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Morehouse President to Retire At the End of Academic Year

Morehouse President to Retire At the End of Academic Year

Morehouse College President Walter E. Massey announced last month his plans to retire at the end of the 2006-2007 academic year.
Massey said he had been contemplating and conferring with the college’s board of trustees about leaving for the past two years. He said he is leaving the university in good shape and has chosen to retire now because key leadership positions have been filled, 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 the completion last June of the college’s largest capital campaign, the Campaign For A New Century. The effort succeeded in raising $120 million, including $38 million for student scholarships. And Morehouse recently completed construction of the 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 added that the magazine’s emphasis on graduation rates was flawed. Morehouse is ranked No. 62 on Diverse’s Top 100 list of undergraduate degree producers for Black students.

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 U.S. President George H.W. Bush appointed Massey director of the National Science Foundation, a multibillion 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 Corp. and McDonald’s Corp.

Morehouse, the all-male historically Black college, recently inherited the personal papers of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. thanks to Atlanta business and civic leaders, who borrowed $32 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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