A Student’s Guide to Morehouse College

For 157 years, Morehouse College has considered itself to be the light of the world by producing exceptional leaders, scholars and professionals. Since its creation in 1867, Morehouse College’s mission has been to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service. The legacy of Morehouse College continues to strengthen with each new year. 

The Morehouse Legacy

The college’s motto, “Et Facta Est Lux” – And there was light, is not an empty phrase used by its alumni and students, as the college has gone to produce men of consequence and distinction. These men include the likes of Martin Luther King’ 48, Edwin C Moses’ 78 Spike Lee’ 79 and Raphael Warnock’ 91 to name a few. 

Benjamin Elijah Mays, the sixth president of Morehouse College and spiritual mentor to MLK, famously said “Whatever you do, strive to do it so well that no man living and no man dead and no man yet to be born could do it any better.”

 Mays’ charge has challenged Morehouse students to grow tall enough to wear the crown that Mother Morehouse holds above them in hopes that one day they cross the bridge from a Man of Morehouse to Morehouse Man upon graduation. Mays is also known for creating the “Morehouse Mystique” which has immortalized the reputation and brand of what it means to be a Morehouse Man. 

Morehouse men are also expected to uphold the five wells, which are well traveled, well read, well dressed, well spoken and well balanced. 

Despite the college’s large legacy, it originated from humble beginnings. Founded by William Jefferson White in the basement of Springfield Baptist Church under the Augusta Institute. Since then, it was renamed the Atlanta Baptist Seminary in 1879, Atlanta Baptist College in 1897, and finally Morehouse College in 1913, in honor of Henry Lymon Morehouse. During Morehouse’s inception, there was a widespread influence of Black excellence surrounding the metro Atlanta area. In 1929, the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) was established. The AUCC serves as the epicenter for African American private institutions of higher education in Atlanta, Georgia. The AUCC initially was established to educate newly freed enslaved African Americans at the end of the Civil War through the Reconstruction era. Present day, the AUCC is home to about 10,000 students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in liberal arts and STEM. 

Atlanta University Center Consortium

Including Morehouse College, the schools that currently make up the AUCC are Spelman College founded in 1881, Morehouse School of Medicine founded in 1975, and Clark Atlanta University founded in 1988 (which is the consolidation of Clark College founded in 1869, and Atlanta University founded in 1865). 

The AUCC has been influential in the progression and success of Black graduates. A statistic from the National Science Foundation states that Morehouse and Spelman graduate more Black women and men, respectively, who go on to earn doctorate degrees in STEM fields than any other institution in the country. The AUCC is also credited for being one of the first places to successfully launch a Dual Degree Engineering Program which has successfully increased minority representation in the engineering industry.

With all of this shared success, Morehouse College has still been able to stand out amongst the other institutions in the AUCC throughout the last 100 years for its unique advancements. 

The Impact of Morehouse College Today

Morehouse College is credited as the first HBCU to produce an African American Rhode Scholar and has a total of four Rhode Scholar awardees. In addition, Morehouse has had Luce, Fulbright, Luards, and Marshall Scholars. The College is also one of the only colleges in Georgia to have a Phi Beta Kappa Chapter. The Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established in 1968 making Morehouse one of only four HBCUs to have a chapter. 

Morehouse College has also committed to enhancing its educational opportunities. Students have access to study-abroad opportunities, they can select to study in foreign universities of their choice in several European, Asian, or Latin American countries. 

The college has also launched an online bachelor’s degree program that allows many returning students to finish their education. Morehouse is also the first HBCU to offer a software engineering degree program. 

Notable Alumni and Leaders

With all of the college’s advancements, notable alumni and iconic brand, Morehouse has always been a special place where its students feel loved and acknowledged. Adebayo Abney Chief of Staff of the Morehouse College National Alumni Association ‘17, said his love for Morehouse increased after graduation, 

“Looking back, there is no other institution that serves Black male leadership or brings Black males together to have important conversations and relationships. It is the best place for us to come and grow together. Morehouse expanded my understanding of what it meant to be a Black male. Coming from Brooklyn, New York I thought I saw a lot of the world, and in some respects, I did, but I did not get to meet other types of Black males. Morehouse expanded my view of what [Black Men] are capable of,” Adebayo said. Morehouse College has always been special for its commitment to diversity. By attending Morehouse, students get the pleasure of meeting Black men from different states, countries, socioeconomic classes, sexualities, and majors. 

