Morehouse College President Emeritus Robert Franklin ’75 was a featured guest speaker recently at a class on Morehouse College and the Atlanta University Center that is offered for lifelong learners at Emory University.
The class, exploring the “History of Atlanta’s Black Colleges and Universities,” is sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).
Dr. Franklin, Morehouse College’s 10th President, discussed the founding of Morehouse and its early years, tracing its institutional history from the eras of Presidents John Hope and Dr. Benjamin E. Mays through his own tenure as Morehouse President (2007-2012). The author and educator was one of two prominent Morehouse College alumni asked to speak during the four-week course.
Morehouse alumnus Thomas G. Sampson ’68, a recipient of the Bennie Trailblazer Award, one of the highest recognitions bestowed on alumni by the College, also served as a guest lecturer for the course, which is open to those who continue learning into their retirement years.
Sampson, who attended Morehouse during the civil rights years, recalled the challenges of those times and talked about coming of age during the wake of sweeping changes in American society.
He was senior in 1968 and remembered Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral service, as well as the remarkable eulogy delivered that day by Dr. Mays. Sampson also emphasized how Morehouse uniquely nurtures its students and provides an environment for developing confidence and great expectations.
Following graduation, Sampson became the only African American in his law school class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He graduated in 1971 and later established Thomas, Kennedy, Sampson and Tompkins, LLP, Georgia’s oldest minority-owned law firm.
The OLLI history course will also offer sessions on other AUC partners and study the overall impact of the AUC “on our city, the nation, and the world.” According to the OLLI catalog, Morehouse College and its partnering AUC institutions “comprise a vital educational complex in Atlanta.”