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Coordinates: 33°45′3″N 84°24′37″W / 33.75083°N 84.41028°W / 33.75083; -84.41028

Clark Atlanta University
Clark Atlanta University Seal
Motto"I'll Find a Way or Make One" (Atlanta University); "Culture for Service" (Clark College)[1]
TypePrivate, HBCU[2]
EstablishedJuly 1, 1988 (1988-07-01)
Atlanta University (1865)
Clark College (1869)
AffiliationUnited Methodist Church
Endowment$69 million[3]
PresidentGeorge T. French, Jr., Ph.D.[4]
Students3,289 (Fall 2018)[5]
Location, ,

United States
CampusUrban, 126 acres (0.5 km2)
NewspaperThe CAU Panther
ColorsRed, Black, Gray[6]
AthleticsNCAA Division II[6]

Clark Atlanta University is a private, coeducational, historically black university in Atlanta, Georgia. It was formed in 1988 with the consolidation of Clark College (founded in 1869) and Atlanta University (founded in 1865). Clark Atlanta University is a member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and is the largest collegiate institution in the Atlanta University Center Consortium.


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 towards the liberal arts.

Atlanta UniversityEdit

An African American student art exhibition at Atlanta University in the mid-20th century.
"Four African American women seated on steps of building at Atlanta University, Georgia", ca. 1900.

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 Atlanta University Center emerged, with Clark College, Morris Brown College, and the Interdenominational Theological Center joining the affiliation later. The story of the Atlanta University over the next twenty years from 1930 includes many significant developments. Graduate Schools of Library Science, Education, and Business Administration were established in 1941, 1944, and 1946, respectively. The Atlanta School of Social Work, long associated with the university, gave up its charter in 1947 to become an integral part of the university. In 1957, the controlling Boards of the six institutions (Atlanta University; Clark, Morehouse, Morris Brown and Spelman Colleges; and Gammon Theological Seminary) ratified new Articles of Affiliation. The new contract created the Atlanta University Center. The influence of Atlanta University has been extended through professional journals and organizations, including Phylon, and through the work of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois, a member of the center.

Clark CollegeEdit

Clark College was founded in 1869 by 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.


Bust of W.E.B. DuBois by Ayokunle Odeleye at Clark Atlanta University

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

Residential facilitiesEdit

  • Pfeiffer Hall
  • Holmes Hall
  • Merner 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

All undergraduate students with under 58 credits hours are required to live on campus.[7]


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[9] 293–381
Washington Monthly[10] 161[8]

Clark Atlanta offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through the following schools:

  • School of Arts & Science
  • School of Business
  • School of Education
  • School of Social Work

Clark Atlanta University is the most comprehensive institution in the Atlanta University Center Consortium offering over 40 degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

Oglethorpe Hall

The Isabella T. Jenkins Honors Program is a highly selective academic program established to provide a close-knit and uniquely stimulating academic environment for high-achieving undergraduate students at Clark Atlanta University.[11]

Clark Atlanta is annually ranked on the list of The Washington Monthly "Best Colleges and Universities" and consistently ranked a top 20 HBCU by US News & World Report (No. 13).[12]

Clark Atlanta's social work graduate program ranks among the 100 best in the nation by US News & World Report.[13]

Clark Atlanta's Center for Functional Nanoscale Measures (CFNM) has produced more black Ph.D.s in Nanoscale Science than any HBCU in the nation.[14]

Student lifeEdit

CAU ExperienceEdit

All new undergraduate students are required to attend "CAU Experience" which is five-days of events orchestrated to help them get better acquainted with the legacy, traditions, culture, and community of Clark Atlanta University. The preeminent scheduled event of "CAU Experience" is the formal induction ceremony. At the ceremony, new undergraduate students are officially inducted as Clarkites. "CAU Experience" is mostly led by enthusiastic and trained student leaders known as "OGs" which is an abbreviation for Orientation Guides.[15]


Clark Atlanta University, known athletically as the Panthers, competes 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 bandEdit

The university's marching band is known as the Mighty Marching Panther Band. "Essence" is the danceline featured with the marching band. The band was featured in the 2002 movie Drumline.

National fraternities and sororitiesEdit

All nine of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations currently have chapters at Clark Atlanta University. Other organizations currently registered on campus include Sigma Alpha Iota, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Tau Beta Sigma and Gamma Phi Delta.

National Pan-Hellenic CouncilEdit

Organization Chapter Founded Status Notes
Alpha Phi Alpha Alpha Phi (ΑΦ) January 28, 1927 Active Five-Time undergraduate Chapter of the Year
Alpha Kappa Alpha Alpha Pi (ΑΠ) May 21, 1930 Active First undergraduate chapter chartered in South Atlantic Region
Kappa Alpha Psi Gamma Kappa (ΓΚ) November 23, 1948 Inactive The chapter is under an involuntary "cease and desist" order
Omega Psi Phi Beta Psi (ΒΨ) 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) January 17, 1931 Active
Sigma Gamma Rho Phi (Φ) 1937 Active
Iota Phi Theta Epsilon Beta (ΕΒ) 2000 Inactive

Student mediaEdit

The CAU PantherEdit

The CAU Panther is the student newspaper.


