2019 SENIOR PROFILES
With Commencement just around the corner, we wanted to take a little time and focus on some of our outstanding graduating seniors. Click on each name below to learn more about these amazing soon-to-be #MorehouseMen.
|Ross D. Jordan|
|Elijah N. Dormeus III|
|John Jacob Burns|
|Josef De Waynne Sorrells|
|Juan J. Clark|
|Joshua T. Reed|
Ross D. Jordan
You have to learn to be uncomfortable to grow, Ross D. Jordan believes. And he should know. Jordan has faced some uncomfortable situations in his life but used them to get where he is today—graduating magna cum laude from Morehouse College and enrolling in Columbia University for graduate school.
“It’s funny sometimes, coming where I come from and going to an Ivy League school,” he says. “My last two years of high school, living with my mother, we moved five times. My sixth move was coming here to college, but it motivated me.”
Just a few years ago as a high-schooler much of Jordan’s life seemed unsure, as he describes it. “I was very good at football but quit it. I got accepted into a top private school, and the next year I transferred back to my old school.
“So many people gave up on me. But I went on to become the senior class president and get into the only school I applied to, on scholarship.”
Jordan was introduced to Morehouse at the end of his sophomore year in high school. He made two visits to campus, from his home in Desoto, Texas, and felt an intimate connection to the college. “Everyone knew each other and had a great relationship,” he says. “You’re seeing black men in college excelling above and beyond, and uplifting one another.”
Eventually, Jordan was so impressed that he set his sights completely on Morehouse. “I didn’t want to go to a large school, so when I decided to go to an HBCU, I thought why not the best? I got accepted, and in my letter it said I got the Oprah Winfrey Scholarship, for half of my tuition.”
Networking with others helped Jordan acclimate to his new surroundings and remain in school despite the challenges of life. He got support, for example, from faculty members, including Dr. Artesius Miller, Ph.D., ’09, as well as Jordan’s personal mentor, Fred Parham. Miller introduced Jordan to several opportunities, such as directing the graduating senior to Teachers College, Columbia University for graduate school, and sharing his contacts there. And Parham, the advisor to the Collegiate 100, the Atlanta student chapter of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, gave Jordan some lessons on leadership when Jordan served as president of the group this past year.
The top-ranked scholar also found a field that he became passionate about kinesiology. Jordan plans to get a master’s degree in physical education at Columbia University and then design programs and activities that will offer students, especially those with disabilities, ways to learn while being physically active in the classroom.
He also plans to pursue his doctorate. “It’s a culture here (at Morehouse), about grad school,” he explains. “We realize how important it is and impactful, particularly being black men in America.”
Ultimately, though, Jordan wants to be a change-maker, as many Morehouse Men have been. “We (he and his classmates) want to be trailblazers for those who come after us. We want to break barriers in education, politics, social justice—and in general. Fifty years from now, we want to be the guys who changed things.”
On May 19, the 22-year-old will be the first male in his maternal family to graduate from college. The Phi Beta Kappa inductee and Oprah Winfrey Scholar will be the top-ranked student in kinesiology and graduate magna cum laude. He’ll be an intern at the U.S. Olympic Headquarters this summer, and soon after that, he’ll be on his way to New York City to begin graduate school.
Jordan will draw on his Morehouse experiences to help him succeed at the next stage of his life. “I’ve been through so much that when I hit a hard time, I just use it for motivation,” he said. “It’s part of life. You might not win every battle but at least you have a chance to win the war.”
Son of Morehouse Finds His Voice As A Leader
Elijah N. Dormeus III, a graduating senior and Glee Club member, was told by his high school guidance counselor that a Morehouse College education was out of his reach. It didn’t matter that he showed promise as a leader and a scholar, or that he had been wearing suits to his New York City school since he was 7 because his parents wanted him dressed to serve the Lord. When his counselor looked at him, all that she could see was a kid from Harlem with hard luck.
