Morgan State University

Morgan State University
Morgan State University
Motto "Gateway to opportunity. Stairway to excellence."
Established 1867
Type Public, HBCU
Chairman Dallas R. Evans
President Dr. David Wilson
Provost Dr. T. Joan Robinson
Academic staff 437
Admin. staff 1,556
Undergraduates 6,400
Postgraduates 1,027
Location Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Campus Urban, 143 acres (579,000 m²)
Colors Blue and Orange
Athletics NCAA Division I [1]
Nickname Bears
Mascot Bear
Affiliations MEAC [1]

Morgan State University, formerly Centenary Biblical Institute (1867–1890), Morgan College (1890–1939) and Morgan State College (1939–1975), is located in residential Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Morgan is a historically black college and Maryland's designated public urban university. It is the largest HBCU in the state of Maryland. As Maryland's "public urban university", Morgan is committed to providing opportunity of higher education to all persons regardless of socio-economic status. Though it is a public institution, Morgan is not a part of the University System of Maryland; the school opted out of becoming a part of the system and possesses its own governing Board of Regents.



Morgan was founded in 1867 as the Centenary Biblical Institute, a Methodist Episcopal seminary, to train young men in the ministry. At the time of his death, Thomas Kelso, co-founder and president of the board of directors, endowed the Male Free School and Colored Institute through a legacy of his estate.[2][3][4] It later broadened its mission to educate both men and women as teachers. The school was renamed Morgan College in 1890 in honor of the Reverend Lyttleton Morgan, the first chairman of its Board of Trustees, who donated land to the college.[5]

In 1915 Andrew Carnegie gave the school a grant of $50,000 for a central academic building. The terms of the grant included the purchase of a new site for the College, payment of all outstanding obligations, and the construction of a building to be named after him. The College met the conditions and moved to its present site in northeast Baltimore in 1917. Then a controversy exploded: in 1918, the white community of Lauraville was incensed that the Ivy Mill property, where Morgan was to be built, had been sold to a "negro" college. It attempted to have the sale revoked by filing suit in the circuit court in Towson, which dismissed the suit. They then appealed the case to the state Court of Appeals.[6] The appellate court upheld the lower court decision, finding no basis that siting the college at this location would constitute a public nuisance.[7] Despite some ugly threats and several demonstrations against the project, Morgan College was allowed to be constructed at the new site and later expand. Carnegie Hall, the oldest original building on the present MSU campus, was erected a year later.

Morgan remained a private institution until 1939. That year, the state of Maryland purchased the school in response to a state study that determined that Maryland needed to provide more opportunities for its black citizens. Morgan College became Morgan State College. In 1975, Morgan added several doctoral programs and its Board of Directors petitioned the Maryland Legislature to be granted University status.


New student union building

The school has undergone numerous renovations, including building a new communications building, a new student union, a new parking garage, and a new library. The Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center has also become a much used venue for plays and concerts that come to Baltimore, as well the home of a museum of African-American art.


Morgan awards Baccalaureate, Master's and Doctorate degrees. More than 6,600 students are enrolled at MSU.

Recently, emphasis has been placed on the urban orientation of the university. This emphasis has been incorporated into the graduate programs. At the graduate level, the university offers the Master of Arts degree in African American studies, economics, English, history, international studies, mathematics, music, museum studies and historical preservation, sociology, and teaching. The Master of Business Administration is offered in accounting, finance, hospitality management, information systems, international business, management, and marketing and taxation. The Master of Science degree is offered in bioinformatics, educational administration and supervision, elementary and middle school education, psychometrics, science, sociology, telecommunications, and transportation. The Master of Science degree program in science is offered in biology, chemistry, and physics. Professional master’s degrees are offered in architecture, city and regional planning, engineering, landscape architecture, public health, and social work. The Doctor of Education degree is offered in community college leadership, mathematics education, science education, and urban educational leadership. The Doctor of Philosophy degree is offered in bioenvironmental science, business administration, English, higher education, history, and psychometrics. The Doctor of Engineering degree is offered in civil, electrical, and industrial engineering. In addition, the Doctor of Public Health degree and master’s and doctoral degrees in social work are offered.


