m very excited to be here,” said Dr. Ladeji-Osias, on the phone at Boeing’s Commercial Airlines Division in Seattle, Wash., during the first week of the fellowship. “I’m getting to see so much about Boeing and the way they do business. And I’m getting to meet many managers and engineers…. I’ll be learning about Boeing’s expectations of recent college grads, and I’ll be able to take real-world examples back to the classroom, including realistic projects for my students. “I expect to make some contacts during the program so Morgan graduate students can get internships and the University will have research and funding opportunities in the future,” she continued. “I’ve been assigned a project to work on that will allow me to interact with the nine other faculty members in the program.” Dr. Jumoke Ladeji-Osias “I think (the Welliver program) is excellent,” said Dr. Hargrove. “It is probably one of, if not the only program that has a structured format that allows faculty to get industry experience but also learn about business and engineering practices. I’m just elated that a program like this exists.

“This is an excellent initiative that Morgan is doing to promote professional development for its faculty,” he added, “and it should encourage other faculty to do the same to enhance classroom learning and their research.” 

MSU's S. Keith Hargrove, Ph.D. and Jumoke LadejiOsias, Ph.D., with other Welliver Fellows at Boeing’s Commercial Airlines Division in Seattle, Wash. Above: (left, standing) Boeing program manager Trina Medley, Dr. Howard G. Pearlman of Drexel University; (back row, left to right) Dr. S. Keith Hargrove of Morgan State University, Dr. Raúl Ordóñez of the University of Dayton, Dr. Ruth C. King of the University of North Carolina–Greensboro, Boeing mentor Bill Black; (second row, left to right) Dr. Cheryl L. Allen of Morehouse College, Masoud Rais-Rohani of Mississippi State University, Dr. IkWhan G. Kwon of St. Louis University; (seated, left to right) Dr. Jumoke “Kemi” Ladeji-Osias of Morgan State University, Prem Kumar Kalra of the Indian Institute of Technology and Dr. Sherali Zeadally of the University of the District of Columbia



MORGAN STUDENTS SEE By Atraue Brown On Nov. 4, 2008, I was more than elated to hear the announcement that Sen. Barack Obama was president-elect of the United States. In my dorm room, barely holding my composure, I watched MSNBC in shock. It was finally over! The anticipation about our next presiMSU Class of 2010 Telecommunications Major dent had finally come to Chicago, Ill. an end. Moments later, students ran through the hallways of Morgan View shouting, “Victory!” Stepping outside, I ran into one of the most positive celebrations I have ever experienced. I ran through the courtyard into Holmes Hall, joining the other students who were dancing to the sound of their own cheers: “O-bama, O-bama.” It was not quite midnight, but to us, a new day had already dawned. As we charged onto the main campus and stood in front of the statue of Frederick Douglass, many of us screamed, “Our president is black!” The police showed up for crowd control, but they soon

learned they weren’t needed. It was a peaceful rally. They understood our exuberance and allowed us to continue. Before the likeness of Frederick Douglass — which was wearing an Obama T-shirt by then — it was as if I could feel my ancestors’ many years of struggle and oppression. I recalled the March on Washington, when our people demonstrated for human rights and economic opportunity. And now this! I cried inside and shouted “Thank you!” Thank you to every Martin Luther King Jr., every Zora Neale Hurston, every James Brown and every Ben Carson who came before us, because through them, at that moment, I understood what it meant for this day to finally come. For students, the triumph of Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. John McCain signified a change in America. Many of us had voted for the first time in this election, so we felt at one with Obama’s victory and his place in history. The next day, I found the atmosphere was still charged with excitement and deep reflection. I talked with my friend Ashley Bunn, president of the Political Science Association at Morgan. Still overflowing with emotion, she was able to put it all into perspective. “Obama is an incredible candidate who has set out to help all types of Americans,” she said, “and I genuinely believe that Obama can help to change America.”

Obama’08 26


DAWN OF A NEW DAY By Marvin Desmond Carr “Fair Morgan, we love thee!” This has never been more true to me than since Election Night 2008. That night, as I walked to my dormitory, I began to hear screaming and yelling. When I walked into my room and turned to Fox News, the ticker read, “Obama Makes History!” I could not contain the emotions MSU Class of 2009 that followed. Civil Engineering Major The loud voices moved outBrooklyn, N.Y. side into the courtyard, where about 200 upperclassmen had gathered. People — black and white, students and even police officers — were crying and hugging each other. For that brief moment, we were all one. The crowd migrated toward Holmes Hall, and I could not believe what was before my eyes. There were at least 400 Morgan students crying, laughing and shouting at the top of their lungs, ”Obama…Obama…Obama.” I watched as students circled around the statue of Frederick Douglass

never forget how almost 700 black students came together to show their support for our nation’s first black president, and that no one was hurt. There were no fights, no arguing, no agitation by police or University administrators. There was only celebration. After months of attacks on Morgan State University from mainstream media in Baltimore, being associated with and defending my school had been tough. Again and again, reporters had asked whether there was a need for “black schools.” But on Election Night, all I could think was, “This is why I came to an HBCU.” The next time the Baltimore Sun or state leaders ask about the need for HBCUs, the answer should not be “Barack Obama.” The answer should be the young people to whom Morgan State University has given chances when no other institution would. The answer should be the Danielle Bartons, Marcus Neal-Wattses and Tie-Shé Morgans, students who have all sworn unswerving fidelity to their “Fair Morgan.” This night reminded me of the old Morgan that alumni always tell me about, a Morgan where the student body was politically active and socially aware. On that warm

