Saturday, March 6, 2021

Morehouse Pres. David Thomas Explains How MLK Jr. Sparked His Interest in Morehouse in the 60s

David A Thomas (Morehouse)
David A. Thomas (Photo: Morehouse)

*Morehouse College President, David Thomas joined SiriusXM Business Radio host Alan Fleischmann of ‘Leadership Matters’ to talk about his dreams for Morehouse in 2021, the far-reaching impact of investor Robert Smith’s gift to the Morehouse Class of 2019, and explained how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sparked his interest in Morehouse, back in the 1960s.

Morehouse College President, David Thomas, Explains How Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sparked His Interest In Morehouse, Back In The 1960s

I actually remember Martin Luther King Jr. coming and speaking at the municipal auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. It probably would have been around 1964 and my parents were taking me and my brothers after church down to where he was speaking, and I remember being mesmerized. From that moment on, read everything I could about Dr. Martin Luther King and that’s how I decided I was going to go to Morehouse. He had gone to Morehouse and I didn’t know anybody who had gone to college so I decided I would go to Morehouse…Morehouse did not give me a scholarship. I went to a school that most of the world had heard of, but very few people in my community had, and that was Yale. And they gave me a full ride. Hard to say no to that. And the reality was in 1974, Yale needed people who looked like me and Morehouse had an abundance of them.

Morehouse College President, David Thomas, Talks About The Far-Reaching Impact Of Investor Robert Smith’s Gift To The Morehouse Class Of 2019

“Robert Smith’s gift, I think, not COVID is what marked the pivot moment for how people began to reconsider what they understood about the value of historically black colleges and universities. Because no moment that spoke to the excellence of HBCUs and their value had happened in 50 years that had that kind of global and national projection….And since Robert’s gift, there’ve been more eight figure gifts to historically black colleges than in the entire existence of historically black colleges, even when you control for inflation..More equivalent eight figure gifts since Robert gave his gift than in the entire 150 plus year history of HBCUs.’’

Morehouse College President, David Thomas, Outlines His Dreams For What 2021 Will Bring Morehouse

“My dreams for 2021 are really captured underneath four things that we’ve said for the college. Realizing our excellence. It starts with graduating every man of Morehouse, developing the resources and the supports to make that happen, and with attracting and developing the best faculty we can. Developing partnerships of purpose, which really speaks to recognizing that we can’t do everything by ourselves, that our students need, and that the world needs from us, but if we can develop partnerships with individuals like Robert, institutions, foundations, where we partner around a shared set of values, we can leverage the resources of Morehouse and have a huge impact in the world…I think we’ve got to become much more intentional about “Morehouse Beyond Borders,” creating ways for people to experience it’s Morehouse who can’t come to this 66-acre campus. Making the world aware of the research we do here that speaks to some of the most important and challenging issues facing our time. These issues of racial equity, what’s happening to young men of color, global peace, our Martin Luther King International Chapel led by the Reverend Dean and professor Lawrence Carter is one of the central places where conversations about global peace are happening. People know him, but they don’t know him as Morehouse. We haven’t done a good job of projecting that. And then finally elevating the mission by transforming our physical campus and engaging in a capital campaign that at a minimum we’ll have to raise $500 million over the course of the next six to seven years to move us in the direction that we need to be in, which is in my view, best symbolized by at the undergraduate level, Morehouse becomes need-blind. So any student who we admit like a David Thomas, their need will be met commensurate with what their families can afford.”

source: SiriusXM Business Radio’s: Leadership Matters. The full interview can be heard Tuesday, January 19 at 6pm ET on SiriusXM Business Radio channel 132, On Demand (with replays throughout the weekend).

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