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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]
Affiliation United Methodist Church
Endowment $66.7 million[3]
President Ronald A. Johnson, Ph.D.[4]
Students 2,567[3]
Location United States
Campus Urban, 126 acres (0.5 km2)
Colors Red, black, gray[5]
Athletics NCAA Division II[5]
Nickname Black Panther[5]
Affiliations SIAC[5]

Clark Atlanta University is a private, United Negro College Fund (UNCF).


  • History 1
    • Atlanta University 1.1
    • Clark College 1.2
  • Campus 2
    • Residential facilities 2.1
  • Academics 3
  • Research 4
  • Student life 5
    • Athletics 5.1
    • Marching band 5.2
    • National fraternities and sororities 5.3
      • National Pan-Hellenic Council 5.3.1
    • Student media 5.4
      • WCLK 5.4.1
  • Notable alumni 6
  • Notable faculty 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


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

An African American student art exhibition at Atlanta University in the mid-20th century.

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 forensis. 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 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.


Clark Atlanta University's main campus houses 37 buildings (including an art gallery) on 126 acres (0.5 km2) and is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the center of Atlanta.

Residential facilities

  • Pfeiffer Hall
  • Holmes Hall
  • Merner Hall
  • Bumstead Hall – vacant for renovations
  • Ware Hall
  • Beckwith Hall
  • 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



University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[7] RNP
Washington Monthly[8] 161[9]

Clark Atlanta was ranked on the 2014 list of The Washington Monthly of "Best Colleges and Universities" and the list of US News & World Report of top historically black colleges and universities (No. 18).[10]


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.[11] The university receives annual research grants of $17,570,778.[12]

Student life


Clark Atlanta University, known athletically as the Panthers, are competing within the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Division II. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.

Marching band

The university's marching band is known as the Mighty Marching Panther Band. The "Essence of CAU" is the dance line featured with the marching band.

National fraternities and sororities

All nine of the Sigma Alpha Iota, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Tau Beta Sigma and Gamma Phi Delta.

National Pan-Hellenic Council

Organization Chapter Founded Status Notes
Alpha Phi Alpha Alpha Phi (ΑΦ) January 28, 1927 Suspended
Alpha Kappa Alpha Alpha Pi (ΑΠ) May 21, 1930 Cease and Desist First undergraduate chapter chartered in South Atlantic Region
Kappa Alpha Psi Gamma Kappa (ΓΚ) November 23, 1948 Suspended
Omega Psi Phi Beta Psi (BΨ) December 22, 1923 Active First fraternity chartered on the campus of Clark College
Delta Sigma Theta Sigma (Σ) May 6, 1931 Active First and oldest chapter in the South
Phi Beta Sigma Psi (Ψ) December 27, 1935 Active
Zeta Phi Beta Psi (Ψ) December 13, 1934 Active
Sigma Gamma Rho Phi (Φ) 1951 Inactive
Iota Phi Theta Epsilon Beta (EB) 2000 Inactive

Student media


CAU operates WCLK (91.9 FM), a jazz radio station.

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 Reference(s)
Ralph Abernathy 1951 Civil rights activist [13]
Marvin S. Arrington, Sr. 1963 Politician and jurist [14]
Bryan Barber 1996 Director of the 2006 film Idlewild [15]
Hamilton Bohannon songwriter and record producer, who was one of the leading figures in 1970s disco music
Joseph Bouie, Jr. member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 97 in Orleans Parish since 2014; retired faculty member and administrator at Southern University at New Orleans, received Ph.D. from Clark Atlanta [16]
Aki Collins 1997 Assistant coach with the Marquette Golden Eagles men's basketball team [17]
Kenya Barris Creator and executive producer of ABC's Black-ish [18]
Marva Collins 1957 Educator; founder and director of the Westside Preparatory School in Chicago, Illinois [1]
Dewey W. Knight, Jr. 1957 first Black department director and the only black Deputy County Manager in Miami-Dade County [1]
Mary Frances Early 1957 First African-American graduate of the University of Georgia [19]
Wayman Carver Composer; first person to use extensive use of the flute in jazz
Amanda Davis News anchor at Atlanta, Georgia [20]
Pearl Cleage Author [21]
DJ Drama Music producer
Henry O. Flipper First black graduate of West Point [22]
C. Hartley Grattan 1923 Economist, historian [23]
Grace Towns Hamilton 1927 First African American woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly [24]
James A. Hefner 1962 Economist
Fletcher Henderson 1920 Pianist, band leader and composer [25]
New Jack Professional wrestler
Alexander Jefferson 1942 Retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and a member of the Tuskegee Airmen [26]
Robert R. Jennings President of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University
Henry C. "Hank" Johnson 1976 U.S. Congressman, Georgia 4th District [27]
James Weldon Johnson 1904 Writer [21]
Otis Johnson 1969 Mayor of Savannah, Georgia [28]
Bomani Jones 2001 Sportswriter, Co-Host of Highly Questionable
Kenny Leon Tony Award winning Broadway and film director. Former artistic director of Atlanta's Alliance Theatre [21]
Lucy Craft Laney Educator, opened the first school for black children in Augusta, Georgia in the late 19th century
Curtis Johnson 2008 former NFL linebacker
Walt Landers former NFL player
Greg McCrary former NFL tight end
Emmanuel Lewis 1997 Actor
Martha S. Lewis Government official in New York City and state [29]
Evelyn G. Lowery American civil rights activist and leader; marched in the historic Selma to Montgomery March
Mason "Mase" Durrell Bethea Rapper
Major Owens Librarian, U.S. Congressman (New York)
Harry Pace 1903 African-American recording pioneer, founder of Black Swan Records, Insurance executive [30]
Valeisha Butterfield Jones 2000 Founder and CEO of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN), political strategist, youth and women’s activist, author and media personality [31]
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. [32]
C. Lamont Smith Sports agent, the founder and president of All Pro Sports and Entertainment
Morris Stroud 1969 Former professional football player
Bobby Wilson 2004 Singer better known by his stage name Bobby V
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 [21]
Walter Francis White 1916 NAACP leader
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 [21]
Richard R. Wright 1876 First black Paymaster in the U.S. Army and first president of Savannah State University [35]
Ella Gaines Yates First African-American director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System
KD Singer-songwriter, record producer, rapper

