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President Franklin Opens Year by Urging a Commitment to the College's Brand

(Sept. 15, 2011) – President Robert Franklin ’75 pointed to the words in the Morehouse alma mater “Dear Old Morehouse” during his speech for the College’s 128th Opening Convocation.

He focused on the words, “we have pledged our lives” and “give ourselves.”

“Note what is at work in the language,” Franklin said to approximately 2,000 people gathered in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. “Morehouse is not an individual experience. It is a communal, collective project. The person seated next to you now is a part of your Morehouse experience. Morehouse is its people.”

Franklin’s speech was the keynote address for the convocation, which is the formal opening of the academic year. It is an opportunity for new members of the Morehouse community – specifically the class of 2015 – and returning students, faculty and staff to commit to the College’s mission each year, said Provost Weldon Jackson ’72.

Students were dressed in shirts and ties and faculty members in full academic regalia as they marched into the Chapel, Jackson said the formality of the occasion was a testament to the excellence expected from all.

“We must be committed to affirming excellence in every aspect of our daily activities and recognize the significance and consequence of every choice that we make,” he said. “This commitment also involves a partnership between and among faculty, students and staff. Thus, today we ask every member of the Morehouse family to pledge his or her commitment to the success of that partnership. Our confidence that Morehouse College will meet the challenges of the 2011-12 year rests on the strengths of those commitments.”

After performances by the Morehouse College Glee Club, Franklin recognized members of the Morehouse faculty, Student Government Association President Travis Randle and Morehouse College National Alumni Association President Kevin McGee ’93.

But he ended the program by stressing the importance of the entire College community in making sure the Morehouse brand remains strong.

“Ultimately, a brand is about enhancing life,” Franklin said. “But a symbol is about transforming life … I would submit to you that, yes, Morehouse is a brand. But beyond that, there is the opportunity for enlightenment, ethical service, and mentoring others that lead to a deeper transformation.

“We have an opportunity to participate in a transformative experience,” Franklin said. “Let this be a year in improving Morehouse, of advancing the Renaissance and doing all we can to lift our community as we climb.”