Morehouse College

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Morehouse College

The academic seal of Morehouse College
Motto"Et Facta Est Lux"
(Latin: "And there was light")[1]
TypePrivate, HBCU, male-only[3]
Endowment$128.9 million[4]
PresidentRobert Michael Franklin[5]
LocationAtlanta, Georgia, United States
Campus61 acres (25 ha), Urban[6]
Former namesAtlanta Baptist Seminary, Atlanta Baptist College
AthleticsNCAA Division II[7]
cross country
track & field
NicknameMaroon Tigers[7]
MascotThe Maroon Tiger
AffiliationsSouthern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference[7]
A stylized bell tower rendered in maroon, with the text "Morehouse College" in black
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Coordinates: 33°44′48″N 84°24′55″W / 33.74667°N 84.41528°W / 33.74667; -84.41528

Morehouse College

The academic seal of Morehouse College
Motto"Et Facta Est Lux"
(Latin: "And there was light")[1]
TypePrivate, HBCU, male-only[3]
Endowment$128.9 million[4]
PresidentRobert Michael Franklin[5]
LocationAtlanta, Georgia, United States
Campus61 acres (25 ha), Urban[6]
Former namesAtlanta Baptist Seminary, Atlanta Baptist College
AthleticsNCAA Division II[7]
cross country
track & field
NicknameMaroon Tigers[7]
MascotThe Maroon Tiger
AffiliationsSouthern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference[7]
A stylized bell tower rendered in maroon, with the text "Morehouse College" in black

Morehouse College is a private, all-male, liberal arts, historically black college located in Atlanta, in the U.S. state of Georgia. Along with Hampden–Sydney College and Wabash College, Morehouse is one of three remaining traditional men's liberal arts colleges in the United States.

Morehouse has a 61-acre (250,000 m2) campus and an enrollment of approximately 3,000 students. The student-faculty ratio is 16:1 and 100% of the school's tenure-track faculty hold tertiary degrees. Along with Clark Atlanta University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse School of Medicine and nearby women's college Spelman College, Morehouse is part of the Atlanta University Center.

Morehouse is one of two black colleges in the country to produce Rhodes Scholars, and it is the alma mater of many African-American leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., theologian Howard Thurman, filmmaker Spike Lee, actor Samuel L. Jackson, Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses, musician Lil Jon, former Bank of America Chairman Walter E. Massey, the first African-American mayor of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis W. Sullivan, and former United States Surgeon General David Satcher, among others.




On February 14, 1867, just two years after the American Civil War, the Augusta Institute was founded by William Jefferson White, an Atlanta Baptist minister and cabinetmaker, with the support of the Rev. Richard C. Coulter, a former slave from Atlanta, Georgia, and the Rev. Edmund Turney, organizer of the National Theological Institute for educating freedmen in Washington, D.C.[2] The institution was founded to educate African American men in theology and education and was located in Springfield Baptist Church, the oldest independent black church in the United States. The school received sponsorship from the American Baptist Home Mission Society, an organization that helped establish several historically black colleges.[2][8] The Institute's first president was Rev. Dr. Joseph T. Robert (father of Brigadier General Henry Martyn Robert, author of Robert's Rules of Order).

Morehouse's History at a glance
1867Augusta Institute established[2]
1879Institute moved to Atlanta and name changed to Atlanta Baptist Seminary[2]
1885The seminary moved to its present location[2]
1897The school was renamed Atlanta Baptist College[2]
1913School renamed to Morehouse College[2]
1929Morehouse entered into a cooperative agreement with Clark College and Spelman College (later expanded to form the Atlanta University Center)[2]
1975The Morehouse School of Medicine established
1981The Morehouse School of Medicine became independent from Morehouse College

Early years

In 1879, the institute moved to its own location and changed its name to the Atlanta Baptist Seminary.[2] It later acquired a 4-acre (1.6 ha) campus in downtown Atlanta. In 1885, Dr. Samuel T. Graves became the second president. That year the seminary moved to its present location, on land donated by prominent Baptist and industrialist, John D. Rockefeller. In 1890, Dr. George Sale became the seminary's third president, and in 1897 the school was renamed Atlanta Baptist College.[2]

A view of an entrance to the campus' courtyard.

