Although times change, Morehouse’s mission remains steadfast: to produce academically superior, morally conscious leaders for the conditions and issues of today, whether “today” is post-Civil War or turn of the new millennium.
Martin Luther King Jr. led the country through one of its most transforming civic movements; David Satcher resuscitated the issues of health care disparity and access; Maynard Jackson taught the world the value of diversity and equal access as the first African American mayor of Atlanta; Donn Clendenon scored in the history annals and was part of a miracle when he was named a World Series MVP; and Shelton “Spike” Lee continues to challenge how the world views blacks in life with critically acclaimed films.
All helped change the world. All are Morehouse Men.
With the right resources, politicking or posturing, anyone can be a leader. Right?
Wrong. At Morehouse, they are redefining the meaning of leadership. It’s not about attaining the highest title or position, but about attaining skills such as compassion, civility, integrity and even listening. Morehouse is poised to become the epicenter of ethical leadership as they continue to develop leaders who are spiritually disciplined, intellectually astute and morally wise.
And leadership first begins at home. Nearly three-fourths of their students volunteer within the community. This volunteerism connects them to their communities and helps them see that, as individuals and as a squadron of educated black men, they can make a difference.
Many Morehouse students also travel or study abroad, awakening them to the complexities of a global community. In today’s age, ethical leaders must have an appreciation of different perspectives and customs, and must also be prepared to negotiate the discordant views that are converging from the four corners of the globe.
Morehouse is committed to training the leaders who will change their communities, the nation and the world.
There is a world of professions and universities to choose from, and today, black men have access to them all. But many of the best and brightest choose Morehouse.
Most people—even the students themselves—are awestruck by the sight of so many talented, studious and highly motivated young black men seeking knowledge and fulfillment. New Student Orientation, when hundreds of fresh-faced freshmen march into King Chapel for the first time, is just as moving as Commencement, when they emerge, queued in a line 500-members strong, as well-trained scholars and leaders. Nowhere else in America, or the world, does this happen. Morehouse has traditionally graduated more black men than other school, anywhere.
So, why do black men still choose Morehouse? No doubt, it is the excellent liberal arts education and an environment that is conducive to academic, social and spiritual growth. But there are many great schools out there, so there must be something more?
They call that something the “Morehouse Mystique.” The phrase is not easily defined or understood, but it’s also not just a clever slogan. The Mystique is joining a brotherhood like none other. And after being ignored, stereotyped or marginalized, it’s about finally finding that “home” that, deep inside, you always knew existed, where you are the heart, soul and hope of the community. And where you are not alone.
This is what makes Morehouse unique. No other institution in the world can match the Morehouse experience. Other colleges and universities may call, but African American men continue to choose the ‘House.
Since the founding of Morehouse College in 1867, the faculty, staff, and leadership have worked to inspire, engage, challenge, support, and mentor its students with the expressed intent of fomenting their intellectual and character development. How they have articulated success in that endeavor has evolved over time. President John Hope (1906-1931), perhaps the first to be called “a maker of men,” insisted that “a Morehouse Man cannot fail.” He argued that Morehouse Men should be prepared for “the work of their generation” and must “defy anything less [than] … fairness and real brotherhood.”
President Benjamin Mays’s (1940-1967) 14 points promoted students being “radical thinkers, proud, confident and impactful; attendant to social justice needs and the needs of their fellow students; in control, humble and respected; [and] striving for the best.” And President Hugh Gloster ‘31 (1967-1986) added that Morehouse Men should “learn as much about American Negro literature and history and the race problem and race relations” as possible.
More recently, during President Walter Massey’s tenure (1995-2007), the seven pillars—academic excellence, respect, integrity, awareness, truth, compassion, and spirituality—were introduced to capture the values students must seek to cultivate in themselves. President Robert Franklin (2007-2012) described a Renaissance man who exhibited five wells: well-read, well-traveled, well-spoken, well-dressed, and well-balanced. And President Wilson (2013- ) has said that “a Morehouse Man is one who moves through the world with obvious competence and confidence, able at once to compete and work in the world that is, and yet imagine and work for the world that must yet be.”
They have combined and integrated these definitions to provide a new characterization of the Morehouse Man, one which speaks to their unique mission and tries to capture the enduring values from all 150 years of their history. In particular, they seek to produce men of acuity, integrity and agency; men who commit to brotherhood; and men who strive to lead consequential lives.
Equally important, these values not only define the Morehouse Man and exemplify their history, but they also guide their embrace of students and reflect their unique character as an institution.See more