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“Coat of the Mystique” Brings Freshmen Closer to Becoming Morehouse Men

Coat of the Mystique

Four hours after the Coat of the Mystique ceremony, in which the College’s freshman class received their coveted maroon blazers, Dondrae Dawes was still wearing his as he headed to class.

“I feel like I’m a part of Morehouse now,” said Dawes, a business administration major from Lithonia, Ga.  “It means I really am on my way to becoming a Morehouse Man.”

That’s exactly what the 550 freshmen were supposed to feel, said Alvin Darden ’72, dean of the Freshman Class.

“You will be wrapped in, as you journey, tangible items,” he said during the Jan. 28 ceremony in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel.  “One will be the blazer.  The blazer is one symbol of what a Morehouse Man looks like.”

But to fulfill the expectations of the Morehouse Man they are to be in four years, President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 told the freshmen that they must focus on belying the stereotypes of black men in America not graduating from school, not working or “dead men walking.”

“Not [dead men] in graves and coffins, but walking around like normal people,” he said.  “They don’t see each other.  They only see what they want to see.  They don’t know they are dead.  And I see these black men all the time.

“You are here to be Morehouse Men,” Wilson added.  “That’s certainly not like the men I just described and it’s not just like any other man.  It is a Morehouse Man.  And there’s something special about that.” 

William Bynum, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Services, told the students they could only wear the jackets during formal and official College functions; whenever they are representing the College internally or externally; and when they want to show their commitment to the president’s vision.

“It’s about we, the College and it is only to be worn during those occasions when you are representing us or the brotherhood,” he said.  “This is about the College as a whole.”

Henry Goodgame ’84, director of Alumni Relations, Special Events and Annual Giving, asked them all to stand.

“Gentlemen, if you would please don the jacket, put your maroon blazers on for the first time,” he said.  “So, class of 2016, you will forever be a class. Respect your class; respect yourselves; respect the ‘House.” 

With smiles and handshakes, the class of 2016 stood and proudly put on their jackets. 

That kind of pride was why Dawes still had his blazer on four hours later.

“Morehouse is a powerful name,” he said before walking into the Walter E. Massey Leadership Center.  “So this jacket feels powerful.  It feels good.”