Dormeus’ father had passed away when he was 3, leaving him with eight brothers and sisters and mostly church clothes in the closet to wear. His mother juggled minimum wage jobs to keep a roof over their heads.
“My guidance counselor wanted to paint a realistic picture of my options senior year,” Dormeus recalled. “She said basically, ‘Since your mom is broke, you can’t afford to go to college—quit while you’re ahead.’”
But a Morehouse alumnus who happened to spot Dormeus singing with a choral group at a local restaurant a day later was left with a different impression. He encouraged Dormeus to apply to Morehouse and offered to write a letter on his behalf.
Dormeus said a prayer, mailed his application, and got in. The price tag was steep; but he figured if he could cover tuition, room, and board with a $47,000 student loan, federal grants, and a little help from his mom that the possibilities that come with studying at an institution with the legacy of Morehouse would be worth the investment. He will earn his degree in business administration on May 19, the first in his family to graduate from college. Afterward, he will begin a career in sales with AT &T in Texas.
“I wanted to leave the first day I got here because of the anxiety that I felt about paying for college,” he said. “But my mother always taught me to push through and fight for what you want. The more that I began to work with my Morehouse brothers, it burned like a fire in me to stay here.”
Out of his comfort zone, Dormeus found men that he could look up to, from the professors to the New Student Orientation leaders who gave him tips about surviving college. “I liked the fact that they were like me—willing to help, strong, and sincere. Their suits got me. I wasn’t strange anymore. It felt like I was at home with people from church.”
Soon after, he auditioned for the world-famous Morehouse Glee Club, committing himself to practices four days a week and a busy tour schedule. He traveled for free, from New York to Ireland, Brazil, Honduras, and Algeria. Glee Club Director Dr. David Morrow was like a second father to him, offering praise, advice, and redirection when needed.
Dormeus also found a home away from home in the business department. He landed internships as a development officer for the Robin Hood Foundation in New York and a project manager for ReeHorst Hotel in Amsterdam.
Then, after sweating over student loans, Dormeus had reached senior year, proving his high school counselor wrong. And he was different—a presidential ambassador exuding personality who captured the attention of a room. He was elected Mr. Senior and joined the ranks of the NSO leaders that he had once admired.
Last August, more than 200 freshmen in white shirts and maroon ties followed him as he marched them down the center of campus chanting about their new lives as confident men of Morehouse. Their parents watched, snapping photos and dabbing tears.
“When I was in high school, I couldn’t be 100 percent me all of the time. At Morehouse, I have grown in a way that allowed me to walk into who I really am and close to what God has in store for me, and what my mom really wanted, too,” Dormeus said. “I know if my dad was alive, he would be really proud.”
Legacy Student Finds His Calling At Morehouse College
Thirty years after his mother and father graduated from Spelman and Morehouse colleges, respectively, John Jacob Burns will proudly walk across the stage at Century Campus to receive his diploma. His years at Morehouse have helped him to discover his calling in life.
“Growing up, I admired Morehouse’s tradition of developing well-balanced leaders, competent in head and heart, who are capable of positively transforming their environments,” says the 21-year-old from New Rochelle, N.Y.
Coming to Morehouse continued his family legacy at the Atlanta University Center. Burns will graduate summa cum laude on May 19 with a degree in philosophy. He is the recipient of the James E. Haines Sr. Most Scholarly Athlete Award and has been recognized as the Highest-Ranking Scholar in Philosophy.
Burns was introduced to Morehouse at an early age by his parents, Carney Burns Jr. ’88 and Deborah Parms Burns, Spelman ’89.
In his own four years at Morehouse, Burns was involved in a wide variety of activities, including cross country, track & field, the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Scholars Program, the Debate Team, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and the Pre-Ph.D. Summer Enrichment Program at Howard University.
But the most transformative activity he participated in on campus, however, was one he discovered his senior year—the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Assistants Program, which develops leadership qualities and skills in undergraduate students, many of whom go on to seminary or divinity schools.