In 1906 Dr. John Hope became the first African-American president and led the institution's growth in enrollment and academic stature.[2] He envisioned an academically rigorous college that would be the antithesis to Booker T. Washington's view of agricultural and trade-focused education for African-Americans. In 1913, the college was renamed Morehouse College, in honor of Dr. Henry L. Morehouse, corresponding secretary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society (who had long organized Rockefeller and the Society's support for the College).[2][8] Morehouse entered into a cooperative agreement with Clark College and Spelman College in 1929 and later expanded the association to form the Atlanta University Center.[2]

Dr. Samuel H. Archer became the fifth president of the college in 1931 and selected the school colors (maroon and white) to reflect his own alma mater, Colgate University. Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays became president in 1940.[2] Mays, who would be a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr., presided over the growth in international enrollment and reputation. During the 1960s, Morehouse students were actively involved in the civil rights movement in Atlanta.[2] Mays’ speeches were instrumental in shaping the personal development of Morehouse students during his tenure.

In 1967, Dr. Hugh M. Gloster became the seventh president. The following year, the college's Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society was founded. In 1975, Dr. Gloster established the Morehouse School of Medicine, which became independent from Morehouse College in 1981. Gloster also established a dual-degree program in engineering with the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Michigan and Boston University.[9]

Modern history

Dr. Leroy Keith, Jr., was named president in 1987. In 1995, alumnus Dr. Walter E. Massey, became Morehouse's ninth president. His successor, Dr. Robert Michael Franklin is the tenth president of the college.

In 2006, Morehouse graduated 540 men, one of the largest classes in its history.[10] On May 16, 2008, Joshua Packwood became the first white valedictorian to graduate in the school's 141-year history.[11][12] In August 2008, Morehouse welcomed a total of 920 new students (770 freshmen and 150 transfer students) to its campus, one of the largest entering classes in the history of the school.[13]

Administration and organization

Although Morehouse's official sister school, Bennett College, is located in Greensboro, North Carolina, the institution is physically located and socially intertwined closest with Spelman College, often considered the sister school. Morehouse and Spelman colleges have strong historical ties to each other: many Morehouse Men and Spelman Women intermarry by tradition.[citation needed]


Morehouse is located on a 61 acres (25 ha) campus near downtown Atlanta.[6] The campus does not have a comprehensive sustainability program, but does operate recycling programs for paper, toner and ink jet printer cartridges.[14]


Graves Hall, Century Campus, and Mays' Tomb.
Kilgore Campus Center.
Historic Chapel Bell outside of Sale Hall.


Obelisk in front of King Chapel dedicated to Howard Thurman, world famous theologian and civil rights leader.

A bronze statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. stands to the left of King Chapel. Inscribed in the base of the statue are the words of Dr. King. Several previous presidents of the college have grave sites on-campus to honor their legacies.


Morehouse College is accredited by the Commission and Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Students may choose from over 26 majors and may participate in the Morehouse College Honors Program which is a four-year comprehensive program providing special learning opportunities for students of outstanding intellectual ability, high motivation, and broad interests.

In 2008, the student body consisted of 2,500 black-non-Hispanic, 66 non-resident aliens, 9 Hispanics, 7 white-non-Hispanics, 4 native Americans, and 21 unidentified race or ethnicity.[17] On average, at graduation, 97% of graduates attend post-graduate education.[citation needed] Morehouse College has received considerable attention as an outstanding national leader among liberal arts colleges from an array of media and ranking agencies. CNN quoted Sterling Hudson, the dean of admissions, as saying, "We're not aggressively pursuing white students, but like every other college, we're interested in diversity. So, if a white student becomes interested in Morehouse - of course we are going to treat him like any other student."[18]

Morehouse sponsors "Project Identity," a federally-funded program to stimulate interest among high school students to attend college. Project Identity conducts Saturday and summer programs for high school students to give minority students exposure to college academic life.[19]

High School juniors in the Atlanta area may gain admission into Morehouse's Joint Enrollment program which allows a high school senior to enroll in Morehouse classes and earn credits toward both a Morehouse degree as well as a high school diploma.[20]


Library and collections

Morehouse College, along with other members of the Atlanta University Center, share the Robert W. Woodruff Library.[31]

