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Encyclopedia > Morris Brown College

Morris Brown College (MBC) is a four-year, private, coed, liberal arts institution affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church. It is a historically black college (HBCU) located in the West End Community in Atlanta, Georgia. Morris Brown College was one of six institutions of higher learning that comprise the cluster of historically black colleges known as the Atlanta University Center until its accreditation crisis (see below). Lesser known than sibling schools Morehouse and Spelman colleges, Morris Brown was founded by former slaves affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1881. For more than a century, the college took many students from poor backgrounds, large numbers of whom returned to their hometowns as teachers. Most recently, Morris Brown was known for having an open enrollment policy and generous financial aid. In the United States, Historically Black Colleges And Universities (HBCU) (a type of minority-serving institution or MSI) are colleges or universities that were established before 1964 with the intention of serving the African American community. ... The West End neighborhood of Atlanta is on the National Register of Historic Places and can be found southwest of Castleberry Hill and just north of Oakland City. ... Nickname: Hotlanta, The Big Peach, The ATL, A-Town Location in Fulton County in the state of Georgia Coordinates: Country United States State Georgia Counties Fulton, Dekalb  - Mayor Shirley Franklin (D) Area    - City 343. ... The Atlanta University Center is the largest consortium of African-American higher education in the United States of America. ... Morehouse College is a private, all-male, historically black liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia. ... Spelman College is a four-year liberal arts womens college in Atlanta, Georgia. ... The Buxton Memorial Fountain, celebrating the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, London. ... The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the AME Church, is a Christian denomination founded by Bishop Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816. ...

Media:Example.ogg==History== It was founded in 1881 “for the Christian education of Negro boys and girls in Atlanta.” Morris Brown opened with two teachers and 107 students in 1885. In its prime, it eventually had 450 faculty and staff members and more than 2,000 students.

The school operated on the primary, secondary, and normal school levels until 1894, with a regular academic program and courses in tailoring, dressmaking, home economics, nursing education, commerce, and printing. A theological department for the training of ministers was established in 1894. That same year the College Department began, graduating its first students four years later. A normal school is an institution for training teachers. ...

Morris Brown College’s status was changed to university in 1913, and it was granted the right to establish and operate branch institutions of learning. The heavy burden imposed by the branches on the school’s finances made it necessary to discontinue the branches in 1929, when the present name, Morris Brown College, was restored. For a list of universities around the world, see Lists of colleges and universities Representation of a university class, 1350s. ...

By the 1990's, the college offered majors in over forty disciplines, and offered dual-degree programs in nursing, engineering, industrial design, and architecture with institions including the Tuskegee Institute and the University of Georgia.

By the fall of 2003, after a financial scandal that led to loss of the college's accreditation, enrollment had fallen from a high of 2,547 students in the 1990's to only 225.[1] By 2006, that number dropped below 50; the count in January, 2007 was 66.[2]dsquad dsquad


Accreditation issue

Morris Brown College was a member of the Atlanta University Center until it lost its accreditation and federal funding in 2002 because of financial mismanagement during the 1998-2002 tenure of Dr. Dolores E. Cross as school president. The Atlanta University Center is the largest consortium of African-American higher education in the United States of America. ... Accreditation is a process by which a facilitys services and operations are examined by a third-party accrediting agency to determine if applicable standards are met. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ...

Morris Brown was more than $230 million in debt and was on probation in 2001 with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for shoddy bookkeeping and a shortage of professors with advanced degrees. On December 10, 2002, the Southern Association revoked Morris Brown's accreditation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is a regional accreditor for over 13,000 public and private educational institutions ranging from preschool to college level in the Southern United States. ...

The United Negro College Fund also terminated its support for Morris Brown College.[2] United Negro College Fund logo The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is a Fairfax, Virginia-based American philanthropic organization that fundraises college tuition money for black students and general scholarship funds for 39 historically black colleges and universities. ...