The summer before senior year, a friend put Burns in touch with King Chapel’s Dean Lawrence E. Carter Sr., about the program, which has helped to define Burns’ life. “My time learning from Dean Carter, in classes and during office hours, has instilled in me the belief that I can be impactful in transforming the trajectory of my generation so that it may function in a more loving manner,” he says. “I’m greatly appreciative of my relationship with Dean Carter.”
Burns’ favorite quote is from Benjamin Elijah Mays: “Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.” And he finds it particularly applicable to Morehouse.
“That is Morehouse right there, and that is Dean Carter,” he says. “Dean Carter tries to see that in you and tell you that you can (do something). There aren’t that many people who tell you that you can.”
After four, life-changing years at Morehouse, Burns now wants to become a social-activist “to assist in uplifting community inside and outside of academic spaces.” But, first, he’ll travel to Israel and then study Ancient Greek in an introductory summer language course at the University of Chicago before pursuing a Master of Divinity degree there, with a focus in social ethics.
Ultimately, Burns hopes to return to Morehouse to teach and do administrative work.
“I have a background in preaching but am drawn to academia,” he says. “Morehouse, for me, has been the site of immense development, and I would love to contribute to others having a similarly transformative experience.”
Morehouse Journey Inspires Scholar To Raise Grades, Achieve Dreams
In high school, Brandon A. Manor didn’t have the best grades, but after deciding that Morehouse was the college for him, he worked hard to get in.
“I wouldn’t take no for an answer,” said Manor, a psychology major from Upper Marlboro, Md. “And when I got accepted on academic probation, I realized I had been given an opportunity to make a turn, and I did.”
Manor successfully completed the Morehouse Pre-Freshman Summer Enrichment Program, and during his first semester he made the Dean’s List. “I was pretty determined,” he recalls. “Once I put my heart and my mind on something, it’s done.”
On May 19, Manor will graduate cum laude with a degree in psychology. The pre-med student is looking forward to someday working in child/adolescent psychiatry, but he will begin the next phase of his journey at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., where he will participate in a two-year Intramural Research Program.
“The goal is to do research around health disparity work,” he explains. “We’ll be looking at environmental, socioeconomic, and biological factors that play a role in disparities in patient populations as they relate to medicine.
“This will allow me to get a better understanding of what it means to be a well-rounded physician and scientist.”
Manor will be doing research as a member of the NIH Academy Enrichment Program. After his tenure at the NIH, he hopes to attend medical school at his dream school, Yale University, where he spent one summer taking classes, shadowing physicians, and meeting faculty, some of whom he’s still in touch with today.
Manor said the focus on excellence, scholarship, and brotherhood at Morehouse helped to inspire his academic transformation. He was sold after his first visit to the college.
“It was beautiful—black men sitting down and talking to each other and laughing,” he recalled. “It wasn’t something you see daily, that positive energy.”
And Morehouse turned out to be everything that Manor had hoped. “Morehouse is an incubator for black excellence,” he says. “It’s like no other. I’d come 600 miles from home, but it felt like home. It felt safe. I felt like people cared about me.”
Several key people did support Manor at Morehouse, including Lodriguez V. Murray ’04, vice president of public policy and government affairs for the United Negro College Fund, who took the young man under his wing and set a “stellar example,” Manor says.
Dean of Student Life Kevin Booker also invested heavily into Manor, from his academics and campus engagement to his personal life. “He saw the potential in me and said, ‘You’re gonna do something one day.’ Ever since, I’ve been able to do everything I wanted to do, and even things I didn’t think I could do. He really helped me raise the bar.”
Someday Manor hopes to open his own community health care center—a safe, nurturing place for young people of color in underserved communities.
“I want to cultivate a space between home and school for students to express their mental health positively,” he said. “I want to give them positive coping methods and the space to be free … I’ll invest in the community and the community will invest in me.”