Morehouse College is home to a 7,000-piece collection of original documents written by Martin Luther King, Jr. (referred to as the King Collection). The set was valued by the Library of Congress as being worth between $28 to $30 million dollars and was originally scheduled by his family to be auctioned off to the general public in 2006, but private donors in Atlanta intervened and offered a pre-auction bid at $32 million. On June 29, it was announced by Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, a key catalyst in the buyout, that a new civil rights museum would be built in the city to make the documents available for research, public access and exhibits. Coca Cola donated a land parcel valued at $10 million in order to assist with the development of the project. The collection includes King's 1964 Nobel Prize acceptance speech.[32][33][34][35]

Student life

Regulation of student conduct

In October 2009, Morehouse College initiated a student dress code that prohibits wearing women's clothes, jewelry on their teeth, pajamas as classroom attire, tight fitting caps or bandannas on their heads, or pants which hang below the waist at official college-sponsored events. This dress code is part of the Five Wells which holds that, "Morehouse Men are Renaissance Men with a social conscience and global perspective who are: Well-Read, Well-Spoken, Well-Traveled, Well-Dressed and Well-Balanced."[36] Dr. William Bynum, vice president for Student Services was quoted by CNN as saying, "We are talking about five students who are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress [in] a way we do not expect in Morehouse men."[37] These remarks and the dress code itself have been the source of great controversy both on and off the campus. They eventually led to President Franklin having to personally send out an email to the schools' alumni, clarifying and stressing that the university's new dress policy is not intended as an affront to gays.[38]


Morehouse College offers organized and informal co-curricular activities including 78 student organizations, varsity, club, and intramural sports, and student publications.[39] Perhaps among the most notable of Morehouse's current students is Stephen Stafford II, a home-schooled student who matriculated at age 11 and is scheduled to graduate when he turns 16 in 2012.[40]

Morehouse Marching Band

The Morehouse College Marching Band is known for their halftime performances which combine dance and marching with music from various genres, including rap, traditional marching band music, and pop music. They have performed at Super Bowl XVIII, the Today Show, and at Atlanta Falcons home games. Affectionately known as the "House of Funk" they march alongside the Maroon Mystique Color guard (flag spinning) squad and Mahogany-N-Motion dance team.

Mock Trial Association

2005–2006 Morehouse College Mock Trial Team after it obtained an "Honorable Mention" award in their first appearance at the American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament in 2006

In 2005, Morehouse College became a member of the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA).[41] The school is one of only four competing teams to come from a historically black college and is also the only all-male team in the AMTA.

From 2006 to 2010, Morehouse consecutively won their regional championship competitions, and thus received direct trips to the AMTA national championship competitions in Iowa, Florida, and Minnesota.[42]

Glee Club

Founded in 1911, the Morehouse College Glee Club has a long and impressive history. The Glee Club performed at Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral, President Jimmy Carter's inauguration, the Super Bowl XXVIII, and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The Glee Club's international performances include tours in Africa, Russia, Poland and the Caribbean. The group also appeared on the soundtrack for the movie School Daze, directed by notable Morehouse alum (c/o 1979), Spike Lee. Most recently, the Morehouse College Glee Club was invited to perform at the ABCUSA 2011 Conference in Puerto Rico. Also, the glee club studio-recorded a song for Spike Lee's "Red Hook Summer" entitled Zachary and the Scaly-Bark Tree.

Debate Team

Recently, at the 2012 Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association state tournament, Morehouse College retained its title as the best parliamentary debate program in the State of Georgia by winning the 1st Place Sweepstakes trophy. Four of the members (Austin Williams, Chris Fortson-Gaines, Kevin Porter, and Franklin Kwame Weldon) participated in an exhibition with Howard University for the Nation's classic in 2011. On January 16, 2012 members Chris Fortson-Gaines and Derrick Reed participated in an exhibition with Bates College for Martin Luther King weekend. The program is currently directed by Attorney Ken Newby who graduated from the College in 1997.

The Maroon Tiger

The college's weekly student-run newspaper is The Maroon Tiger. Originally founded in 1898 as The Athenaeum, it was renamed in 1925. American poet and writer Thomas Dent was a contributor while he attended from 1948–1952,[43] as was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The 2008–2009 staff sought to expand the newspaper into a news organization by creating Morehouse's first television news program, Tiger TV, and advancing online news coverage.