Of the approximately 6,000 undergraduates and 616 graduate students who attend Morgan, about 35% are from outside of Maryland, including many from foreign countries. The largest sources of its enrollment outside of Maryland are New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.[citation needed]

Schools and colleges

The university operates nine colleges, schools and institutes.

College of Liberal Arts

The College of Liberal Arts is the largest academic division at the university. In addition to offering a wide variety of degree programs, it also offers a large portion of the courses in the General Education Requirements. The College of Liberal Arts offers twelve (12) undergraduate degree programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree. It offers the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree in: Economics, English, Fine Art, History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Speech Communication, Telecommunications, and Theater Arts. It offers the Bachelor of Science Degree in: Economics, Psychology, and Telecommunications. The College of Liberal Arts offers minors in fifteen areas: African Studies (Interdisciplinary), Anthropology, Criminal Justice, East Asian Studies (Interdisciplinary), English, Environmental Studies (Interdisciplinary), World Languages and International Studies, Gender Studies (Interdisciplinary), Geography, History, Journalism, Museum Studies (Interdisciplinary), Music, Philosophy, Pre-Law, Religious Studies, Sociology and Speech.

School of Business and Management

The Earl Graves School of Business and Management (SBM) is named in honor alumnus Earl G. Graves. Sr., class of 1958 and is located in McMechen Hall in the academic center of campus. Originally constructed in 1972, it was renovated in 1996 as a state-of-the-art classroom, laboratory, and office building. McMechen Hall recognizes George W.F. McMechen, Morgan's first graduate, who received his degree in 1895. The SBM offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting, Finance, Business Administration, Marketing, Human Resource Management, Hospitality Management, and Information Science and Systems; a Masters in Business Administration; and a Ph.D. in Business Administration.

School of Education and Urban Studies

The School of Education and Urban Studies is located in the Jenkins Behavioral Science Building. The school offers programs in Family and Consumer Sciences, Health, Physical Education & Recreation, Social Work (Mental Health, Gerontology), and Teacher Education & Administration (Elementary Education, Secondary Education). Additionally, programs are offered within the Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education (C.E.M.S.E). Master level program are offered in Masters in Educational and Administration Supervision and Masters in the Art of Teaching.

School of Engineering

Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. School of Engineering building

The School of Engineering admitted its first class starting in 1984. The first graduates received degrees in 1988. Dr. Eugene M. DeLoatch, is the first Dean of the School of Engineering. He accepted the position and left Howard University where he had been the Chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department.

The Morgan State University, School of Engineering has fully ABET accredited undergraduate programs in civil engineering; electrical and computer engineering; and industrial, manufacturing and information engineering. The school also offers graduate programs that confer the Master of Engineering Degree, Doctor of Engineering Degree, and Master of Transportation Degree.

By 1991, the 35,000 sq ft (3,300 m2). Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. building was added with its sixteen teaching laboratories and five research laboratories. The William Donald Schaefer Building is a 40,000 sq ft (3,700 m2). addition to the Engineering School and was completed in April, 1998. It provides instructional laboratories, classrooms, a student lounge, research laboratories and a 2,200 sq ft (200 m2). library annex. The Morgan State University School of Engineering graduates more than two-thirds of the state's African-American Civil Engineers; 60 percent of their African-American Electrical Engineers; 80 percent of their African-American Telecommunications specialists; more than one-third of their African-American Mathematicians; and all of the Maryland's African-American Industrial Engineers and Physicists.[citation needed] Nearly one third of the nation's top black engineering students have graduated from historically black institutions, like Morgan, in the past decade.

School of Architecture and Planning

The School of Architecture and Planning has three graduate programs (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, City & Regional Planning)and two undergraduate programs (Architecture and Environmental Design and Construction Management. The School prepare students to address the challenges associated with systems of the built environment and their integration with systems in the natural environment. The objective is to link domains of environmental (natural patterns and flows), economic (financial patterns and equity), and social (human, cultural, and spiritual) as related to the professional practices of planning, design and management. Morgan's education is directed towards a sustainable urban environment that is beautiful, humane, socially appropriate, and restorative.