Manor also plans to be an active alumnus, supporting Morehouse and helping students—particularly aspiring black physicians—to excel. And Manor wants to convince students that they can accomplish what he did for himself: imagining a life and then making that dream come true.
“Don’t let someone write your narrative for you,” he advises. “Write it yourself. And when you understand that you’re in control, the sky’s the limit.“
Scholar Fulfills Legacy of Leadership At Morehouse
Quintin Paschall of Washington, D.C. knew early on that he wanted to come to Morehouse College. He dreamed of attending a historically black college in a large city, but wanted to venture out of his hometown.
His former high school mates invited him to Atlanta and gave him a taste of the experience of being a man of Morehouse.
He was hooked.
“There was a moment that I was walking on the street behind Brown Street, looking at the fire escape at Sale Hall,” Paschall said. “That was when I was like, ‘okay, this is where I’m supposed to be.’ I had never felt that before and knew this is where I was supposed to be.”
On May 19, Paschall will graduate with a degree in English, the third Morehouse Man from his local high school to come to Morehouse and lead the student body. Paschall is part of the distinguished line of Morehouse College Student Government Association presidents.
Paschall is the 87thMorehouse SGA president. The 86thwas Kamren Rollins ’18 and Johnathan D. Hill ’17 was the 85th. All three attended McKinley Tech like Paschall. Paschall says that there is something in the water at McKinley that grooms leaders.
And at Morehouse, leadership is a varsity sport.
“We all come from the same high school, but if you take me, Kamren and J.D., we are three distinctively different individuals,” Paschall said. “We have different concerns and we’re passionate about different things. That was really the beautiful part of it – it’s that you get three different versions of something that’s like all been the same.”
After arriving on campus, Paschall eventually got into student government.
“The idea that Morehouse College produces individuals with disciplined minds who lead lives of leadership and service – they owned that,” Paschall said. “They became what to me embodied Morehouse College, and I wanted that. That was my whole point in coming down here.”
During his junior year, Paschall was appointed the SGA’s secretary of student development in Rollins’ administration. It was during that time that becoming SGA president became a goal for him. It was the opportunity to be the influencer, the mentor, the leader for other students and potential students that his friends had been for him.
“I was thinking about the holistic experience of all of the students,” he said. “I was able to fall in love with Morehouse and everything it had the potential to be.
“When I say it’s been an honor, a privilege, I’ve had so many beautiful experiences as president,” he said.
Mentorship will again be a key in Paschall’s life as after graduation; he will become a fifth-grade teacher at an all-male school in Brooklyn, N.Y. And later on down the line, he hopes to return to his hometown of Washington, D.C. and one day become mayor and apply what he’s learned as a leader – and being around the lessons of leadership - at Morehouse.
“That’s the whole point,” he said. “What’s the point of paying $200,000 for a degree if you’re going to keep it to yourself? Despite what your major is, I think you should be in some type of mentorship or education. There’s no reason you cannot give back.
“If you walk around this campus, ask any student whey they came to Morehouse,” he said. “They’re going to say they had a mentor who was a Morehouse Man, their father was a Morehouse Man, or they’re going to tell you that a coach was a Morehouse Man. And that’s the beautiful part about coming here.”
Scholar Moves Through Morehouse In Two Years
It may seem that Josef De Waynne Sorrells has been moving pretty fast most of his life.
But the Morehouse College senior really has just been someone who is full of motivated purpose. That’s why he during four years of high school, he was able to squeeze in two years of college classwork at the same time.
In fact, it’s why he is graduating from Morehouse just two years after he came to campus as a freshman in 2017. On Sunday, he will receive a degree in political science.
“My parents molded me and my younger brother to be a step ahead,” said Sorrells, who is from Dallas, Texas. “So that first step happened to be as an early college student.”
