After two decades, Morris Brown College regains full accreditation
After 20 years of operating as an unaccredited institution, Morris Brown College has achieved full accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.
Morris Brown’s “Hard Reset”, the nickname current president Dr. Kevin James gave his way back to accreditation, will open a new chapter for the school.
“We are now working to increase endowments and our enrollment,” James said at a press conference announcing the school’s full accreditation. “Anyone interested in Morris Brown College, it’s an amazing place.”
As a fully accredited institution, Morris Brown has been reinstated into the federal financial aid program. Students will be able to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for Federal Loans and Work-Study Federal Jobs.
Morris Brown stakeholders have highlighted the school’s affordability at $4,250 per semester, making it the least expensive school in the Atlanta University Center Consortium.
James highlighted the school’s 141-year history in educating young black minds and thanked those who have worked over the past 20 years to keep Morris Brown’s doors open.
James enthusiastically praised the support of Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, chairman of Morris Brown’s board of directors. Founded by Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Morris Brown has relied on the support of the AME Church throughout its long history.
At last Friday’s press conference, James told the story of the founding of the school. Stewart Wiley, a layman, suggested at a church meeting that the congregation start its own quorum.
“These words ignited a flame in Bishop Wesley John Gaines, a former slave, who stood up and said, ‘With God’s help, we can and we will!'” James said.
James added that the school started with just 107 students and nine faculty members, but has grown into a renowned institution. He also praised the efforts of his predecessor, Dr Stanley Pritchett. Pritchett led the school for most of its years as an unaccredited institution, from 2002 to 2018.
Shermanetta Carter, Finance Director of Morris Brown, was also named as one of the key people responsible for helping James turn the school’s finances around.
“On my first day on the job, I was walking around this campus talking out loud to God and I said, ‘God help me. How am I going to beat a $35 million bankruptcy? “Said James.
“Loss of land, loss of students, loss of reputation? And God said to me, ‘Use what you have.’”
Risha Clark, who serves as Miss Morris Brown College, said she was almost moved to tears when she heard the news.
“I’ve been waiting for this for 20 years,” Clark said. She first dated Morris Brown from 1997 to 1999 and returned in 2019 to complete her studies.
“I saw the school at its peak back then, and now I can represent the school at its new height,” Clark continued.
Lazaro Nightingale, student body president at Morris Brown, told The Atlanta Voice that when he was in middle school and high school, he had teachers who graduated from Morris Brown and that he is proud to be part of the legacy of school.
“It took a long time to come; we were waiting to show the greatness that Morris Brown College can bring in the future,” Nightingale said.
Dozens of Morris Brown alumni returned to campus for the press conference and the school’s accreditation celebration.
“It was a journey, but it was wonderful. It allowed me to become who I am today. There are things I learned here that are lessons I carry with me to this day. said Mary Crosby, Class of 1989.
Nafeesah Madyun, Class of 1969, said she came out of her shell during her time at university and was happy that more students had the opportunity to have the experience.
“I’m so excited and overwhelmed,” Madyun said. “It’s like crossing the finish line.”
Miss Junior Morris Brown, Jarai Boykins, said she was delighted that her school had regained accreditation after 20 years.
“When I came here from Memphis in 2019, I had a lot of judgment from people for going to a school without accreditation,” Boykins said.
Enrollment at Morris Brown was around 2,000 students before the school lost its accreditation in 2002. Since then, enrollment has remained around 50 students.