Clark Atlanta University
Motto"I'll Find a Way or Make One" (Atlanta University); "Culture for Service" (Clark College)[1]
EstablishedJuly 1, 1988 (1988-07-01)
Atlanta University (1865)
Clark College (1869)
TypePrivate, HBCU[2]
Religious affiliationUnited Methodist Church
Endowment$44.2 million[3]
PresidentCarlton E. Brown
LocationAtlanta, Georgia,
United States
CampusUrban, 126 acres (0.5 km2)
ColorsRed, black, gray[4]
AthleticsNCAA Division II[4]
NicknameBlack Panther[4]

Clark Atlanta University is a private, historically black university in Atlanta, in the U.S. state of Georgia. It was formed in 1988 with the consolidation of Clark College (founded in 1869) and Atlanta University (founded in 1865). Clark Atlanta University is a member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

History Edit

CAU's history at a glance
1865 Atlanta University founded
1869 Clark College established in Atlanta's Summerhill section
1871 Clark College relocated to Whitehall and McDaniel Street property.
1877 Clark College chartered and renamed to Clark University
1880 Clark University conferred its first degree
1929 Atlanta University Center established
1988 Clark Atlanta University created

Clark Atlanta University was formed by the consolidation of Atlanta University, which offered only graduate degrees, and Clark College, a four-year undergraduate institution oriented to the liberal arts.

Atlanta UniversityEdit

File:Atlanta University exhibit - NARA - 559173.tif

Atlanta University, founded in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, with later assistance from the Freedmen's Bureau, was, before consolidation, the nation's oldest graduate institution serving a predominantly African-American student body. By the late 1870s, Atlanta College had begun granting bachelor's degrees and supplying black teachers and librarians to the public schools of the South. In 1929–30, it began offering graduate education exclusively in various liberal arts areas, and in the social and natural sciences. It gradually added professional programs in social work, library science, and business administration. At this same time, Atlanta University affiliated with Morehouse College and Spelman College in a university plan known as the Atlanta University Center.

The campus was moved to its present site, and the modern organization of the Atlanta University Center emerged, with Clark College, Morris Brown College, and the Interdenominational Theological Center joining the affiliation later. The story of the Atlanta University over the next twenty years from 1930 includes many significant developments. Graduate Schools of Library Science, Education, and Business Administration were established in 1941, 1944, and 1946, respectively. The Atlanta School of Social Work, long associated with the university, gave up its charter in 1947 to become an integral part of the university. In 1957, the controlling Boards of the six institutions (Atlanta University; Clark, Morehouse, Morris Brown and Spelman Colleges; and Gammon Theological Seminary) ratified new Articles of Affiliation. The new contract created the Atlanta University Center. The influence of Atlanta University has been extended through professional journals and organizations, including Phylon. Through Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois, a member of the faculty, the university was also associated with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Clark CollegeEdit

Clark College was founded in 1869 by the Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which later became the United Methodist Church. It was named for Bishop Davis Wasgatt Clark, who was the first President of the Freedman's Aid Society and became Bishop in 1864. A sparsely furnished room in Clark Chapel, a Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta's Summerhill section, housed the first Clark College class. In 1871, the school relocated to a new site on the newly purchased Whitehall and McDaniel Street property. In 1877, the School was chartered as Clark University.

An early benefactor, Bishop Gilbert Haven, visualized Clark as the "university" of all the Methodist schools founded for the education of freedmen. After the school had changed locations several times, Bishop Haven, who succeeded Bishop Clark, was instrumental in acquiring 450 acres (1.8 km2) in South Atlanta, where in 1880 the school conferred its first degree. (The university relocated in 1883.) Also in 1883, Clark established a theology department. Named for Dr. Elijah H. Gammon, the Gammon School of Theology in 1888 became an independent theological seminary. It is part of the Interdenominational Theological Center.

2009 faculty firingsEdit

In 2009, the university fired 55 members of the faculty (20 of whom had tenure) after declaring an "enrollment emergency."[5] The action earned the university a severe censure from the American Association of University Professors, which asserted that there was no "enrollment emergency" and decried the lack of faculty involvement in the process.[5] The AAUP investigation specifically cited that Clark Atlanta University did not provide dismissed faculty members with hearings before faculty peers, as required by both AAUP standards and university regulations, and for providing a "sorely deficient" one month of severance salary. The AAUP panel consisted of four individuals and included one professor at a historically black institution (Charles L. Betsey of Howard University) and one professor who according to Inside Higher Ed, "has written extensively and sympathetically about black colleges" (Marybeth Gasman of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education).[5]

Campus Edit

Clark Atlanta University's main campus houses 37 buildings on 126 acres (0.5 km2) and is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the center of Atlanta.

