The Atlanta University Center (AUC) is the world’s largest consortium of African American private institutions of higher education. Members of the consortium are the highly accredited Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College.
The schools’ early histories date to the ending of the Civil War through the Reconstruction era when institutions were established to educate the newly freed slaves. Atlanta University was founded in 1865, Morehouse College in 1867, Clark College in 1869, and Spelman College in 1881. The most recent AUC college to join the consortium is Morehouse School of Medicine, founded in 1974. Atlanta University and Clark College merged in 1988 to form Clark Atlanta University.
These colleges are all separate institutions with their own board of trustees, president, infrastructure, students, faculty, staff and traditions. They are distinct, founded at different times by separate groups for various reasons. For instance, Clark Atlanta University is a B.S., Masters, and PhD granting coeducational institution , Morehouse is a B.S. degree granting liberal arts college for men only, Medical and PhD degrees are obtained from the coeducational Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman is a B.S. degree granting liberal arts college for women only.
All of the colleges are located in the West End Historic District of Atlanta. Although, separate, these institutions are close in proximity. As a result, the institutions realized that some of their services and resources could be shared. From this unique bond the Atlanta University Center was formed in 1929. The purpose of the Atlanta University Center Consortium is to coordinate collaborated efforts, manage, and administer programs and services that are offered to the institutions.
Shared programs include Cross Registration, the Dual Degree Engineering Program, and the Career Planning and Placement Service where corporate representatives may come to interview and recruit students from each institution.
Centrally located is the Robert W. Woodruff Library. The library is a modern information and research center designed to effectively meet the diverse needs of students, faculty and staff. It houses one of the country’s most extensive collections of unique research and archival materials documenting the African American experience including the recent King Papers.
Eminent scholars are educated within the confines of the Atlanta University Center. Some of the most notable are:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Civil Rights Movement
Ralph David Abernathy - Civil Rights Movement
Lerone Bennett - Social Historian, writer and Editor of Ebony Magazine
Julian Bond - Activist for Social Change
Pearl Cleage - Playwright, journalist, poet, and novelist
Marva Collins - Founder, Marva Collins Preparatory School
Marian Wright Edelman - President, Childrens Defense Fund
Samuel L. Jackson - Actor
James Weldon Johnson - Poet
Lucy Laney - Great Georgia Educator
Spike Lee - Playwright, Actor, Activist
Emanuel Lewis - Actor (Webster)
Edwin Moses - Olympic Champion
Eva Pigford - Reality Show – America’s Next Top Model Winner
Keshia Knight Pulliam - Actress (The Cosby Show)
Shaun Robinson - Weekend Co-Anchor and Correspondent Access Hollywood
Esther Rolle - Actress (Good Times)
David Satcher - 16th Surgeon General of US and Asst Secretary of Health
Louis Sullivan - 17th Secretary of the US Dept of Health and Human Services
Alice Walker - Writer
Hosea Williams - Civil Rights Activist
Primarily of African American heritage, the diversity of the student population is reflected in the varying socioeconomic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. The schools combined faculty totals nearly 1000 with a student enrollment of over 10,000. Geographically, students hail from across the United States and from over 50 countries.