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Morehouse President To Retire


Morehouse College President Dr. Walter E. Massey announced on Thursday his plans to retire at the end of the 2006-07 academic year. He announced his decision during the annual Opening Convocation at the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel on the college campus.

Massey said he had been contemplating and conferring with the Board of Trustees about leaving for the past two years. He said he is leaving the university in good shape and is retiring now that key leadership positions have been filed, including a new provost and chief financial officer. 

A 1958 graduate of Morehouse, Massey became the ninth president of the institution in 1995. Among his accomplishments is competition last June of the college’s largest capital campaign, the Campaign for A New Century, which raised $120 million, including $38 million for student scholarships. The school recently built a 74,000-square-foot Leadership Center facility.

“Despite what some magazines say – we still are the number-one College in the nation for educating African American men,” Massey said in reference to the college’s tumble from the top spot in Black Enterprise’s ranking of colleges. He said the magazine’s emphasis on graduation rates was flawed.

Before taking the helm at Morehouse, Massey was provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of California, the second most senior position in the UC system. In addition to overseeing the development of academic and research planning and policy, Massey also was responsible for the three national laboratories the system manages for the U.S. Department of energy.

In 1991, former President Bush appointed Massey director of the National Science Foundation, a multi-billion agency that supports science research. The Hattiesburg, Miss. native also served as vice president of research at the University of Chicago, dean of the college and professor of physics at Brown University and assistant professor of physics at the University of Illinois.

Massey is active on several corporations and foundations, including Motorola Inc., Bank of America Corporation and McDonald’s Corporation.

The all-male historical Black college recently inherited the personal papers of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. thanks to Atlanta business and civic leaders, who borrowed $30 million to bring the papers to King’s alma mater.

Morehouse’s successes have been tempered recently by violent incidents that include the killing of a student allegedly at the hands of current and former Morehouse students.

“A fact that has been almost completely overlooked in the news and reports about African American men is that not all of them are failing,” Massey said. “Many – including the overwhelming majority of the students at Morehouse – are, in fact, succeeding. Perhaps the most significant testament to this fact is our 2006 graduating class, which included 529 young men, mostly African American, who earned bachelor’s degrees – the highest number in Morehouse history, and more than any other college or university in the nation.”

–Diverse Staff


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