Residential facilitiesEdit

  • Holmes Hall
  • Pfeiffer Hall
  • Merner Hall
  • Bumstead Hall – vacant for renovations
  • Ware Hall
  • Beckwith Hall
  • Residential Apartments – now called "James P. Brawley Hall" when the original James P. Brawley Hall was demolished in 2007
  • Heritage Commons
  • CAU Suites East / West
  • Gammon Hall / ITC Center
  • Tichina hall


Clark Atlanta was ranked on The Washington Monthlys 2008 list of "Best Colleges and Universities" and the US News & World Reports list of historically black colleges and universities (No. 24 out of 34 best).[6]


Clark Atlanta has a Carnegie classification of "Research University – High Research Activity" and is one of only four Historically Black Colleges and Universities to earn such a distinction.[7] The university receives annual research grants of $ 17,570,778.[8]

Student lifeEdit

National fraternities and sororitiesEdit

All nine of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations currently have chapters at Clark Atlanta University. Other organizations currently registered on campus include Sigma Alpha Iota, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Tau Beta Sigma and Gamma Phi Delta.

Student mediaEdit


CAU operates WCLK (91.9 FM), a jazz radio station.

Athletics Edit

Clark Atlanta University, known athletically as the Panthers, are competing within the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Division II. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.

Notable alumniEdit

See also Clark Atlanta University alumni

This is a list of notable alumni which includes graduates, non-graduate former students, and current students of Atlanta University, Clark College, Clark University, and/or Clark Atlanta University. It does not include other notable persons who may have attended Clark Atlanta University as cross-registered students (credit as an alumnus is not given to Clark Atlanta University, which has spurred controversy over the school's cross-registration policies).

Name Class year Notability References
Ralph Abernathy 1951 Civil rights activist [9]
Marvin S. Arrington, Sr. 1963 Politician and jurist [10]
Bryan Barber 1996 Director of the 2006 film Idlewild [11]
Benjamin Brown Civil rights activist and Georgia State Representative (1966, 1969–77) [12]
Sir Edward Miles III 1998 Philanthropist [13]
Aki Collins 1997 Assistant coach with the Marquette Golden Eagles men's basketball team [14]
Marva Collins 1957 Educator; founder and director of the Westside Preparatory School in Chicago, Illinois [1]
Mary Frances Early 1957 First African-American graduate of the University of Georgia [15]
Wayman Carver Composer; first person to use extensive use of the flute in jazz
Amanda Davis News anchor at WAGA (Fox5) in Atlanta, Georgia [16]
Pearl Cleage Author [17]
DJ Drama Music producer
Henry O. Flipper First black graduate of West Point [18]
C. Hartley Grattan 1923 Economist, historian [19]
Grace Towns Hamilton 1927 First African American woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly [20]
James A. Hefner 1962 Economist
Fletcher Henderson 1920 Pianist, band leader and composer [21]
New Jack Professional wrestler
Alexander Jefferson 1942 Retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and a member of the Tuskegee Airmen [22]
Robert R. Jennings President of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University
Henry C. "Hank" Johnson 1976 U.S. Congressman, Georgia 4th District [23][24]
James Weldon Johnson 1904 Writer [17][25]
Otis Johnson 1969 Mayor of Savannah, Georgia [26]
C. LeFoy Grant 1999 Television editor and producer; founder of HBCU Unit Network [27][28]
Reatha Clark King Scientist, philanthropist, and educator, and former president and executive director of General Mills Foundation [17]
Kenny Leon Actor and former artistic director of Atlanta's Alliance Theatre [17]
Lucy Craft Laney Educator, opened the first school for black children in Augusta, Georgia in late 19th century
Curtis Johnson 2008 NFL linebacker
Walt Landers NFL player
Emmanuel Lewis 1997 Actor [29]
Martha S. Lewis Government official in New York City and state [30]
Evelyn G. Lowery American civil rights activist and leader; marched in the historic Selma to Montgomery March
Mason "Mase" Durrell Bethea Rapper
Harry Pace 1903 African-American recording pioneer, founder of Black Swan Records, Insurance executive [31]
Eva Pigford Model/actress; winner of America's Next Top Model Cycle 3
Nnegest Likke Movie director and screenwriter
Jacque Reid 1995 Journalist
Pernessa C. Seele Immunologist and the CEO and founder of Balm in Gilead, Inc. [32]
C. Lamont Smith Sports agent, the founder and president of All Pro Sports and Entertainment
Morris Stroud 1969 Former professional football player
Horace E. Tate Georgia state senator and educator who oversaw the merger of the black and white teachers' associations [17]
Michelle Y Madison Music executive [17]
Bobby Wilson 2004 Singer better known by his stage name Bobby V [33]
Phuthuma Nhleko CEO of the MTN Group
Jo Ann Robinson 1948 Civil rights activist
Horace T. Ward Judge and first black student to legally challenge segregation in higher education in the Deep South [17]
Lisa Washington 1998 News anchor of WHNT TV, Huntsville, Alabama [34]
Walter Francis White 1916 NAACP leader [35]
Hosea Williams Civil rights activist [36]
Madaline A. Williams First black woman elected to the New Jersey state legislature [37]
Louis Tompkins Wright First black surgeon to head the Department of Surgery at Harlem Hospital in New York City [17]
Richard R. Wright 1876 First black Paymaster in the U.S. Army and first president of Savannah State University [38]
Dorothy Yancy president of Johnson C. Smith University
Ella Gaines Yates First African-American director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System
Chaka Zulu Hip hop producer and manager