The Soper Library’s holdings constitute more than 660,000 volumes, including works in special collections. One such collection includes books on Africa, with an emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. The African American collection is a body of historically significant and current books by and about African Americans and includes papers and memorabilia of such persons as the late Emmett P. Scott, secretary to Booker T. Washington, and Arthur J. Smith, who was associated with the Far East Consular Division of the State Department. The Forbush Collection, named for Dr. Bliss Forbush, is composed of materials associated with the Quakers and slavery. The Martin D. Jenkins Collection was acquired in 1980. Together, these collections provide both a contemporary and historical view of African Americans in education, military service, politics, and religion.

Student life and activities

Residential facilities

Approximately 2,000 students are housed in four traditional residence halls, two high rise buildings and three apartment complexes. Baldwin, Cummings, Harper/ Tubman and O'Connell are traditional style housing.

  • Baldwin (upper-class male)
  • Cummings (honors males)
  • Harper/ Tubman (honors females)
  • O'Connell Hall (freshman male)

Blount Towers (all female classifications) and Rawlings Hall (male upperclassmen) are high- rise (six to eight floors) residence halls. Thurgood Marshall (co-ed upper-class) is an apartment style complex located on-campus. Both Morgan View Apartments and Marble Hall Gardens are the co-ed upper-class apartment style residence hall complexes located off-campus.


Athletics logo

Morgan's athletic teams are known as the Bears, and they compete in the Mideastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). From the 1930s through 1960s, led by coach and then athletic director Edward P. Hurt, Morgan's athletic teams were legendary. More than thirty of its football players were drafted by and played in the NFL [8] and many of its track athletes competed internationally and received world-class status. By the late '60s most white colleges and universities ended their segregation against black high school students [9] and many top black high school students and athletes started matriculating to schools from which they had been barred just a decade prior. While achieving a national goal of desegregation, integration depleted the athletic strength of schools like Morgan and Grambling State University. For example, the annual contest between Morgan and Grambling played in New York City in the late '60s drew more than 60,000 fans.[10] Today, the two teams do not even play each other and Morgan's home football games rarely draw as many as 10,000 fans with the exception of the school's homecoming game.

Hill Field House, Morgan's indoor athletic venue


By 1975, Morgan became noted for its lacrosse team. Lacrosse, a sport that, up until then, had been dominated by white athletes. Black high school lacrosse players in Maryland and New York still had trouble getting into non-black schools. Morgan was the first (and until the turn of the 21st century, the only) historically black university to field a lacrosse team.[6]
Several members of the team now coach lacrosse in local high schools. Tony Fulton and Curt Anderson were elected to the Maryland House of Delegates. Dr. Miles Harrison and Coach Howard "Chip" Silverman collaborated on the book, Ten Bears; which is being made into a movie.

In 2005, students organized a lacrosse club which plays other college's lacrosse clubs, but the team has yet to qualify to become an NCAA sanctioned team.[11] The University will not allow the new club team to use any of its fields or facilities. The club team has played more than twenty games in the last three years, most of them "away" because of the Bears' lack of a home field, locker rooms or visiting team amenities.


In 2009, the Morgan State men's basketball team won the MEAC regular season and tournament championship and qualified for the 2009 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. In their first tournament appearance, the 15 seeded Bears lost to the 2008–09 Oklahoma Sooners men's basketball team Oklahoma Sooners, 82-54, in the first round of the South Regional.[12]

In 2010, the Morgan State men's basketball team again won the MEAC regular season and tournament championship [13] and qualified for the 2010 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, again as a 15 seed. Morgan State lost to West Virginia University in the first round by a score of 77-50.[14]

Athletic Hall of Fame

More than two hundred male and female Morgan State athletes have been inducted into the Morgan State University Hall of Fame including National Football League Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly and the coach of the legendary Ten Bears lacrosse team Howard "Chip" Silverman.