CAU-TV is a public access channel licensed by Comcast to the university.


CAU student-run internet radio station.


CAU operates WCLK (91.9 FM), Atlanta’s only jazz radio station and one of the longest running in the world.

Notable alumniEdit

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).

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Ralph Abernathy 1951 Civil rights activist [16]
Marvin S. Arrington, Sr. 1963 Politician and jurist [17]
Clarence Cooper (judge) 1964 Federal judge [18]
William Leo Hansberry 1921 Noted lecturer and scholar [19]
Brenda S. Banks Archivist, Deputy Director of the Georgia Department of Archives and History and founder of Banks Archives Consultants [20]
Lamont Robinson 2004 Illinois House 5th district State Representative [21]
Amy Sherald 1997 African-American artist that completed the official portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama [22]
Ajamu Baraka Human Rights Activist & 2016 Green Party Vice Presidential Nominee [23]
Bryan Barber 1996 Director of the 2006 film Idlewild [24]
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 [25]
Aki Collins 1997 Assistant coach with the Marquette Golden Eagles men's basketball team [26]
Kenya Barris 1996 Creator and executive producer of ABC's Black-ish [27]
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 [28]
Wayman Carver Composer; first person to use extensive use of the flute in jazz
N'Dea Davenport Lead Singer of The Brand New Heavies [29]
Bryan-Michael Cox Prolific record producer and songwriter [30]
Amanda Davis News anchor at CBS 46 in Atlanta, Georgia [31]
Pearl Cleage Author [32]
DJ Drama 2000 Music producer
Henry O. Flipper First black graduate of West Point [33]
C. Hartley Grattan 1923 Economist, historian [34]
Grace Towns Hamilton 1927 First African American woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly [35]
James A. Hefner 1962 Economist
Fletcher Henderson 1920 Pianist, band leader and composer [36]
New Jack Professional wrestler
Alexander Jefferson 1942 Retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and a member of the Tuskegee Airmen [37]
Robert R. Jennings President of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University
Henry C. "Hank" Johnson 1976 U.S. Congressman, Georgia 4th District [38]
James Weldon Johnson 1904 Noted author, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter and civil rights activist. Writer of the poem Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing, widely known as the "Negro National Anthem". [32]
Otis Johnson 1969 Mayor of Savannah, Georgia [39]
Bomani Jones 2001 Sportswriter, Co-Host of Highly Questionable
Kenny Leon 1978 Tony Award winning Broadway and film director. Former artistic director of Atlanta's Alliance Theatre [32]
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 [40]
Evelyn G. Lowery American civil rights activist and leader; marched in the historic Selma to Montgomery March
Mason "Mase" Durrell Bethea Rapper
Mary Jackson McCrorey educator, mission worker [41]
Major Owens Librarian, U.S. Congressman (New York)
Dinah Watts Pace 1883 Educator [42]
Harry Pace 1903 African-American recording pioneer, founder of Black Swan Records, Insurance executive [43]
Duke Pearson Jazz pianist and composer, producer for Blue Note Records
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. [44]
C. Lamont Smith Sports agent, the founder and president of All Pro Sports and Entertainment
Morris Stroud 1969 Former professional football player
Bazoline Estelle Usher 1906, 1937 Educator, Georgia Woman of Achievement [45]
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
Walshy Fire DJ, producer and member of Major Lazer
Horace T. Ward Judge and first black student to legally challenge segregation in higher education in the Deep South [32]
Walter Francis White 1916 NAACP leader
Hosea Williams Civil rights activist [46]
Madaline A. Williams First black woman elected to the New Jersey state legislature [47]
Louis Tompkins Wright First black surgeon to head the Department of Surgery at Harlem Hospital in New York City [32]
Richard R. Wright 1876 First black Paymaster in the U.S. Army and first president of Savannah State University [48]
Ella Gaines Yates First African-American director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System

Notable facultyEdit

Name Department Notability Reference
Alfred Msezane Physics Professor [49]
Ariel Serena Hedges Bowen Music Professor
Enos Luther Brookes Chemistry Head of Science XDept. [50]
Carlton E. Brown Administration President Clark Atlanta University
Wayman Carver Music Jazz flute and saxophone player, Music Professor (1942-1967) [51]
Donda West English The mother of rapper Kanye West.
W.E.B. Du Bois Sociology Scholar, author, and civil rights activist [52]
Mary Frances Early Music The first African American graduate of the University of Georgia [53]
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." [54]
Virginia Lacy Jones One of the first African-Americans to earn a PhD in the Library Sciences
Whitman Mayo Drama Professor
Ira De Augustine Reid Sociology Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department; founding director of the People's College; editor of the journal Phylon: The Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture
Henry Ossawa Tanner The first African American painter to gain international acclaim. [55]
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 alsoEdit