Notable facultyEdit

Name Department Notability Reference
Ariel Serena Hedges Bowen Music Professor
Carlton E. Brown Administration President Clark Atlanta University
W.E.B. DuBois Sociology Scholar, author, and civil rights activist [39]
Virginia Lacy Jones One of the first African-Americans to earn a PhD in the Library Sciences
J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr. Mathematician and nuclear scientist
Whitney M. Young Jr. Dean of Social Work, prior to becoming Executive Director of National Urban League
Whitman Mayo Drama Professor
Henry Ossawa Tanner The first African American painter to gain international acclaim. [40]
Mary Frances Early Music The first African American graduate of the University of Georgia [41]

Further reading and informationEdit

See also Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Clark Atlanta University". Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  2. "List of HBCUs – White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities". August 16, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  3. "Clark Atlanta University". Best Colleges 2010. U.S. News & World Report, L.P.. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Men's Basketball Facts". Retrieved 2008-01-25.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "When tenure means nothing". Inside Higher Ed. January 14, 2010.
  6. Anderson, Michelle D. (February 22, 2008). "What made Clark Atlanta University President retire?". Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  7. "2010 Annual Report". Clark Atlanta University. p. 3. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  8. "2010 Annual Report". Clark Atlanta University. p. 16. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  9. Kirkland, W. Michael (April 27, 2004). "Ralph Abernathy (1926–1990)". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens, GA: Georgia Humanities Council. OCLC 54400935. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
  10. The HistoryMakers
  11. Bryan Barber at the Internet Movie Database
  12. "Black Involvement in Politics: Benjamin Brown". Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  13. T. Murray (October 13, 2004). Confessions of CAU Grad. AUCAlumni. Accessed January 11, 2008.
  14. "Aki Collins". Marquette University Athletics. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  15. "Mary Frances Early". Fox Television Stations, Inc. Retrieved May 15, 2005.
  16. "Amanda Davis". Fox Television Stations, Inc. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 17.7 Clowney, Earle D. (August 24, 2004). "Clark Atlanta University". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens, GA: Georgia Humanities Council. OCLC 54400935. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  18. "Second Lieutenant Hennry O. Flipper: First Black Graduate of West Point". U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  19. "In Memorium – C. Hartley Grattan". University of Texas. Retrieved December 18, 2009.
  20. Graham, Lawrence Otis (1999). Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class. Harper Perennial. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-06-098438-0.
  21. Hill, Ian (December 20, 2005). "Fletcher Henderson (1897–1952)". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens, GA: Georgia Humanities Council. OCLC 54400935. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  22. "Alexander Jefferson Biography". Retrieved January 25, 2011.
  23. "Hank Johnson". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  24. "Congressman Hank Johnson Georgia's Fourth Congressional District". Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  25. "James Weldon Johnson". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  26. "Biography – Who is Dr. Otis S. Johnson?". Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  27. "Grant wins award for TV documentary". NNDB. NABJ. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  28. "Yahoo Biz article". Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  29. "Emmanuel Lewis". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  30. Lewis, Martha S., Obituary, Albany Times Union, found by searching Obituary web site. Accessed April 15, 2008.
  31. "Harry Pace". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2013-02-25.
  32. "Pernessa C. Seele".,9171,1187389,00.html. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
  33. "Bobby Valentino". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  34. "Lisa Washington".
  35. "Walter White". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  36. Template:New Georgia Encyclopedia
  37. "Mrs. Madaline A. Williams Dies". The New York Times: p. 86. December 15, 1968. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  38. "New Georgia Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2007-08-30.
  39. Template:New Georgia Encyclopedia
  40. "Henry Ossawa Tanner". Archived from the original on January 10, 2006. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
  41. "University of Georgia To Honor First Black Graduate".

External links Edit

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