The Morgan State University Choir, was led for more than three decades by the late Dr. Nathan Carter, celebrated conductor, composer, and arranger, is one of the nation’s most prestigious university choral ensembles. The groups that are subdivisions of the critically acclaimed choir include the University Choir, which is over 140 voices strong, and The Morgan Singers (approximately 40 voices). While classical, gospel, and contemporary popular music comprise the majority of the choir’s repertoire, the choir is noted for its emphasis on preserving the heritage of the spiritual, especially in the historic practices of performance. The Morgan State University Choir has performed for audiences throughout the United States and all over the world—including the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Canary Islands, Canada, Africa, Asia and Europe. Their most recent international appearance was in St. Petersburg, Russia at the invitation of Maestro Yuri Temirkanov, music director and conductor for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In Russia, the Choir performed in the 5th International Festival Arts Square and was received enthusiastically by their Russian audiences. The Choir has appeared at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall (in New York City) on numerous occasions, performing and premiering works such as John Corigliano’s “Poem On His Birthday,” “Too Hot to Handel” arranged by Broadway composers Bob Christianson and Gary Anderson[15] and Hannibal Lokumbe’s “African Portraits,” led by music director Leonard Slatkin, as part of the Kennedy Center’s African Festival. One of the Choir’s most historic moments came with the opportunity to sing under the baton of Robert Shaw, conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke's and joined by Jessye Norman and others in Carnegie Hall’s One Hundredth Birthday Tribute to Marian Anderson. A major milestone and historical movement occurred in the 1996-1997 season with the sounds of the “Silver Anniversary” concert being broadcast into households throughout the state of Maryland. The concert won three Emmy Awards for Maryland Public Television (MPT). MPT continues to air this hallmark performance during select sections of their membership drives.

When at home, the choir performs here at the Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center

Known for their consistency of performances, the Choir probably does more annual appearances with major orchestras of the United States than any other university choir. For example, the 1998-1999 season included performances with the National Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, and the Knoxville Symphony. During the 1999-2000 season, the Choir was featured with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a then-newly commissioned work for the millennium, “All Rise,” by Wynton Marsalis. The Choir reprised “All Rise” in Prague, in October 2000 and recorded it with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and, in 2003, the Choir recorded the piece in Paris. In December 2003 the Choir performed “African Portraits” with the Baltimore Symphony at the Gala Concert for the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. In their May 2004 issue, Reader’s Digest named the Morgan State University Choir as the “Best College Choir" in its list of “America’s 100 Best.”[16]

In January 2005, under the leadership of Dr. Eric Conway, the choir performed Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony #2, “Lobgesang,” with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, as well as performing at the State Department at the personal invitation of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to wide acclaim. Most recently, the Morgan State University Choir performed for the service honoring Rosa Parks, the unassuming matriarch of the civil rights movement, who became the first woman to lie in state at our nation’s Capitol Rotunda. In July 2006, the Choir traveled to Prague, Czech Republic, for two concerts with Maestro Paul Freeman. In November 2006, the Morgan State Choir participated in a concert celebrating the Bicentennial Celebration and Re-opening of the Basilica of the Assumption—the first cathedral in America.

The Morgan State Marching Band performing during halftime at the Rutgers University-Morgan State football game in Piscataway, New Jersey (September 2008)

The Morgan State University Choir has shared its musical gifts on many grand stages all over the world -– with numerous dignitaries and celebrated performers -– making them cultural ambassadors for Morgan State University, the city of Baltimore, and the state of Maryland. Each spring, the Choir concludes its season at home with its annual Spring Concert, which large audiences enthusiastically anticipate and receive. The University Choir was recently in Ghana under the invitation of Morgan State alumni and US ambassador to Ghana Mrs. Pamela Bridgewater. They have performed in other major cities including Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi.

On November 24, 2008 members of the choir appeared with country singer Faith Hill on NBC's Today show.[17] They also made appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman and Christmas in Rockefeller Center 2008. On January 20, 2009 the choir performed at the War Memorial Plaza in downtown Baltimore as a warm-up act to President Barack Obama's whistlestop tour speech.[18]


1977 photo of Morgan State University Marching Band

The Morgan State University Band Program consist of six ensembles: the marching band, the symphonic band, symphonic winds, pep band, jazz ensemble and jazz combo. Self-titled the Magnificent Marching Machine, the marching band has performed at MSU football games, NFL games, Presidential Inaugurations, World Series and in regional and local television appearances.[citation needed] The band also made a cameo appearance in the 2003 American movie Head of State and appeared on The Skyshow, a television show featuring Tom Joyner.

Greek letter organizations

Morgan State University has chapters from each of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations.

NPHC organizations at Morgan State
(in order of establishment)
Organization Chapter name
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Beta Alpha
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Alpha Delta
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Alpha Iota
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Pi
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Alpha Gamma
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Gamma
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Alpha
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Gamma
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Beta Tau

Morgan State University houses a variety of other fraternal organizations. These organizations are apart of the Council of Independent Organizations (CIO).[19]

Council of Independent Organizations
Organization Chapter name
Alpha Nu Omega Fraternity Alpha
Alpha Nu Omega Sorority Alpha
Groove Phi GrooveSocial Fellowship Mother Bear[20]
Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity Eta Gamma
Malaika Kambe Umfazi Sorority Njeri Zubari Queendom[21]
Pershing Angels Sorority Company J-8-5
Pershing Rifles Fraternity Company J-8
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity Pi Eta
Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity for Women Kappa Xi
Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship Marali Nubia Bear[22]
Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority Epsilon Omega

Notable alumni and faculty

Alumni of Morgan State University have achieved notability in the fields of athletics, science, government and the military including four members of the NFL Football Hall of Fame (Willie Lanier, Roosevelt Brown, Leroy Kelly, and Len Ford), Black Enterprise Magazine publisher Earl Graves, the Chief Judge of Maryland's highest court, nearly a dozen U.S. Army Generals including General William "Kip" Ward, the first Commanding Officer of the United States Africa Command, The New York Times columnist William Rhoden, and David E. Talbert, who is a playwright, TV producer and entrepreneur.

Prominent faculty currently teaching at Morgan State University include author/filmmaker M. K. Asante, Jr., gerontologist Gaynell Simpson, and scholar Raymond Winbush who directs the institute of Urban Research.

See also



  1. ^ a b "Men's Basketball Facts". Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  2. ^ Morgan State University Spokesman 'Our Forefathers: The Founders of Morgan State', Feb, 8, 2002, Cox
  3. ^ History of Baltimore City and County, from the earliest period to the present day: including biographical sketches of their representative men, John Thomas Scharf, p. 667
  4. ^ "Got my mind set on freedom": Maryland's story of black & white activism 1663-2000, Barbara Mills, Heritage Books 2002, p. 345
  5. ^ Stone, Adam (2002-08-29). "Morgan State University This historically black college has a well-rounded liberal arts core". Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.,0,5357177.story?coll=bal-health-headlines. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  6. ^ a b Harrison, Miles Jr.; Chip Silverman (2001). Ten Bears. USA: Positive Publications. pp. 19. ISBN 0-967992-21-4. 
  7. ^ Diggs v. Morgan College, 105 A. 157, 133 Md. 264 (1918)
  8. ^ "NFL Players who attended Morgan State University". 
  9. ^ "Professor Revising History of College Desegregation". Archived from the original on 19 June 2007. 
  10. ^ Janofsky, Michael; Rogers, Thomas (1984-01-28). "Sports: Scouting". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2009. 
  11. ^ Daraji, Malachi (2005-07-01). "Lacrosse Returns to Morgan State University". The Spokesman. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  12. ^ "NCAA Tournament Bracket - 2009". ESPN. Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "America's Best". Reader's Digest. May, 2004. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  17. ^ "Faith Hill fulfills her Christmas dream". Associated Press. 2008-11-24. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  18. ^ "40,000 at whistlestop cheer Obama on way to capital". People's Weekly World. 2009-01-20. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  19. ^ Greek Life
  20. ^ Mother Bear chapter
  21. ^ Queendom profiles
  22. ^ Swing Phi Swing Mid-atlantic Region

Additional reading

  • Nicholson, Jr., Roland (1990-05-08). "Morgan State Not So Offbeat: Lacrosse at an Historically Black University". New York Times. 

External links

Coordinates: 39°20′45″N 76°35′00″W / 39.3459°N 76.5832°W / 39.3459; -76.5832

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