All of these diverse backgrounds contribute to the different levels of thought and consciousness that stimulate the campus. Morehouse is the only place other than jail where there is a large concentrated group of young Black men from all over the world. 

Javarro Edwards Morehouse College National Alumni President 92’ believes that this unique identity of Morehouse is truly invaluable.

“We all kinda are the same. We may have grown up in different neighborhoods or cities, but once we get to Morehouse we learn how to respect one another and bind together as Morehouse Brothers. It is important that Morehouse is still here so that we can traditionally continue that bond that will never die or crumble” Edwards said. 

By attending Morehouse College, a person is deciding to join the ranks of elite diverse African American talent, and to be a student at this institution comes with a certain level of responsibility. Kevin Booker Vice President for Student Services and Dean of the College, believes this responsibility is what defines the Morehouse Mystique, 

“When you graduate from Morehouse you understand that you have a responsibility to continue the pipeline of successful African American men that contribute to making the world a better place,” Booker said. 

Students at Morehouse College are driven to help the overall Black community by paying their accomplishments and successes forward to help those who will come behind them. Through this duty, students at Morehouse learn to become exceptional servant leaders. Booker reminisces on how Morehouse truly enabled him to become the servant leader and man that he is today,

 “I don’t know if I was as successful as I wanted to be but I think everything that happened to me while I was at Morehouse was necessary. I didn’t graduate with the GPA I desired, and I wasn’t the leader that I could’ve been, but I had so many wonderful experiences that allowed me to believe that I too could be great and it gave me confidence when I put on that Morehouse paraphernalia. I felt different, I felt special” Booker said.

 A graduating senior Steven Riley Jr. thanks Morehouse for forcing him to succeed,

 “ I give great credit to Morehouse for me being in the position I am today. From the curriculum, interactions with my peers, and being involved on campus, it put me in a space where I had no choice but to succeed.” Riley Jr. said. In my experience at Morehouse, I can agree that the college has made me become a better leader. Coming from Brooklyn, New York, I can admit I was conditioned to a specific type of lifestyle. Initially, Morehouse was a struggle for me, I had a lot of growing pains because I was uncomfortable with change, and I was scared of my own light. Morehouse allowed me to fully be present with my greatness and remember the leader that was always inside of me. 

The Student Experience

One of my most memorable experiences at Morehouse was when I participated in Get On the Bus which is a Morehouse outreach project where we go to underprivileged high schools and empower Black and Brown youth. I have participated in four Get on the Bus trips but my favorite would have to be when I went to my old middle school Excellence Boys Charter School located in Bed Stuy. When I came back to my old neighborhood I was perceived differently. There was a different energy to the way everyone looked and treated me. My community recognized me as a hero. I gave those young boys hope that one day they could make it out and do what I have done. This was a full-circle moment that affirmed that I am exactly where I need. 

Another Great experience I had was when I traveled on the 35th Morehouse annual Spring Tour which is a program geared to giving students exposure to companies abroad. During the trip, we visited Athens, Greece, Lisbon, Portugal, and Paris, France. This trip was the first time I had left the country, and after the conclusion of the trip, I was speechless. I learned so much about the world, business, brotherhood, and myself. I had grown in so many ways, I became a better brother to my classmates, I developed new world perspectives and I learned about global business. 

I also met the VPOTUS Kamala Harris, who told me the world needed me. 

All of these experiences have enhanced not only my leadership but my self-confidence. Morehouse took a kid from the projects of Brooklyn and gave him all the tools he needed to make the world his own. And for that, I am forever indebted to Morehouse. 

As commencement is soon upon us some seniors have reflected on the magnitude that Morehouse had on their lives. A graduating senior, Porter Alexander Tynes II shares a moment he will never forget, 

“At Morehouse, the ethos resonates deeply: ‘He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.’ This mantra instills a profound sense of humanity and brotherhood in every interaction for me. Viewing others through this lens elevated my leadership, shifting my focus from merely the number of followers to the impact of their growth” Tynes said. 

Without brotherhood and a commitment to excellence, Morehouse would not be the place it is today. It wouldn’t be regarded for its special nature as it is. The Morehouse experience is guided by our past but propelled by the curiosity of our future. To be Men of Morehouse is a prestigious honor and I am glad to say I am a part of this noble brotherhood.

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