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Vivian Says Nation's Foundation of Moral and Spiritual Leadership Comes from Morehouse


Watch the 142nd Founder's Day Convocation on the Official Morehouse College YouTube page.

Putting the onus of becoming influence leaders on students, the Rev. C.T. Vivian believes the foundation of the nation’s new leadership is moral and spiritual and comes from a base created by Morehouse and graduates like Martin Luther King Jr. ’48.

“We will be a basic piece of forming that future and Morehouse men will be there because you have been trained in body, mind and spirit,” Vivian said Feb. 12 during the 142nd Founder’s Day Convocation at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. “You now can fulfill the dreams of all of us because at the top of everything we do has to be leadership.”

Vivian, a veteran civil rights worker and friend of King’s, delivered the keynote address for the College’s celebration of its 1867 founding in the basement of Augusta’s Springfield Baptist Church. Morehouse was founded by Augusta Baptist minister William J. White with the encouragement of a former slave, the Rev. Richard C. Coulter.

The convocation kicks off four days of Founder’s Day activities, including a concert by R&B artist Fantasia and violinist Ken Ford; a Saturday morning panel discussion titled Reflections of Excellence, which features the College’s 2009 Bennie and Candle Award honorees; and the College’s “A Candle in the Dark” awards gala on Saturday evening.

President Robert M. Franklin Jr. ’75 told students during the convocation that Morehouse’s historical impact as a feeder system for leaders has been felt nationally and internationally.

“I urge each of you to look to the voices of the founders and double our efforts to preserve the Morehouse legacy and pass it on to future Morehouse men,” he said.

Vivian connected the ascendancy of President Barack Obama to the moral and spiritual foundation laid by King, under the tutelage of Morehouse leaders such as Benjamin E. Mays. But as the College focuses on building Renaissance men with a social conscience and global perspective, Vivian emphasized those men have to be multi-faceted.

“Because if you’re a black Renaissance man,” he said, “then you have to have another vocation, and that’s the leadership of your people.”

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