College officials have said the school plans to re-apply for accreditation, a lengthy process that would require the college to be debt-free. Until the school is reaccredited, its students cannot receive federal or state financial aid.

Uncertain future

Morris Brown College, at one point reduced to an enrollment of just 44 students,[3] continues to operate as a scaled-down version of its former self. In 2004, Dr. Samuel D. Jolley, who had been the school's president from 1993 to 1997, agreed to return to the presidency to help the college's attempts to recover.

The school hoped to have 107 students in the fall of 2006, the same number when the school opened in 1881, but failed to meet even this modest goal. Tuition in the Fall semester of 2006 was $3,500, but without accreditation, students cannot obtain federal or state financial aid for their tuition and other school expenses.

As of January, 2007, MBC has 66 students in only two degree programs. Despite this, after the sentencing of two former administrators (see below), the chair of the college's board of trustees, William DeVeaux, issued a press release stating the college would move forward and that "This sad chapter in the college's history is now closed."[2]

The school has $25 million in long-term debt, and both the alumni association and the African Methodist Episcopal Church have pledged to keep the school from closing.

Criminal scandal

Eighty percent of the school's 2,500 students received financial aid from the federal government, which gave Morris Brown $8 million a year. A federal criminal case against the former president, Dolores Cross, and financial aid director, Mr. Parvesh Singh, proved the pair had embezzled a great deal of that federal aid and diverted it to ineligible college costs, such as personal staff, instead of subsidizing the students whose names were used to obtain the funds. Dolores Cross was a celebrated educator and university administrator who rapidly fell from grace when she pled guilty to fraud for her mismanagement of Morris Brown College (MBC), a historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia, of which she was president from November 1998 until February 2002. ...

Cross and Singh were charged in December 2004 in a 34-count indictment that accused them of defrauding the school, the U.S. Department of Education and hundreds of students. The pair, who first worked together at a college in Chicago, were convicted of using the names of hundreds of unwitting students, ex-students, and people who were never students there at all[4] to obtain financial aid for the school. ED headquarters in Washington A construction project to repair and update the building facade at the Department of Education Headquarters building in 2002 resulted in the installation of structures at all of the entrances to protect employees and visitors from falling debris. ...

During the time Cross held the college presidency, from November 1998 through February 2002,[5] Singh obtained about 1,800 payments from federally insured loans and Pell grants for these students, who had no idea they would be responsible for paying off the loans, the indictment said.

At the time of the 2004 indictment, Cross was teaching at DePaul University in Chicago.[6] On May 1, 2006, Cross pled guilty to fraud by embezzling millions of dollars in federal funds from the government and students.[7] She agreed to pay $11,000 to the Department of Education in restitution. Singh also pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement. DePaul University is a private institution of higher education and research in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Founded by the Vincentians in 1898, the university takes its name from the 17th century French priest known for his service to the poor, Saint Vincent de Paul. ...

On January 3, 2007, Cross received five years of probation and one year of home confinement for the fraud. Cross, 70 years old, suffers from sleep apnea and has had a series of small strokes, factors the judge took into consideration when devising the sentence. Singh, 64, also received five years of probation but 18 months of home confinement. An additional factor the judge considered was that the embezzled funds were not used for personal profit, but to prop up the school's poor finances.[4] However, the initial indictment said Cross had used the funds to finance personal trips for herself, her family, and friends.[8] It has been suggested that Obstructive sleep apnea following pharyngeal flap surgery be merged into this article or section. ... A stroke, also known as cerebrovascular accident (CVA),[1] is an acute neurological injury in which the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted. ...

The prosecutor, U.S. Attorney David Nahmias, made a somewhat exculpatory statement at their sentencing: "When the defendants arrived at Morris Brown, the college was already in serious financial condition. Thereafter, these defendants misappropriated ... money in fairly complicated ways in what appears to have been a misguided and ultimately criminal attempt to keep Morris Brown afloat."[2]

Civil lawsuits

In addition to civil lawsuits filed by former and current students, Morris Brown faces a civil suit for defaulting on a $13 million property bond, a case that eventually could lead to foreclosure on some of the college's most historic buildings, including its administration building, attorneys involved in the case say.