National fraternities and honor societies

Morehouse College has chapters of several national fraternities and honor societies:



Honor Societies

Religious organizations

Campus religious organizations include the Atlanta University Center Catholic Student Coalition, King International Chapel Ministry, Martin Luther King International Chapel Assistants, King Chapel Choir, Muslim Students Association, New Life Inspirational Fellowship Church Campus Ministry, and The Outlet.[39]


Morehouse Tigers athletics logo

In sports, Morehouse College is affiliated with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II. The mascot is the Maroon Tiger. Morehouse College competes in football, baseball, basketball, cross country, tennis, track & field and golf.

The Morehouse swim team is called the Tigersharks. From 1958 till 1976 the swim team had 255 wins and only 25 losses, with over 15 SIAC championships, making it the most winning sports team in Morehouse history.[44] It beat Emory University and Georgia Tech in dual meets in different seasons. The team also appeared in Jet and Ebony magazines, Black Sports, and Sports Illustrated throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and is presently being considered as honorary inductees into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Actor Samuel L. Jackson was once the team statistician and apprentice swimmer. Some of the swimmers had competed in NCAA and NAIA competition at various times throughout the team's history. The team was disestablished in 1976, and the funds were transferred to build the Morehouse School of Medicine,[citation needed] which separated from Morehouse in 1981.[45] During the years of 1966 to 1970, their star butterfly swimmer was Bobby Garcia, now filmmaker Robert G. Christie ( His film, The Sobbing Stone, was nominated Best Feature Drama at the Sabaoth International Film Festival in Milan, Italy in 2006. He is now writing a screenplay of his years at Morehouse, soon to be made into a major motion picture.

Morehouse College soccer scandal

In 2000, Morehouse's part-time soccer coach, Augustine Konneh (who had lobbied to get soccer elevated to varsity status two years earlier) signed two Nigerian-born players to play for the Maroon Tigers even though they had played professionally for the Atlanta Ruckus of the A-League two years earlier. They also played a few games for Morehouse before they actually enrolled at the school. Even though the school's athletic director received word that the two players might have been ineligible, they were allowed to play in 2001 as well. Although Konneh was replaced as coach in 2001, numerous other violations—including a player being allowed to compete without proper paperwork—led Morehouse to cancel the 2003 season. In November 2003, the NCAA barred Morehouse from fielding a soccer team again until 2006. It also slapped Morehouse with five years' probation—tied for the longest probation ever. USA Today called it the harshest penalty ever handed down to a collegiate program. The NCAA came down particularly hard on Morehouse because of a lack of institutional control; for a time the athletic department did not know the soccer program even existed. While this was Morehouse's first major infractions case, the NCAA felt compelled to impose the punitive measures because of what it called "a complete failure" to keep the program in compliance.[46] Soccer at Morehouse has since reverted to intramural status; school officials had planned to shutter varsity soccer for an indefinite period even before the NCAA acted.

Notable alumni

Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering "I Have a Dream" at the 1963 Washington, D.C. Civil Rights March.

Morehouse alumni include notable African-Americans such as: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Theologian Howard Thurman, filmmaker Spike Lee, filmmaker Robert G. Christie (a.k.a. Bobby Garcia), actor Samuel L. Jackson, Gang Starr rapper Guru (rapper), Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses, former Bank of America Chairman Walter E. Massey, the first African-American mayor of Atlanta Maynard Jackson, Major League Baseball first baseman and 1969 World Series MVP Donn Clendenon, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis W. Sullivan, and former United States Surgeon General David Satcher.

According to Morehouse's own "About Us" page, Morehuse was the first historically black college to produce a Rhodes Scholar. The school's first Rhodes Scholar, Nima Warfield, was named in 1994, the second, Christopher Elders, in 2001.[47] A third, Oluwabusayo "Topé" Folarin, was named in 2004. Morehouse has been home to seven Fulbright Scholars, Damon M. Lombard (1995), John Thomas (2004), Jason T. Garrett (2006), Morgan C. Williams, Jr. (2006), Lasean Brown (2008), Eric R. Baylor (2008) and Wendell H. Marsh (2009).[48][49]

Since 1999, Morehouse has produced five Marshall Scholars, five Luce Scholars, four Watson Fellows and 2010 White House Fellow, Erich Caulfield.[50][51] Previous Watson Fellows include, Craig Marberry '81, Kenneth Flowers '83 and Lynn P. Harrison III '79.