Notable faculty

Name Department Notability Reference
Alfred Msezane Physics Professor [36]
Ariel Serena Hedges Bowen Music Professor
Carlton E. Brown Administration President Clark Atlanta University
Dr. Herb Eichelberger Film Film professor and mentor of notable Hollywood director Spike Lee [37]
W.E.B. Du Bois Sociology Scholar, author, and civil rights activist [38]
Mary Frances Early Music The first African American graduate of the University of Georgia [39]
Robert D. Bullard Sociology Ware Professor of Sociology, Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center, and regarded by many as the "father of environmental justice." [40]
Virginia Lacy Jones One of the first African-Americans to earn a PhD in the Library Sciences
Whitman Mayo Drama Professor
Henry Ossawa Tanner The first African American painter to gain international acclaim. [41]
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

See also



  1. ^ a b c "Clark Atlanta University". Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  2. ^ "List of HBCUs – White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities". August 16, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  3. ^ a b "Clark Atlanta University". Best Colleges 2013. U.S. News & World Report, L.P. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  4. ^ "Clark Atlanta University". Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Men's Basketball Facts". Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Best Colleges". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved September 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ "2015 National Universities Rankings". Washington Monthly. n.d. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  9. ^ "2014 National Universities Rankings". Washington Monthly. n.d. Retrieved May 27, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Historically Black Colleges and Universities Ranking". Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "2010 Annual Report" (PDF). Clark Atlanta University. p. 3. Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  12. ^ "2010 Annual Report" (PDF). Clark Atlanta University. p. 16. Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  13. ^ Kirkland, W. Michael (April 27, 2004). "Ralph Abernathy (1926–1990)". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens, GA: Georgia Humanities Council.  
  14. ^ "Page not found - The HistoryMakers". Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Bryan Barber at the Internet Movie Database
  16. ^ "Joseph Bouie, Jr.". Retrieved April 26, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Aki Collins". Marquette University Athletics. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  18. ^ "Kenya Barris". HBCUDigest. Retrieved 2015-08-29. 
  19. ^ "Mary Frances Early". Fox Television Stations, Inc. Retrieved May 15, 2005. 
  20. ^ "Amanda Davis". Fox Television Stations, Inc. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  21. ^ a b c d e Clowney, Earle D. (August 24, 2004). "Clark Atlanta University". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens, GA: Georgia Humanities Council.  
  22. ^ "Second Lieutenant Hennry O. Flipper: First Black Graduate of West Point". U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  23. ^ "In Memoriam – C. Hartley Grattan". University of Texas. Retrieved December 18, 2009. 
  24. ^ Graham, Lawrence Otis (1999). Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class. Harper Perennial. p. 339.  
  25. ^ Hill, Ian (December 20, 2005). "Fletcher Henderson (1897–1952)". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens, GA: Georgia Humanities Council.  
  26. ^ "Alexander Jefferson Biography". Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Congressman Hank Johnson Georgia's Fourth Congressional District". Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  28. ^ "Biography – Who is Dr. Otis S. Johnson?". Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  29. ^ Lewis, Martha S., Obituary, Albany Times Union, found by searching Obituary web site. Accessed April 15, 2008.
  30. ^ Harry Pace
  31. ^ Valeisha Butterfield Jones
  32. ^ "Pernessa C. Seele". Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  33. ^ Clark Atlanta University from the New Georgia Encyclopedia Online (March 24, 2006). Retrieved on 2008-02-22.
  34. ^ "Mrs. Madaline A. Williams Dies".  
  35. ^ "New Georgia Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  36. ^ "Alfred Msezane - The HistoryMakers". Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  37. ^
  38. ^ Derrick P. Alridge: W. E. B. Du Bois in Georgia from the New Georgia Encyclopedia Online (January 8, 2010). Retrieved on 2011-07-21.
  39. ^ "University of Georgia To Honor First Black Graduate". 
  40. ^ Dicum, Gregory. "Meet Robert Bullard, the father of environmental justice". Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  41. ^ "Henry Ossawa Tanner". Archived from the original on January 10, 2006. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 

Further reading

  • Atlanta University Publications: a series, which began in 1896, of studies on problems affecting black people in the United States, edited by W. E. B. Du Bois.

External links

  • Official website
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