“So along with my parents, my grandparents have been role models for me to always push and strive to reach the impossible. I would say that I would have never thought that I would be afforded the opportunity to graduate from a four-year college in two years because I received an associate’s degree in high school.”
But that’s exactly what Sorrells did.
His mother, who along with his father, are graduates of Sam Houston State University, enrolled him in a college prep middle school. While there, his parents had a friend who had enrolled their friend in an early college program during high school.
“All my mother focused on at the time was that it was free,” he said. “And you had the potential to graduate with your associate’s degree. So, the first thing I knew after middle school was that I had to apply.”
He got accepted into two of the early college programs and enrolled at Trinidad Garza Early College High School. Sorrells dove into his high school studies, as well as his college courses, earning 12 college credit hours in his freshman year, 15 hours his sophomore and junior years, and 18 hours his senior year, earning an associate’s degree along with his high school diploma.
It wasn’t much of a question of where he was going to attend college. A fifth-grade visit to Morehouse stuck with him. So, when his senior year of high school came around, Sorrells knew that he wanted to eventually be a Morehouse Man.
There was also the Morehouse College Moot Court program, an acclaimed program that in 2015 became the first historically black college or university to win the National Moot Court Competition. Sorrells, who had competed in moot court and debate in high school, wanted to be part of the team.
That happened his freshman year, as well as this past year.
“Moot Court and Morehouse teaches you the wrongs of the world, but it will also show you the purpose that you are supposed to have to correct those wrongs,” Sorrells said. “That is racial discrimination or bias when we make laws.
Morehouse, in general, teaches you what the real world thinks about who you are as an African American, as a black man, who is supposed to assimilate into the world and prove those biases, those statistics, that discrimination, wrong.”
Sorrells also found time to be a Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Assistant, a Student Ambassador, a Martin Luther King Scholar and serve as a student justice for the Morehouse College Student Government Association.
Now he is ready to go to law school, and at the same time earn a master’s degree in divinity. That dual role is typical of Sorrells.
“The thing that I’ll miss most about Morehouse is feeling that there is always something you can reach that you may not think you can reach,” he said. “My time here was small in quantity, but my experience has been large in quality.”
Morehouse Journey Inspires Scholar To Serve, Lead
After Georgia native Donavan White graduates magna cum laude from Morehouse College Sunday, he says he will be well-prepared for the future that lies ahead. The 22-year-old feels academically ready to excel at graduate school at Stanford University, a world away from the protective boundaries of an HBCU campus.
He is excited about the prospect of mentoring and helping others. And White attributes all of his preparedness to Morehouse.
“Morehouse gives you pride,” said White, who will receive a degree in applied physics. “We’re proud to be here in this space, to have an institution like this. You become proud of yourself and what you’re able to do. “
Although White grew up just a short drive away from Morehouse, near Six Flags Over Georgia, he never visited the campus until a mentor recommended it to him late in his senior year.
“I went to high school at Kennesaw Mountain High School in northern Cobb County, a predominantly white, magnet school specializing in math and science,” White says. “They pushed Georgia Tech, but as I was going school, I realized I wanted to go to an HBCU. That’s when I got introduced to Morehouse.
“So, I applied to Howard and Morehouse, Morehouse gave me the scholarship to go here, and it was the best decision I ever made.”
Staying so close to home for undergraduate school is a big reason why White decided to test his wings and go to graduate school all the way across the country at Stanford University, near San Francisco. “I got into the same program at Georgia Tech (in Atlanta), but I’ve lived in Georgia my whole life and I felt like I needed a change of scenery,” he says. “I love Atlanta, and I’ll be back here to start a family and settle down. I just want to see more of the world.”
At Stanford, White will take courses to earn a master’s degree in civil engineering. He plans to own his own construction company someday and the Stanford program, which includes project management and business classes, will give him the tools he needs to do that successfully, he believes.
