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Morehouse Celebrates 145 Years of Leadership and Excellence

Nearly 40 students were eager to take classes at the Augusta Institute in 1867. The Rev. William Jefferson White, with help from former slave Richard Coulter and the Rev. Edmund Turney, had successfully orchestrated the beginning of a place of higher learning for blacks in Georgia.


One hundred and forty-five years later, the Institute, now known as Morehouse College, has grown from those humble beginnings to become one of the nation’s most renowned institutions with more than 16,000 graduates.


Morehouse is celebrating that distinguished history of leadership and excellence during the 2012 Founder’s Day Observance. From Feb. 5-12, a number of events will honor White’s work, including the Founder’s Day Convocation when educator Donald Hense ’70 speaks; the Founder’s Day Concert with Musiq Soulchild; and Reflections of Excellence, when the 2012 Bennie and Candle Award recipients participate in a question-and-answer session with students.


Other events include the 4th Annual Black Male Summit on Feb. 10, which features scholars and educational practitioners discussing the many issues facing black boys and men. Jim Shelton ’89, deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Dept. of Education, will speak at a luncheon before the Summit.


The Rev. Amos C. Brown ’64, senior pastor of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, will deliver the sermon at the annual Founder’s Day Worship Service. And the Morehouse College Glee Club will close out the week with their annual Spring Concert.


Henry Goodgame ’84, director of Alumni Relations, Annual Giving and Special Events, is chairman of the College’s Founder’s Day and Gala Steering Committee. He said the event highlights Morehouse’s efforts to follow in White’s footsteps.


“For 145 years, we have tried to do something very consistent, and that is be the number one producer of African American leadership in this nation,” Goodgame said. “To celebrate at this time and in this very special way, with one of our honorees being the president of the College, this really is a signal event for us. It shows that we are still truly committed to what the founders of the institution decided our purpose would be and that we are fulfilling that purpose.”


One of the grandest events of the week will be the College’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the 24th “A Candle in the Dark” Gala. Since 1989, the Gala has raised more than $9 million for the Morehouse College General Scholarship Fund.


During the Gala, President Robert M. Franklin ’75, who will be transitioning from his position in June, is one of five men who will be honored as Bennie and Candle Award recipients for their exemplary lives and careers.


Bennie recipients are Morehouse graduates who receive recognition in the categories of service, achievement and trailblazing. It is named in honor of the College’s sixth president, Benjamin E. Mays.


Candle recipients are honored for excellence in a variety of fields, such as the arts, athletics, business, education, entertainment, government, law and medicine.


Franklin will receive the Candle in Education, while philanthropist Earl Stafford Sr. will be presented the Candle in Humanitarian Service and Business. Bennie honorees are Howard University professor Herman Bostick ’49 (Leadership); former U.S. Congressman Earl Hilliard Sr. ’64 (Service) and cardiologist Calvin McLarin ’68 (Achievement).


For a complete list of 2012 Founder’s Day Observance events, http://www.morehouse.edu/events/2012/foundersweek/index.html.