Clark Atlanta University Celebrates Its 35th Anniversary Highlighting Its History Over the Years

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) continues to celebrate its 35th Anniversary by highlighting its unique history that began with the consolidation of two venerable Atlanta institutions in 1988. The University’s anniversary kicked off on Saturday, July 1, and the celebration will run through July 31, 2024, with the continuous theme of “Celebrating Our Collective Journey”.

Monthly highlights of Clark Atlanta University’s past and commemorative moments of present will be shared with students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and friends of the university. Homecoming, Founders’ Week and Commencement will incorporate features of our historical timeline throughout the anniversary.

“As we keep pace with the challenges of the ever-changing education landscape, we are using this milestone in the university’s history to celebrate the legacy of two great institutions, Atlanta University founded in 1865 and Clark College founded in 1869.  These two institutions consolidated their resources to become an even greater university,” said CAU President George T. French, Jr., Ph.D.

“Our celebration draws from the lesson of the Sankofa, to look back and extract the gems of past lessons as we move forward with building a world-class, 21st-century learning enterprise,” he added. “Our history gives us many valuable lessons on collaboration and community-building, meeting difficult moments with vision, strategic planning and resilience, and remaining focused on uplifting scholars so that they address the most critical needs of our community.”

On July 1, 1988, Atlanta University and Clark College consolidated to become Clark Atlanta University. Both parent institutions 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 University, later changed to Clark College, was established four years later in 1869 by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African American student population.

Today, Clark Atlanta University is a comprehensive, private, urban, coeducational institution of higher education that serves nearly 4,000 students in 40 areas of study. The university currently offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, as well as certificate programs to students of diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Happy 35th Anniversary Clark Atlanta University!

For more information about CAU’s 35th Anniversary activities contact Gay-linn Josho at or call (404) 880-8892.