White has been nothing but accomplished during his years at Morehouse. He served as a Presidential Ambassador for the College and earned memberships in Beta Kappa Chi national scientific honor society, the Society of Physics Students, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
It was a mentor who is now an Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brother, in fact, who has guided White since he was sixth grade. Marquez Jones met White when Jones was coaching a step team, and took the young man under his wing.
“He kept me out of trouble in my neighborhood, and told me the importance of getting my education. He pushed me to study for the tests to get into the magnet school, and paved the way for me to get here,” White explains. “When I had trouble coping or fitting in, I would talk to him. He helped me become part of the fraternity, and I can’t think of a time he wasn’t there in my corner.
“On top of that not, having my father around as much, he was able to play that role as somebody to look up to and I could trust.”
White also credits his mother, who mostly raised White and his two siblings, for her part in helping him get his college degree. “She held it down no matter what, and I’m eternally grateful for her.”
After school, White plans to also make an impact at Stanford. And as a Morehouse Man, he’ll be looking for ways to help others.
“All that matters to me is that I take what I’ve learned and help somebody else. That’s the legacy I want to pass down. Everything you learn in this world—make it so that somebody else doesn’t have to struggle in some aspect. Pay that forward.”
Scholar Soars With Pride And A Network Of Brothers
Juan J. Clark lost his father as a child and grew up yearning to fully understand his purpose and identity as a black man in America.
When he began to contemplate college, he wasn’t sure he wanted to go to an HBCU—not because HBCUs weren’t exemplary but because of Clark’s family history. His brother went to Morehouse, and all four of his grandparents and his parents graduated from HBCUs. So, Clark seriously considered doing something different.
He developed a shortlist of schools that included the University of Georgia, Georgia State, and the University of Alabama. But Clark had grown up in a primarily white neighborhood in Peachtree City, Ga., facing prejudice, stereotypes, and judgmental glares at times.
He felt the need to be strengthened as an educated black man. And where better to do that than Morehouse College, he says.
“My father passed when I was around 10 years old, too, so I also grew up with no heavy male presence in my life,” Clark, president of the senior class, adds. “I didn’t understand my identity as a black man.”
Now the graduating senior, a third-generation HBCU student, is part of a brotherhood that he’ll be connected to for life. In fact, a strong brotherhood, Clark believes, is what sets Morehouse apart from other institutions of higher learning.
It is at Morehouse where Clark developed his confidence as a black man. He was elected president of the senior class. On May 19, Clark will graduate cum laude with a degree in biology.
“When I came to Morehouse, I experienced unconditional brotherhood,” he says. “Here, I’m a brother with someone who is from L.A., someone who listens to the same music, or someone who is a different major. At Morehouse, you’re linked with people you wouldn’t commonly be with.”
That brotherhood supported Clark through his college years, as he tackled a challenging biology major, served as commander of New Student Orientation, and directed the college’s renowned, student-led orientation show, “Welcome to the House”—twice.
“This place allowed me to transcend the perception that was my identity,” Clark explains, thoughtfully. “It allowed me to branch out into all different aspects of what I wanted to do. It taught me not let anything define me.
“So though I’m a biology major, I didn’t confine myself to academics. I’ve done community service, poetry slams, and pageants, and had numerous leadership roles.”
Even Clark’s fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, encouraged him to be multifaceted. “One of the main reasons I picked Kappa is their motto: ‘achievement in every field of human endeavor,’” Clark notes. “One of my brothers was a biology major, and another one was directing ‘Welcome to the House.’ They were scholars, presidents of organizations, and community service leaders… and they also lived socially fulfilled lives.
“Any aspect of myself I needed to enrich, I was able to find someone to help me.”
Clark expects to have the support of Morehouse alumni when he moves to Morristown, N.J., soon to start a job with Atlantic Health Systems Inc. in health care administration. The son of a primary care physician, Dr. Jelunder Clark, M.D., he plans to focus on the clinical aspects of psychiatry and then study psychiatry in medical school.
His ultimate aspiration is to own a hospital system.
