Clark Atlanta University (Clark) is a private, historically black university in Atlanta, Georgia. It was formed in 1988 with the consolidation of Clark College and Atlanta University. Clark Atlanta University is a member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

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 to the liberal arts.

Atlanta University
Atlanta University, founded in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, with later assistance from the Freedman'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 sciences. 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. Through Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois, a member of the faculty, the university was also associated with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Clark College
Clark College was founded in 1869 by the Freedman's Aid Society of 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 km 2) 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.

2009 faculty firings
In 2009, the university fired 55 members of the faculty (20 of whom had tenure) after declaring an "enrollment emergency." The action earned the university a severe censure from the American Association of University Professors, which asserted that there was no "enrollment emergency" and decried the lack of faculty involvement in the process. The AAUP investigation specifically cited that Clark Atlanta University did not provide dismissed faculty members with hearings before faculty peers, as required by both AAUP standards and university regulations, and for providing a "sorely deficient" one month of severance salary. The AAUP panel consisted of four individuals and included one professor at a historically black institution (Charles L. Betsey of Howard University) and one professor who according to Inside Higher Ed, "has written extensively and sympathetically about black colleges" (Marybeth Gasman of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education).

CAU’s main campus houses 37 buildings on 126 acres (0.5 km 2) and is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the center of Atlanta, Georgia.

Residential facilities
  • Holmes Hall
  • Pfeiffer Hall
  • Merner Hall
  • Bumstead Hall " vacant for renovations
  • Ware Hall
  • Beckwith Hall
  • New 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
  • Gammon Hall / ITC Center

Clark Atlanta, a four-year school, offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral professional degrees as well as certificate programs.

Schools and colleges
The university operates four colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, and Social Work.

National ranking
Clark Atlanta was ranked on The Washington Monthly's 2008 list of "Best Colleges and Universities" and the US News & World Report ’s list of historically black colleges and universities (No. 24 out of 34 best).

Program accreditation
Clark Atlanta University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research University ”“ High Research Activity.

Clark Atlanta has a Carnegie classification of "Research University - High Research Activity" and is one of only four Historically Black Colleges and Universities to earn such a distinction. The university receives annual research grants of $ 17,570,778.

Student life

National fraternities and sororities
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.

Student Media
WCLK (Jazz Radio Station) CAU operates WCLK (91.9 FM)

Clark Atlanta University is affiliated with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Division II.

Notable alumni
See also Clark Atlanta University alumni 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).

Notable faculty

Further reading and information
  • Atlanta University Publications: a series, which began in 1896, of studies on problems affecting black people in the United States, edited by W. E. B. Du Bois.

Name Class year Notability References Ralph Abernathy 1951 civil rights activist Marvin S. Arrington, Sr. 1963 Politician and jurist Bryan Barber 1996 Director of the 2006 film Idlewild Renee Blake Charter Communications executive Benjamin Brown Civil rights activist and Georgia State Representative (1966, 1969-77) Sir Edward Miles III 1998 Philanthropist Aki Collins 1997 Assistant coach with the Marquette Golden Eagles men's basketball team Marva Collins 1957 educator; founder and director of the Westside Preparatory School in Chicago, Illinois Wayman Carver composer; first person to use extensive use of the flute in jazz Amanda Davis news anchor at WAGA (Fox5) in Atlanta, Georgia]] Pearl Cleage author DJ Drama music producer Henry O. Flipper First black graduate of West Point C. Hartley Grattan 1923 economist, historian James A. Hefner 1962 economist and president of Devante University Fletcher Henderson 1920 pianist, band leader and composer New Jack professional wrestler Alexander Jefferson 1942 Retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and a member of the Tuskegee Airmen Robert R. Jennings president of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University Henry C. "Hank" Johnson 1976 U.S. Congressman, Georgia 4th District James Weldon Johnson 1904 writer Otis Johnson 1969 Mayor of Savannah, Georgia C. LeFoy Grant 1999 television editor and producer; founder of HBCU Unit Network Reatha Clark King scientist, philanthropist, and educator, and former president and executive director of General Mills Foundation Kenny Leon actor and former artistic director of Atlanta's Alliance Theatre Lucy Craft Laney educator, opened the first school for black children in Augusta, Georgia in late 19th century Curtis Johnson 2008 NFL linebacker Walt Landers NFL player Emmanuel Lewis 1997 actor Martha S. Lewis government official in New York City and state Rozlyn Linder educator, author Mason "Mase" Durrell Bethea rapper Jody Mayfield composer, jazz musician 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. C. Lamont Smith sports agent, the founder and president of All Pro Sports and Entertainment Morris Stroud 1969 former professional football player Horace E. Tate Georgia state senator and educator who oversaw the merger of the black and white teachers' associations Michelle Y Madison music executive 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 Horace T. Ward judge and first black student to legally challenge segregation in higher education in the Deep South Lisa Washington 1998 News anchor of WHNT TV, Huntsville, Alabama Walter Francis White 1916 NAACP leader Hosea Williams civil rights activist Madaline A. Williams first black woman elected to the New Jersey state legislature Louis Tompkins Wright first black surgeon to head the Department of Surgery at Harlem Hospital in New York City, New York Richard R. Wright 1876 First black Paymaster in the U.S. Army and first president of Savannah State University Dorothy Yancy president of Johnson C. Smith University Chaka Zulu hip hop producer and manager Ella Gaines Yates first African-American director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System Name Department Notability Reference Ariel Serena Hedges Bowen music professor Carlton E. Brown Administration President Clark Atlanta University Virginia Lacy Jones one of the first African-Americans to earn their PhD in the Library Sciences 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


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