Clark Atlanta University Turns the Big 30 in July


By Vickie G. Hampton

(ATLANTA) July 3, 2018 – Clark Atlanta University turns 30 this July—but this relatively young institution has an old spirit.  In July 1988, the institution was formed with the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College—two venerable institutions of the Atlanta University Center Consortium.     

“Clark Atlanta University has centuries of history undergirding it,” said CAU President Ronald A. Johnson. “Our lineage is inextricably tied to the legacies of our two great parent institutions. CAU has inherited these institutions’ commitment to providing students access to a relevant and robust education that will help them improve the lives of their families and their communities. We have inherited their call to conscience and action in matters of civil and human rights. And we have inherited their commitment to an academic enterprise that keeps pace with pedagogical and technological advances of the day.”

Clark Atlanta University is planning a yearlong celebration of the anniversary. The major fundraising thrust of the celebration is to raise $1.25 million in scholarship funds, while the theme is “Lifting Every Voice and Igniting New Possibilities.”

“This theme is especially poignant in today’s culture as historically silenced sectors of the population are discovering the power of their voices,’ said President Johnson. “We are preparing our students to be leaders by helping them to find and lift their voices – then giving them the tools to make a difference and ignite new possibilities by clear and bold ideas and actions that address the need for innovation and solutions to the key challenges of society.”

A yearlong slate of activities is planned for the celebration, most notable among them the “CAU Nation City Tours.” The tour launches in August in Martha’s Vineyard and continues in alumni hubs for the University, including Chicago, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Dallas and Washington, D.C., to name a few. President Johnson will use these events to share his vision for the University.

He recently listed his top four short-term goals for the University during a June 2018 appearance on the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “BIZ” news television show.  The goals were to highlight the Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development as a “jewel” of the university, positioning the University in the large and growing cyber industries, including a new Fintech initiative and reinforce the University’s role as an economic engine in the historic West Side community of Atlanta and recognize the success of the University’s media arts program, which has produced several notable artists and entertainers.

Among those entertainers is Kenya Barris, the creative mind behind the award-winning ABC comedy, “Black-ish.” When the 30-year anniversary celebration was first announced this May during the University’s commencement exercises, also announced was that Barris and his wife, Rainbow, were donating $1 million toward media arts and biology scholarships. The couple became the first alumni from the consolidated CAU to donate at this level.