The complaint asks for $10.7 million in principal owed on the loan agreement, $1.5 million in interest and a per diem of $2,100 for each day Morris Brown does not pay.

If a judge decides Morris Brown owes the debt and the school cannot pay, it could face a variety of enforcement options, including the liquidation of certain assets, said Gregory Worthy, a lawyer who represents the banking association and trustee in the case.


  • Radio personality Tom Joyner made several offers to buy the troubled college from 2002 through 2004, during the worst of the accreditation and fraud crises. In 2003, his charitable foundation gave the school $1 million to assist with its immediate needs.[6]
  • Hosea Williams, noted civil rights activist, was a graduate
  • James Alan McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is a graduate
  • Stone Hall, completed in 1882, is closely associated with the history of the college and listed as a National Historic Landmark.
  • The 2002 film Drumline and the 2007 film Stomp the Yard were partly filmed there.
  • "Morris Brown", a song by Atlanta hip-hop duo OutKast off their 2006 release Idlewild, features a performance from the Morris Brown College Marching Wolverines.

Tom Joyner (born 1949) is an African-American talk radio host. ... Rev. ... James Alan McPherson (b. ... The gold medal awarded for Public Service in Journalism The Pulitzer Prize is an American award regarded as the highest national honor in print journalism, literary achievements, and musical compositions. ... Year 1882 (MDCCCLXXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... Drumline DVD cover Drumline is a 2002 dramatic film directed by Charles Stone III. The plot is about a young drummer from New York who enters a historically Black Southern university and tries to lead the schools drum section. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Stomp The Yard is a 2007 drama/musical film produced by Rainforest Films and released through Sony Pictures Screen Gems imprint on January 12, 2007. ... Morris Brown is the first official single from OutKasts album Idlewild (2006). ... OutKast is a multi-Grammy American hip hop duo based out of Atlanta, Georgia. ... Idlewild is an OutKast album released on August 22, 2006. ...


  1. ^ "Struggling Morris Brown College announces new president" March 25, 2004, in Black Issues in Higher Education. Accessed via online archive January 4, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d "Ex-president of Morris Brown gets probation" January 4, 2007 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Accessed January 4, 2007.
  3. ^ Incomplete citation for May, 2006 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  4. ^ a b "Former college president gets probation for $3.4M embezzlement" Associated Press report. January 3, 2007. Accessed January 4, 2007.
  5. ^ "Federal Indictment Accuses Former Morris Brown President and Aid Officer of $5-Million Fraud" December 10, 2004 in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Accessed summary January 4, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Former Morris Brown College president, financial aid director indicted for fraud", December 30, 2004, in Black Issues in Higher Education. Accessed via online archive service January 4, 2007.
  7. ^ Morris Brown College May 1, 2006, Washington Post.
  8. ^ "Ex-President of Morris Brown College Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement" May 1, 2006, in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Accessed January 4, 2007.

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Morris Brown College (1205 words)
Morris Brown College’s status was changed to university in 1913, and it was granted the right to establish and operate branch institutions of learning.
MBC became the fourth member of the Atlanta University Center, a cluster of six predominantly fl colleges and universities, in 1932.
Morris Brown College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees.
Morris Brown College Home Page (262 words)
Inside the Issue: State of the College, Board of Trustees, Kappa $7,500 Donation, Commencement 2007, Walk-a-thon 2007, Chairman's Legacy Award, MBC 2007 Gala, Homecoming 2007.
MBC Moving In New Direction with A New and Impressive Board of Trustees
Alumni, friends, and supporters of higher education, please join the students, alumni, faculty and staff of Morris Brown College on October 13, 2007 as they walk from the Georgia State Capitol to Herndon Stadium to raise scholarship funds for students enrolled at Morris Brown College.
  More results at FactBites »



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