“Last summer, I worked with kids at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Program in Los Angeles, and that opened my eyes to adolescent psychiatry,” explains Clark. “Psychiatry is an under-appreciated field of medicine because mental health is so serious, but within the black community there are stigmas and misconceptions about psychiatry that prevent people from seeking help. I want to be a bridge and educate others about mental health issues in the black community.”
He also plans to mentor others. “It takes nothing for a lit candle to light another candle,” he says. “I’ve had a lot of people mentor me and aid in my growth and development, and I want to give that back.”
Scholar To Follow Morehouse Legacy In Film And Entertainment
Joshua T. Reed took his passion for screenwriting to the next level at Morehouse College, where he made lifelong friendships and connections that could open doors to him in Hollywood someday.
On May 19, he will graduate magna cum laude with Phi Beta Kappa honors and other accolades, including: a Certificate of Academic Excellence as the Highest-Ranking Senior in Cinema, Television & Emerging Media Studies; a Certificate of Achievement for Completing the UNCF/MMUF Undergraduate Fellowship Program; and recognition by the Senior Class as “Most Likely To Win A Distinguished Award” and “Artist of the Year.”
In early spring 2018, the aspiring filmmaker was looking for an internship and not having much luck. The only possibility for a summer job was in Burbank, Calif., but housing and flights weren’t covered.
Reed thought, “Might as well ask Spike Lee.”
Reed, then a junior at Morehouse, was participating in a domestic exchange program at NYU, where Lee, class of ’79, had earned his graduate degree and was serving as a tenured professor. “I went to NYU because I knew Spike Lee had gone there, and it was still close to my family in Alexandria, Virginia,” he recalls.
“So I was at NYU taking courses and a couple weeks in, I ran into Spike Lee talking to the head of the film program. I introduced myself and he said, ‘What are you doing Thursday at two?’”
Reed began sitting in on Lee’s graduate-level classes. He asked the award-winning filmmaker for a job in New York instead. “I had this whole speech planned out, but he cut me off and said, ‘Send me your resume and cover letter.’”
Two weeks later, Lee’s company contacted Reed and offered the enterprising man of Morehouse a summer production assistant’s job working on season two of Lee’s Netflix original series “She’s Gotta Have It.”
“I ended up running a lot of things for people in different departments on set,” Reed says. “He [Spike Lee] was on set every day.”
After graduating from Morehouse and resting this summer from creating senior capstone projects, Reed will return to NYU to study filmmaking in graduate school. “I ultimately want to write and direct, but I think I might put more emphasis on directing,” he says. “I’ve been writing scripts since sixth grade but I’d like to try directing more.
“Nothing has been picked up, but now there’s the Morehouse connection…”
Though many people were helpful to Reed at Morehouse, one particular professor was critical to his success: Dr. Alison Ligon, his freshman year Honors English professor. “She was one of the first professors I had and worked to ensure that all her students approached literary texts with a crucial lens,” Reed says. “That course primed and prepared me for the rest of my time at Morehouse College."
The whole Morehouse experience may not have happened without the influence of Reed’s father, DeWayne Reed ’84. The Morehouse Man encouraged his son to visit his alma mater in the summer of 2014 for the weeklong Coca-Cola Leadership Program.
Reed considers the Morehouse brotherhood, including connections with accomplished alumni such as Spike Lee, one of the best things about the college. “The ultimate value of a school is the people you meet and connections you make for a lifetime,” he explains. “I know I’ll be working with many (Morehouse Men) in the future. We all talk like, ‘I can’t wait to help you.’
“The Morehouse name and the Morehouse Mystique—that’s cool, but it’s really the people you people you meet.”
Morehouse’s collegial environment was something else that Reed also enjoyed. “It’s not really a competitive environment like other places,” he explains. “Everyone here recognizes the common goal of the institution, and everyone recognizes that there is a friendly competition among peers, but it’s not rooted in malice.”