  1. ^ The motto is the concluding portion of the biblical verse "dixitque Deus fiat lux, et facta est lux" ("And said God let there be light, and there was light"). See Let there be light
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Morehouse College". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  3. ^ "List of HBCUs – White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities". 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Morehouse College appoints new president". Atlanta Business Chronicle (American City Business Journals, Inc.). 2007-05-01. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
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  7. ^ a b c "The >> Morehouse College". Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  8. ^ a b Brawley, Benjamin (1917). History of Morehouse College. Atlanta: Morehouse College. pp. 135–141. 
  9. ^ "Morehouse College Fact Book 2004-2008". p. 7. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  10. ^ "Morehouse Graduates Largest Class". [dead link]
  11. ^ "White valedictorian: A first for historically black Morehouse". CNN. 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  12. ^ Marcus K. Garner, "White valedictorian makes Morehouse history", 18 May 2008. Available online. Archived by WebCite.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Campus Operations - Recycling Program". Morehouse College. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  15. ^ 1983 Morehouse Torch (Yearbook)
  16. ^ "Morehouse Cuts the Ribbon on the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building". Morehouse College. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  17. ^ "Morehouse College Fact Book 2004–2008". p. 27. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  18. ^ Dana Rosenblatt and Don Lemon (May 19, 2008). "White valedictorian: A first for historically black Morehouse". CNN. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  19. ^ "Project Identity". Morehouse College. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  20. ^ "Freshmen Requirements". Morehouse College. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  21. ^ "Liberal Arts College Rankings 2010". Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  22. ^ "2011 Best National Liberal Arts Colleges". US News. US News. 
  23. ^ The Most Grueling Colleges
  24. ^ "Morehouse is #1 out of top 50 schools for African Americans". Retrieved 2006-06-15. 
  25. ^ Bernstein, Elizabeth. "Want to Go To Harvard Law?". Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition. Dow Jones & Company. 
  26. ^ "Morehouse Ranks Among Top Feeder Schools to Elite Graduate Programs". The Black Excel Newsletter. October 2003. 
  27. ^ "Morehouse scores title of "hottest men's college"". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ In Pictures: 10 Great Schools For Networking,
  30. ^ "Hidden Gems -- What Will They Learn?". American Council of Trustees and Alumni. Retrieved 2012-02-25. 
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  32. ^ "Atlanta Deal for King Papers Paves Way for Museum, Mayor Says". 2006-06-29. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  33. ^ "The King Papers at Morehouse College". Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  34. ^ "New Home for King Papers". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  35. ^ "Coca-Cola giving land for museum on civil rights". Baltimore Sun.,0,1852552.story?coll=bal-nationworld-headlines. Retrieved 2006-10-26. [dead link]
  36. ^ The Soul of Morehouse and the Future of the Mystique: President's Town Hall Meeting (Robert M. Franklin (2009)).
  37. ^ Mungin, Lateef (October 17, 2009). "All-male college cracks down on cross-dressing". CNN. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  38. ^
  39. ^ a b c "'s Best Colleges 2008:Morehouse College:Campus Life". 2008 U.S.News & World Report, L.P.. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  40. ^ Thomas, Kalin (Dec. 24, 2009). "13-year-old student wows Morehouse". The Champion. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  41. ^ "Team Numbers". American Mock Trial Association. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  42. ^ "Tournament News : Des Moines Results". Archived from the original on January 11, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  43. ^ "Tom Dent Bio :". 
  44. ^
  45. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  46. ^ Wieberg, Steve. A small school gets a big punishment. USA Today, 2003-11-14.
  47. ^ "Morehouse Student Named Rhodes Scholar". Morehouse College News. 2001-12-10. Retrieved 2006-06-15. 
  48. ^ "Morehouse College Announces Its 2006–2007 Fulbright Scholars". Morehouse College. Archived from the original on June 13, 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-15. 
  49. ^ U.S. Fulbright Online Retrieved on 2010-06-10.
  50. ^ Black Past Remembered Retrieved on 2011-02-10.
  51. ^ morehouse-mit-graduate/ Black Scholars


External links