Our History

For over 150 years,

Morehouse College has been producing extraordinary leaders, visionaries and pillars of the community. Since our humble beginnings in a church basement in 1867, we’ve established a legacy of excellence that continues to strengthen with each passing year. Famous graduates like Martin Luther King Jr and Spike Lee are joined by five Rhodes scholars as well as congressmen, business titans, college presidents, and many more who proudly represent the Morehouse ideals. Explore our interactive timeline to discover the Morehouse story.

1867

Augusta Institute founded on Feb. 14 at Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., by the Rev. William Jefferson White, with the Rev. Richard C. Coulter and the Rev. Edmund Turney.

1879

Institute moves to Atlanta’s Friendship Baptist Church. Becomes Atlanta Baptist Seminary.

1889

Graves Hall constructed.

1897

School changes its name to Atlanta Baptist College.

1913

Atlanta Baptist College changes name to Morehouse College to honor Henry Lyman Morehouse, corresponding secretary of American Baptist Home Mission.

1917

Morehouse College celebrates Semicentennial.
“History of Morehouse College” by Benjamin Brawley (Class of 1901) is published.

1929

The Atlanta University Affiliation is established with Morehouse, Spelman College, and Atlanta University. Later called the Atlanta University Center consortium (AUC).

1929 - 1933

Morehouse College admits women. Thirty-three eventually become full graduates.

1948

Martin Luther King Jr. graduates from Morehouse.

1957

Morehouse College receives full accreditation from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

1967

Morehouse College celebrates its Centennial.

1968

Phi Beta Kappa chapter established.

1975

Founding of the School of Medicine.

1976

Edwin Moses ’78 wins gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles at Montreal Summer Olympics.

1978 - 1979

Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel dedicated in 1978. Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter Sr. begins work in 1979 as founding Chapel dean.

1989

Dr. Louis W. Sullivan ‘54 named Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

1994

Nima Warfield ’94 is first Rhodes Scholar from an HBCU.

1995

Forbes Arena, a 5,700-seat gymnasium is erected and used as basketball venue for 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.

2005

State-of-the-art Leadership Center opens. Later named for Dr. Walter E. Massey ’58.

2006

Morehouse completes its most ambitious capital campaign, raising $118 million.

2007

Journalist Ron Thomas launches Morehouse College Journalism and Sports Program. Funds include $1 million from Spike Lee ’79 and $1 million from Charles Barkley in 2015.

2010

Opening of $20-million Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building.

2012

Cinema, Technology & Emerging Media Studies Program established, for the intellectual and artistic study of film and television.

2013

U.S. President Barack Obama gives Commencement address.

2015

Spike Lee ‘79 awarded honorary Oscar for film direction, including Oscar-nominated “Do the Right Thing.”

2016

For the first time in College history, Morehouse has three valedictorians: Liam Davis, Ian Niemeyer and Willie Thompson.

2017

Morehouse celebrates Sesquicentennial.

2017

Dr. David A. Thomas appointed as the 12th President of Morehouse College, ushering in a new era of leadership for the 150-year-old historically black institution.

2018

Franck Nijimbere became Morehouse’s fifth Rhodes Scholar.

2019

In collaboration with the other institutions within the Atlanta University Center Consortium and UnitedHealth Group, Morehouse announced the AUCC Data Sciences Initiative to help pave the way for students to enter these career paths. The Office of Institutional Advancement raised more than $107 million in a record-breaking fiscal year. This included philanthropist Robert F. Smith paying off the student loans of the Class of 2019. Additionally, Oprah Winfrey made a $13 million donation and philanthropists Patty Quillin and Reed Hastings donated $40 million.

2020

In the face of the global pandemic, the College moved to an entirely virtual learning environment while maintaining operations and its long-range planning. In preparation for the incoming Fall 2020 class, Morehouse partnered with Microsoft and UPS Foundation to provide computers to each member of that class. In October, the Board of Trustees ratified the College's next five-year strategic plan which will go into implementation in early calendar 2021.

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