Dr. David A. Thomas will be installed as the 12th President of Morehouse College at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14, Morehouse’s 152nd birthday. The Presidential Inauguration will launch the beginning of Founder’s Week activities at the College.
The festivities will include alumni events, a concert featuring electric violinist Ken Ford, and appearances by scholarship gala honorees such as retired NBA champion Norm “the Storm” Nixon and music industry mogul Steve Pamon, a 1991 alumnus of Morehouse who runs Beyoncé’s management and production company.
The Presidential Inauguration will be held in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. Delegates representing nearly 30 colleges and universities will be in attendance, including officials from Georgetown University, where Thomas served as dean of the McDonough School of Business, Harvard University, where Thomas was named as the H. Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration, and Yale University, where Thomas received his doctorate and other degrees.
The Presidential Inauguration is open to the public. It will be followed by a reception in Forbes L. Forbes Arena at 1 p.m.
“What draws me to Morehouse is that I see a connection between what I value and what this college has always represented —the mission to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service, and to be stewards of black culture and community,” Thomas said about leading Morehouse. “There is no place like Morehouse on the planet.”
Thomas has more than 30 years of experience in higher education. He took office as the 12th President of Morehouse on Jan. 1, 2018, ushering in a new era of leadership for the College. His appointment in October 2017 ended a six-month period of transition at the College, which began in April 2017 when the Board announced its national search for a new Morehouse President.
Under Thomas’ leadership, enrollment applications at Morehouse increased by 43 percent, two residential halls were renovated, and the College received more than $3 million in grants to support STEM education and a high-level writing curriculum. Business community support also increased. Last month, Vista Equity Partners Management LLC Founder and CEO Robert Smith made a $1.5 million gift to fund endowed scholarships and the design and creation of a park that will serve as an outdoor study area for Morehouse students.
Thomas is developing a capital campaign that will help Morehouse in its efforts to become one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. The funds will be used to renovate buildings and create the campus of the future, improve the infrastructure, expand the digital network, support student scholarships, and launch academic initiatives that align with the mission of Morehouse.
On Friday, President Thomas and a panel of nationally-renowned educators and business leaders will discuss the need for Morehouse to impact international issues at the Presidential Symposium “The Morehouse Idea: Opportunities, Complexities, and Challenges for the Global Black Community in the 21st Century.” The panel discussion will be held at 10 a.m. at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center (RAYPAC) on the Morehouse campus. The session will be moderated by Bakari Sellers, a 2005 alumnus and CNN political analyst. The Symposium is also to the public.
Symposium II will follow at 2 p.m. featuring a fireside chat with Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., an Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University. Gates will screen part of his new four-hour documentary “RECONSTRUCTION: America after the Civil War, which will air on PBS stations nationwide this spring.
More than 7,000 people are expected to attend Founder’s Week activities.
Other events include: The Founder’s Day & Inaugural Concert with Ford and R&B singer Keeyen Martin at 7:30 p.m. Friday at RAYPAC and the “A Candle in the Dark” Gala, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.Six honorees will receive awards for outstanding work in their professions and the community at the scholarship benefit.