Clark Atlanta University Learn Lead Change

News And Press

DirectoryGive to CAUPanther Login

Clark Atlanta University Hosts 2013 Spirit of Greatness Gala May 18

  • Description:
  • Date: 4/26/2013
  • Author: Larry Calhoun
  • Origin:Clark Atlanta University

ATLANTA (April 26, 2013) - Clark Atlanta University (CAU) and the Clark Atlanta University Alumni Association (CAUAA) will host the annual Spirit of Greatness Gala Saturday, May 18, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Hotel, 265 Peachtree St., NW.  The event raises funds for deserving Clark Atlanta University students and honors alumni and community members for their achievement in diverse fields of endeavor.  This year's gala features entertainment by the Grammy Award-winning Isley Brothers, the incomparable R&B legends known for timeless hits, from "Shout" to "Summer Breeze" to "That Lady" and "For the Love of You."  Tickets to the black-tie event are $150 and can be purchased online at

         CAU President Carlton E. Brown says "the funds that are raised through this annual event allow us to provide critical resources to great students, many of whom otherwise would not be able to complete a college education. “We appreciate the opportunity to connect current students with alumni who have excelled through their professional and civic contributions.  The Spirit of Greatness Gala allows us to do that in a very strategic, meaningful way."

 CAU is the largest of the nation's 39-member United Negro College Fund institutions, offering a private, research-intensive education in 38 areas of study to some 3,500 students fromacross the United States.  The university's alumni include renowned leaders such as:  Henry O. Flipper, James Weldon Johnson, Pearl Cleage, Kenny Leon, Pernessa Seele and Marva Collins.  W.E.B. Du Bois and Whitney M. Young Jr. both served on the faculty.  The institution continues to thrive; however, the turbulent economy presents myriad financial challenges. 

This year's gala is co-chaired by CAU's board chairwoman Juanita P. Baranco and long-time trustee Carolyn M. Young.  "With anannual average family income of $30,000," Baranco noted, "the current economic climate makes it extremely difficult for students and their families to finance the costs of a college degree.  Our goal is to raise funds to ensure that students -- many of whom already work two and three jobs to pay for classes -- can pursue their studies with some degree of relief from their financial obligations."  Young, an alumna of Clark Atlanta, added that the university has a "long tradition of reaching back to help students push forward.  Clark Atlanta," she adds, "has a network of engaged, supportive alumni across the nation and this annual gathering allows us not only to uplift our alma mater, but to ensure that its legacy endures through future generations." 

CAU Broadens Pathway to Excellence

Three CAU alumni, a president emeritus and a friend of the university will receive the 2013 Pathways to Excellence Award at the event.  The award is presented annually to graduates or associates of the institution who, through their professional, civic and community servicecareers, have distinguished themselves and, in doing so, uplifted the institution.

Dr. James K. Bennett, F.A.C.S., is a world-renowned urologist who is on the front lines of the crusade to eradicate prostate cancer.  CAU President Emeritus Thomas W. Cole Jr., Ph.D., served asthe first president of Clark Atlanta University and is nationally recognized for his contributions in science research and his leadership in higher education.  Mary Frances Early was the first African-American graduate of the University of Georgia and a lifelong music educator who in 1981 became the first African-American president of the Georgia Music Educators'Association.  Dr. Helene Gayle, M.P.H., is president and CEO of CARE USA, a leading international humanitarian organization with approximately 10,000 staff whose poverty-fighting programs reached 122 millionpeople last year in 84 countries.  Although not an alumna of CAU, Gayle's career and vocation enliven the university's motto, "Culture for Service."  Tharon Johnson is managing director of theinternational law firm McKenna  Long & Aldridge, LLP.  His practice focuses on federal, state and local governmental affairs, and he served as the National Southern Regional Director for the 2012 Obama For America campaign, leading the presidential re-election campaign efforts for 11 southern states, including two key battleground states, Florida and NorthCarolina.

         CAUAA National President Devin P. White says that "although only in its fifth year, this event continues to grow in ways that allow the university to illuminate the sterling cadre of leaders we have produced more than 300 years of combined history, first as Atlanta University and Clark College, and today as Clark Atlanta University.  This event also allows us to nurture relationships with our national alumni population, as well as our community partners."  Organizations interested in becoming an event sponsor should contact White at 404-880-8022.

         For more information on Clark Atlanta University or the 2013 Spirit of Greatness Gala, call 404-880-8022 oremail