  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. Archived from the original on December 23, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  3. ^ "Ranking". Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  4. ^ "Clark Atlanta University".
  5. ^ "Clark Atlanta University" (PDF). Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "Men's Basketball Facts". Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
  7. ^ "Clark Atlanta University". Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  8. ^ "2014 National Universities Rankings". Washington Monthly. n.d. Archived from the original on 2014-08-28. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  9. ^ "Best Colleges 2020: National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  10. ^ "2019 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  11. ^ "Clark Atlanta University". Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Historically Black Colleges and Universities Ranking". Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Ranking". Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  14. ^ "Clark Atlanta University". Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-08-06. Retrieved 2017-02-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Kirkland, W. Michael (April 27, 2004). "Ralph Abernathy (1926–1990)". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens, GA: Georgia Humanities Council. OCLC 54400935. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-07-19. Retrieved 2008-07-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "History and Traditions - Emory University". Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  19. ^ "Leo Hansberry, Founder of Ethiopian Research Council at Tadias Magazine". Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Brenda Banks obituary".
  21. ^ "Illinois Primary Election Results". The New York Times. 20 March 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  22. ^ "The life — and near-death — of Michelle Obama portrait artist Amy Sherald".
  23. ^ "Meet Ajamu Baraka: Green VP Candidate Aims to Continue the Legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois & Malcolm X".
  24. ^ Bryan Barber on IMDb
  25. ^ "Joseph Bouie, Jr". Archived from the original on April 28, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  26. ^ "Aki Collins". Marquette University Athletics. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  27. ^ "Kenya Barris". HBCUDigest. Archived from the original on 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2015-08-29.
  28. ^ "Mary Frances Early". Fox Television Stations, Inc. Retrieved May 15, 2005.
  29. ^ "N'Dea Davenport: Brand New Heavies Vocalist Talks Reunion". 2016-08-12.
  30. ^ "Amanda Davis". February 26, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  31. ^ "Amanda Davis". February 13, 2008. Archived from the original on April 27, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  32. ^ a b c d e Clowney, Earle D. (August 24, 2004). "Clark Atlanta University". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens, GA: Georgia Humanities Council. OCLC 54400935. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  33. ^ "Second Lieutenant Hennry O. Flipper: First Black Graduate of West Point". U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  34. ^ "In Memoriam – C. Hartley Grattan". University of Texas. Retrieved December 18, 2009.
  35. ^ Graham, Lawrence Otis (1999). Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class. Harper Perennial. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-06-098438-0.
  36. ^ Hill, Ian (December 20, 2005). "Fletcher Henderson (1897–1952)". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens, GA: Georgia Humanities Council. OCLC 54400935. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  37. ^ "Alexander Jefferson Biography". Retrieved January 25, 2011.
  38. ^ "Congressman Hank Johnson Georgia's Fourth Congressional District". Archived from the original on 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  39. ^ "Biography – Who is Dr. Otis S. Johnson?". Archived from the original on 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  40. ^ Lewis, Martha S., Obituary, Albany Times Union, found by searching Obituary web site. Accessed April 15, 2008.
  41. ^ Audrey Thomas McCluskey, A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South (Rowman & Littlefield 2014): 43-44. ISBN 9781442211407
  42. ^ "Died". The Crisis. New York, New York: The Crisis Publishing Company, Inc. 40 (5): 19. May 1933. ISSN 1559-1573. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  43. ^ Harry Pace
  44. ^ "Pernessa C. Seele". Retrieved January 25, 2011.
  45. ^ Lewis, David Levering (1994). W. E. B. Du Bois, 1868-1919: Biography of a Race. Henry Holt and Company. pp. 211–212. ISBN 978-1-4668-4151-2. OCLC 872607522. Retrieved August 18, 2018 – via Google Books.
  46. ^ Clark Atlanta University from the New Georgia Encyclopedia Online (March 24, 2006). Retrieved on 2008-02-22.
  47. ^ "Mrs. Madaline A. Williams Dies". The New York Times. December 15, 1968. p. 86. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  48. ^ "New Georgia Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2007-08-30.
  49. ^ "Alfred Msezane". Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  50. ^ "E. Luther Brookes". Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  51. ^ "Collection: Wayman A. Carver papers | Archives Research Center". Archived from the original on 2018-10-11. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  52. ^ Derrick P. Alridge: W. E. B. Du Bois in Georgia from the New Georgia Encyclopedia Online (January 8, 2010). Retrieved on 2011-07-21.
  53. ^ "University of Georgia To Honor First Black Graduate".
  54. ^ Dicum, Gregory (2006-03-15). "Meet Robert Bullard, the father of environmental justice". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  55. ^ "Henry Ossawa Tanner". Archived from the original on January 10, 2006. Retrieved July 21, 2012.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit