Our History

For over 150 years,

Morehouse College has been producing extraordinary leaders, visionaries and pillars of the community. Since our humble beginnings in a church basement in 1867, we’ve established a legacy of excellence that continues to strengthen with each passing year. Famous graduates like Martin Luther King Jr. and Spike Lee are joined by five Rhodes scholars as well as congressmen, business titans, college presidents, and many more who proudly represent the Morehouse ideals. Explore our interactive timeline to discover the Morehouse story.


Augusta Institute founded on Feb. 14 at Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., by the Rev. William Jefferson White, with the Rev. Richard C. Coulter and the Rev. Edmund Turney.


Institute moves to Atlanta’s Friendship Baptist Church. Becomes Atlanta Baptist Seminary.


Graves Hall constructed.


School changes its name to Atlanta Baptist College.


Atlanta Baptist College changes name to Morehouse College to honor Henry Lyman Morehouse, corresponding secretary of American Baptist Home Mission.


Morehouse College celebrates Semicentennial.
“History of Morehouse College” by Benjamin Brawley (Class of 1901) is published.


The Atlanta University Affiliation is established with Morehouse, Spelman College, and Atlanta University. Later called the Atlanta University Center consortium (AUC).

1929 – 1933

Morehouse College admits women. Thirty-three eventually become full graduates.


Martin Luther King Jr. graduates from Morehouse.


Morehouse College receives full accreditation from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).


Morehouse College celebrates its Centennial.


Phi Beta Kappa chapter established.


Founding of the School of Medicine.


Edwin Moses ’78 wins gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles at Montreal Summer Olympics.

1978 – 1979

Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel dedicated in 1978. Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter Sr. begins work in 1979 as founding Chapel dean.


Dr. Louis W. Sullivan ‘54 named Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Nima Warfield ’94 is first Rhodes Scholar from an HBCU.


Forbes Arena, a 5,700-seat gymnasium is erected and used as basketball venue for 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.


State-of-the-art Leadership Center opens. Later named for Dr. Walter E. Massey ’58.


Morehouse completes its most ambitious capital campaign, raising $118 million.


Journalist Ron Thomas launches Morehouse College Journalism and Sports Program. Funds include $1 million from Spike Lee ’79 and $1 million from Charles Barkley in 2015.


Opening of $20-million Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building.


Cinema, Technology & Emerging Media Studies Program established, for the intellectual and artistic study of film and television.


U.S. President Barack Obama gives Commencement address.


Spike Lee ‘79 awarded honorary Oscar for film direction, including Oscar-nominated “Do the Right Thing.”


For the first time in College history, Morehouse has three valedictorians: Liam Davis, Ian Niemeyer and Willie Thompson.


Morehouse celebrates Sesquicentennial.


Dr. David A. Thomas appointed as the 12th President of Morehouse College, ushering in a new era of leadership for the 150-year-old historically black institution.


Franck Nijimbere became Morehouse’s fifth Rhodes Scholar.


In collaboration with the other institutions within the Atlanta University Center Consortium and UnitedHealth Group, Morehouse announced the AUCC Data Sciences Initiative to help pave the way for students to enter these career paths. The Office of Institutional Advancement raised more than $107 million in a record-breaking fiscal year. This included philanthropist Robert F. Smith paying off the student loans of the Class of 2019. Additionally, Oprah Winfrey made a $13 million donation and philanthropists Patty Quillin and Reed Hastings donated $40 million.


In the face of the global pandemic, the College moved to an entirely virtual learning environment while maintaining operations and its long-range planning. In preparation for the incoming Fall 2020 class, Morehouse partnered with Microsoft and UPS Foundation to provide computers to each member of that class. In October, the Board of Trustees ratified the College’s next five-year strategic plan which will go into implementation in early calendar 2021.


As part of Morehouse’s strategic vision to go beyond borders, the College partnered with 2U to launch Morehouse’s first online bachelor’s degree programs.

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