Clark Atlanta University

Clark Atlanta University
Clark Atlanta University

Clark Atlanta University Seal
Motto "I’ll Find a Way or Make One" (Atlanta University); "Culture for Service" (Clark College) [1]
Established July 1, 1988 (1988-07-01)
Atlanta University (1865)
Clark College (1869)
Type Private, HBCU [2]
Religious affiliation United Methodist Church
Endowment $44.2 million [3]
President Carlton E. Brown
Undergraduates 3,300
Postgraduates 700
Location Atlanta, Georgia,
United States
Campus Urban, 126 acres (0.5 km2)
Colors Red, Black, and Gray [4]
Athletics NCAA Division II [4]
Nickname Black Panther [4]
Affiliations SIAC [4]

Clark Atlanta University is a private, historically black university in Atlanta, 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).



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 University

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 College

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 firings

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]


CAU’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, Georgia.

Residential facilities

  • Holmes Hall
  • Pfeiffer Hall
  • Merner Hall
  • Bumstead Hall — vacant for renovations
  • Ware Hall
  • Beckwith Hall
  • New 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


Clark Atlanta, a four-year school, offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral professional degrees as well as certificate programs.

Schools and colleges

The university operates four colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, and Social Work.

National ranking

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

Program accreditation

Clark Atlanta University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research University – High Research Activity.


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 life

National fraternities and sororities

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 Media

WCLK (Jazz Radio Station)

CAU operates WCLK (91.9 FM)


Clark Atlanta University is affiliated with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Division II.

Notable alumni

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).

James Weldon Johnson AU, Class of 1894
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]
Renee Blake Charter Communications executive
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]
Wayman Carver composer; first person to use extensive use of the flute in jazz
Amanda Davis news anchor at WAGA (Fox5) in Atlanta, Georgia [15]
Pearl Cleage author [16]
DJ Drama music producer
Henry O. Flipper First black graduate of West Point [17]
C. Hartley Grattan 1923 economist, historian [18]
James A. Hefner 1962 economist and president of Devante University
Fletcher Henderson 1920 pianist, band leader and composer [19]
New Jack professional wrestler
Alexander Jefferson 1942 Retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and a member of the Tuskegee Airmen [20]
Robert R. Jennings president of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University
Henry C. "Hank" Johnson 1976 U.S. Congressman, Georgia 4th District [21][22]
James Weldon Johnson 1904 writer [16][23]
Otis Johnson 1969 Mayor of Savannah, Georgia [24]
C. LeFoy Grant 1999 television editor and producer; founder of HBCU Unit Network [25][26]
Reatha Clark King scientist, philanthropist, and educator, and former president and executive director of General Mills Foundation [16]
Kenny Leon actor and former artistic director of Atlanta's Alliance Theatre [16]
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 [27]
Martha S. Lewis government official in New York City and state [28]
Rozlyn Linder educator, author
Evelyn G. Lowery American civil rights activist and leader; marched in the historic Selma to Montgomery March
Mason "Mase" Durrell Bethea rapper
Jody Mayfield composer, jazz musician
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. [29]
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 [16]
Michelle Y Madison music executive [16]
Bobby Wilson 2004 singer better known by his stage name Bobby V [30]
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 [16]
Lisa Washington 1998 News anchor of WHNT TV, Huntsville, Alabama [31]
Walter Francis White 1916 NAACP leader [32]
Hosea Williams civil rights activist [33]
Madaline A. Williams first black woman elected to the New Jersey state legislature [34]
Louis Tompkins Wright first black surgeon to head the Department of Surgery at Harlem Hospital in New York City, New York [16]
Richard R. Wright 1876 First black Paymaster in the U.S. Army and first president of Savannah State University [35]
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 faculty

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 [36]
Virginia Lacy Jones one of the first African-Americans to earn their 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

Further reading and information

See also


  1. ^ a b "Clark Atlanta University". Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  2. ^ "List of HBCUs -- White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities". 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  3. ^ "Clark Atlanta University". Best Colleges 2010. U.S. News & World Report, L.P.. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Men's Basketball Facts". Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  5. ^ a b c "When tenure means nothing". Inside Higher Ed. 2010-01-14. 
  6. ^ Anderson, Michelle D. (2008-02-22). "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 (2004-04-27). "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. ^ "Amanda Davis". Fox Television Stations, Inc. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h Clowney, Earle D. (2004-08-24). "Clark Atlanta University". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens, GA: Georgia Humanities Council. OCLC 54400935. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  17. ^ "Second Lieutenant Hennry O. Flipper: First Black Graduate of West Point". U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  18. ^ "In Memorium - C. Hartley Grattan". University of Texas. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  19. ^ Hill, Ian (2005-12-20). "Fletcher Henderson (1897–1952)". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens, GA: Georgia Humanities Council. OCLC 54400935. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  20. ^ "Alexander Jefferson Biography". Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Hank Johnson". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  22. ^ "Congressman Hank Johnson Georgia's Fourth Congressional District". Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  23. ^ "James Weldon Johnson". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  24. ^ "Biography - Who is Dr. Otis S. Johnson?". Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  25. ^ "Grant wins award for TV documentary". NNDB. NABJ. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  26. ^ "Yahoo Biz article". Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  27. ^ "Emmanuel Lewis". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  28. ^ Lewis, Martha S., Obituary, Albany Times Union, found by searching Obituary web site. Accessed April 15, 2008.
  29. ^ "Pernessa C. Seele".,9171,1187389,00.html. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Bobby Valentino". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  31. ^ "Lisa Washington". 
  32. ^ "Walter White". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  33. ^ Clark Atlanta University from the New Georgia Encyclopedia Online (2006-03-24). Retrieved on 2008-02-22.
  34. ^ "Mrs. Madaline A. Williams Dies". The New York Times: p. 86. 1968-12-15. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  35. ^ "New Georgia Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  36. ^ Derrick P. Alridge: W. E. B. Du Bois in Georgia from the New Georgia Encyclopedia Online (2010-01-08). Retrieved on 2011-07-21.

External links

Coordinates: 33°45′3″N 84°24′37″W / 33.75083°N 84.41028°W / 33.75083; -84.41028

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