Clark Atlanta University Celebrates $50,000 Gift from the Estate of Philanthropist, Politician, and Alumnus Marvin S. Arrington, Sr.

Just days before what would have been his 83rd birthday, the family of former longtime Atlanta City Council President Judge Marvin S. Arrington, Sr., gathered at his beloved alma mater,  

Clark Atlanta University, to celebrate his generous donation of $50,000. Arrington graduated from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) in 1964. 

Judge Arrington attended Clark College on a football scholarship and was instrumental in leading the football team to a victorious season in his last year as a student. Upon graduating from Clark College, he attended the 

Howard University School of Law before transferring to Emory University Law School. Always a trailblazer, he made history as one of the first two African Americans to receive a law degree from Emory University. In 1969,  

Judge Arrington was elected to Atlanta’s City Council and served his community for 25 years — 17 of those years as council president. The City Council chamber was renamed the Honorable Marvin S. Arrington, Sr. Council Chambers in his honor in 2019.  

As a student, Arrington appreciated the value of a good education. Correspondingly, he readily supported   

Clark Atlanta University students and initiatives through his contributions and philanthropy. He was a loyal alumni relations volunteer for many years and also served as a trustee for Clark Atlanta University from 1988 until 2002.  

“My years at Clark College proved a very rich experience. So many professors and coaches, legends like  

Raymond “Tweet” Williams and Vivian Epps encouraged me to work hard, overcome obstacles and move forward,” recalls Arrington in his 2008 autobiography, Making My Mark: The Story of a Man Wouldn’t Stay in His Place (Mercer Press). “I’ve asked myself many times where I would be had it not been for Clark, If I had to do it all over again, there is no doubt I would make the same choice. So, it is my obligation to give to an institution that has given so much to a poor boy from The Bluff. I don’t have a problem investing in CAU because it happens to be one of the finest institutions in this country.” 

“His first love was Clark Atlanta University,” said attorney Michelle Arrington, daughter of Judge Arrington. “I love the way he has left his legacy here at the University through life insurance because it can’t be changed by anyone.” The sizable gift will establish the Judge Marvin Arrington Book Fund for African American students pursuing undergraduate degrees in political science or social work at Clark Atlanta University.  

Judge Arrington passed away in 2023 at the age of 82.  


About Clark Atlanta University  

Clark Atlanta University was formed with the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College, both of which hold unique places in the annals of African American history. Atlanta University, established in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, was the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African Americans. Clark College, established four years later in 1869, was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African American student population. Today, with nearly 4,000 students, CAU is the largest of the four institutions (CAU, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Morehouse School of Medicine) that compose the Atlanta University Center Consortium. It is also the largest of the 37-member UNCF institutions. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson, American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing – “The Black National Anthem”; Ralph David Abernathy, Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit 

Clark Atlanta University
Institutional Advancement|Communications Unit 
MEDIA CONTACT: Paula Owens, Communications Manager