Morehouse College Celebrates 149th Founder’s Day Observance

Date Released: February 8, 2016

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Civil  Rights Icon John Lewis and Film Legend Richard Roundtree Among Those to be Honored

ATLANTA, GA.—February 5, 2016 — A powerful speech from one of the nation’s rising political stars, the honoring of a legendary civil rights leader and an iconic actor, and the continuance of a 105-year Morehouse College Glee Club tradition highlights the 149th celebration of educating and developing leaders during the annual Morehouse College Founder’s Day Observance, February 11-14.

“This is a very special time for Morehouse College as we celebrate our illustrious past, but also to come together and continue our quest towards our future of preeminence,” said President John Silvanus Wilson Jr.

Thursday, Feb. 11, CNN political analyst and former South Carolina state representative Bakari Sellers kicks off the celebration by delivering the annualConvocation Founder’s Day address at 10:45 a.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel.   Some of the graduates of the Morehouse Journalism and Sports Program will talk about their careers in media during the Crown Forum After Dark: Rising Stars in the Media at 6 p.m. in the Bank of America Auditorium.

Saturday, Feb. 13, six accomplished African American men from a variety of fields, including film icon Richard Roundtree and civil rights legend John Lewis, take the stage as they are this year’s 2016 Bennie and Candle Award honorees.  Candle Award recipients are honored for excellence in fields such as business, science, technology, law, education, government, military and athletics.  Bennie recipients are Morehouse graduates recognized in their areas of distinction.  This year’s honorees are:


  • Achievement – Rufus H. Rivers, managing partner, RLJ Equity Partners
  • Leadership – Joseph L. Press III, senior division sales manager, Ethicon US, LLC
  • Service – Robert E. Steele, former executive director, David Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora


  • Business and Law – Christopher P. Reynolds, managing officer, general counsel and chief legal officer, Toyota Motor Corporation
  • Lifetime Achievement in Arts and Entertainment – Richard Roundtree, Golden Globe-nominated and pioneering actor
  • Lifetime Achievement in Civil Rights and Public Service – John Lewis, U.S. Congressman, Georgia’s 5th District, civil rights icon

All six will talk about their successful lives and careers during Reflections of Excellence at 11 a.m. in the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center. That evening, they will be honored during the 28th Annual “A Candle in the Dark” Gala at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Sunday, Feb. 14, the Founder’s Worship Service will be held at Spelman College’s Sisters Chapel at 10:30 a.m.  The celebration culminates with the 105th Anniversary Reunion Concert by the world-renowned Morehouse College Glee Club at 4 p.m. in the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center.

For the complete 149th Annual Founder’s Day Observance schedule, go to


Morehouse College

Ranked number five as America’s 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 has produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other HBCU.  Prominent alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize laureate; Dr. David Satcher, a former U.S. Surgeon General; Sheldon “Spike” Lee, an American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta, Ga.; and Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Last Modified: November 16, 2016, 11:11 AM, by: Synera Shelton

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