Obama ... Obama ... Obama ... singing songs of joy, such as “We Shall Overcome” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Soon, more students began to show up, as the underclassmen filed in from South Campus toward the Morgan Commons. In a matter of minutes, the campus burst open, as the students began to pour into the streets. There were so many Morganites there that the police officers decided to shut Cold Spring Lane and allow us to celebrate. Young people were chanting and, yes, dancing at 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane until 2:00 a.m. I will

fall night, there were no “gangsters,” no scholars, no Kappas or Deltas. No one felt that he was too cool or too important to hug someone else. I paused to take in the moment and was overwhelmed. There were so many universities I could have attended, but I chose a black school, an institution built by those who struggled and maintained for the sake of those like me, who dream. God bless our president, God bless Fair Morgan, and God bless the U.S.A.



NASA Engineer, Hip Hop DJ Mark Branch, ’91

Morgan physics grad enjoys ‘the best of both worlds’ By Christina Royster-Hemby, ’93 When Mark Branch was five years old, he broke a magnet and made a startling discovery: Opposite ends attract each other. He fell in love with science. Five years later, he was lying on the back seat of his mother’s car when he heard a song called “Rapper’s Delight” playing on the radio. He fell in love with hip hop.

His passion for his day and night jobs is matched by his passion for mentoring. As he talks with youngsters at NASA and elsewhere, Branch often uses his hip hop life to draw them in and sneaks in a science lesson. “I use hip hop as a conduit to reach them,” he says. “Talking about it brings me to their level and bridges a gap.” The kids often wonder how he can answer their questions so well “as a real hip hop head,” Branch says. “What do you do at NASA again?” they ask.

The two loves he found early in life have led to two parallel universes for Branch, a 1991 physics graduate of Morgan State University. He seems an But science and hip hop aren’t the only enigma: the aerospace engineer and lessons Branch doles out. He also focuses technical lead of NASA Goddard Space young people on the value of education, Flight Center’s Electromagnetic Test telling them how, during his freshman year Engineering Group, who works on the at Morgan, he almost lost his scholarship Hubble Space Telescope by day and as a Washington, D.C., hip hop DJ by night. — Mark Branch, "DJ Scientific" and flunked out of school because he was DJ’ing too many parties. One thought But Branch says his dual acts are a scared him straight: facing his mother. So match so natural that he goes by the he packed up his turntables for the next four years so he name “DJ Scientific” (a.k.a., “Markie B”). Recently, a third could focus on school. role has emerged for him: media darling. He has been featured in The Washington Post and on ABC’s “World News” and In his opinion, this is the lesson today’s kids really need to “Good Morning America” programs. He is also working on learn: “I tell kids not to be afraid to be smart, because a lot adding music producer to his list of identities. of them get ridiculed for that,” says the man who wants to inspire the next generation of space explorers. As an engineer, Branch tests satellites and ensures their performance. “I tell them that you can be smart and you can have the best of both worlds.”  “Every satellite that comes to Goddard and gets built there comes through my area,” he says.




IRA Rollover Extended President Bush recently signed the $700-billion economic bailout bill (H.R. 1424, The Financial Rescue Package), which includes a two-year extension of the IRA Rollover provision. The provision will be made retroactive to Jan. 1, 2008 and will apply to gifts made from that date through Dec. 31, 2009. It exempts from taxable income any funds transferred (“rolled over”) from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to a charitable organization. The following limitations apply: • The donor must be age 70-1/2 or older. • The cap on annual IRA rollovers is $100,000. • The contribution must be a direct gift to a charity (no planned gifts).


The provision, now extended, had expired at the end of 2007, and one of the fundraising industry’s chief legislative goals has been to reinstate the provision and make it permanent. Several of our alumni took advantage of this charitable option in 2007 and contributed to the Morgan State University Foundation. For more information about this giving vehicle, please contact: Mrs. Erica Cryor, Director of Development, at (443) 885-3040 or

ALUMNI DAY 69th Annual Alumni Awards and Class Reunion Luncheon

Friday, May 15, 2009

All Classes Ending In “4” & “9”


“It’s all about the journey, and the friends you make along the way.” MSU National Alumni Association Alumni House, Morgan State University 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251 443-885-3015

1700 E. Cold Spring Lane Baltimore, MD 21251

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Office of Public Relations Truth Hall #109 443-885-3022

Many deserving students want to continue an education at Morgan but remain financially challenged to complete their degree. With the help of donors like you, the dream of a better life can become an achievable goal and a reality. Thank you for helping a deserving student receive a Morgan degree.

A higher goal. A better life. A gift of a lifetime. g i v e o n - l i n e a t w w w. g i v e t o m o r g a n . c o m o r c a l l 4 4 3 - 8 8 5 - 3 0 4 0

Morgan Magazine 2008 Issue Vol. II  

M A G A Z I N E M A G A Z I N E Morgan MILE & Warrior Institute Lighting the Torch in Male Leadership Mentoring VOLUME II 2008 We’re pro...