Morehouse College Announces Memorial Service for Interim President William J. “Bill” Taggart

Date Released: June 12, 2017

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Media Contacts: D. Aileen Dodd, Morehouse College
Public and Media Relations Manager
470-639-0734 (direct)
404-735-6736 (cell)
Michele Mendelson
646-747-7163 (direct)

ATLANTA – June 12, 2017 – Memorial services to honor the memory of Morehouse College Interim President William J. "Bill" Taggart will be held on Friday, June 16, at the College's Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel.

The services will begin at 10 a.m. with a private Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity ritual. A public memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Following the funeral services, a repast will be held for family and friends. 

Memorial Services: Friday, June 16, 2017
Morehouse College - 830 Westview Drive SW, Atlanta, GA 30314

10:00 AM  - Chapter Invisible Ritual Ceremony - PRIVATE
(Members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity only)
Shirley A. Massey Executive Conference Center (Bank of America Auditorium) 

11:00 AM - Homegoing Memorial Service
Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel

Interim President Taggart passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, June 8 at his home in Atlanta. The Morehouse College community mourns his passing.

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Bill Taggart, a beloved colleague, father, and friend whom I’ve known for many years,” said Willie Woods, '85, Chairman of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees. “For the past two years, Bill devoted himself wholeheartedly to Morehouse College, and we were pleased when he assumed the role of Interim President. We are eternally grateful for his loyal support, counsel, and the leadership he provided to students, faculty, and alumni.”

Interim President Taggart had an outstanding business career and held numerous leadership positions as a business executive in Atlanta. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Howard University and received his Master of Business Administration Degree from Harvard Business School. He also held an honorary doctorate in business from Morris Brown College.

An Atlanta native, Interim President Taggart was appointed to lead Morehouse College on April 7, 2017. He brought more than 30 years of professional experience to the role. Prior to that, Interim President Taggart served as the College's Chief Operating Officer since 2015.

Outside of Morehouse College, Interim President Taggart was actively involved in various business and civic organizations. He served as CEO of Atlanta Life Financial Group and was a key member of 100 Black Men of America, as well as the Rotary Club of Atlanta.

During his time at Atlanta Life Financial Group, Interim President Taggart was formally appointed by Secretary Arne Duncan to be the Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid during President Barack Obama’s first term.  Federal Student Aid, or FSA, employs approximately 13,000 staff members and contractors, and distributes $125 billion in aid to students attending college. Additionally, FSA oversees 6,000 colleges and schools of higher education, and manages a student loan portfolio of more than $1 trillion.

Along with his critical business experience and extensive record of success, Interim President Taggart brought his never-ending optimism to FSA’s administration and his monumental vision on how to better serve millions of students to improve their lives through college access. He also significantly improved FSA’s processes and delivered some of the most transformational projects in the history of the U.S. higher education programs. Interim President Taggart presided over and effected the transition to the Direct Loan program, which improved benefits for students and families, and saved taxpayers an estimated $68 billion. He made many other important changes at FSA, including the nationally acclaimed improvements to the FAFSA process that is used by 20 million financial aid applicants each year.

Interim President Taggart also served as chairman of the Atlanta Business League, and was a board member of The Carter Center, Woodruff Arts Center, Westside Future Fund, Carver Bank, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He was recently named to the 2018 Class of Leadership Atlanta.

Interim President Taggart’s contributions within and outside of Morehouse College are a reflection of his immense dedication and commitment to his community.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Morehouse College and designated for the William J. Taggart Scholarship Fund. 

Donations can be made online at or mailed to Morehouse College, Office of Institutional Advancement, c/o Gift Accounting, 830 Westview Drive, Atlanta, GA 30314. All checks should be made payable to Morehouse College.  Please indicate William J. Taggart Scholarship Fund on the memo line.

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Ranked America’s fifth “Most Entrepreneurial College” by Forbes Magazine in 2015, Morehouse College is the nation’s largest liberal arts college for men. Founded in 1867, the College enrolls approximately 2,100 students and historically has conferred more bachelor’s degrees on black men than any other institution in the world. Morehouse College is one of the two top producers of Rhodes Scholars among HBCUs. Prominent alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General; Shelton “Spike” Lee, American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta, Ga.; and Jeh Johnson, former Secretary of Homeland Security. 

Last Modified: June 15, 2017, 16:06 PM, by: Kara Walker

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