A Clarion Call – Stepping Up Now AND Later for Morehouse College

This is the first of a two-part note to Alumni from Kevin McGee, President of the Morehouse College Alumni Association.


The announcement of President Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States changed the world forever. Whether people loved or hated the new leader of the free world, they understood that the course of history took a turn when America elected this young, black scholar as its leader. We all knew that the name Barack Obama would be forever scored in history – and not just because of his job. He was and is the symbol of a metaphorical “overcoming.”

Fast-forward to January 2013, and the announcement of President Barack Obama’s appearance at the College’s 2013 commencement. With this announcement came international exposure for Morehouse – and there is so much more exposure to come. I have received numerous calls asking about opportunities to see the POTUS. Alumni have joined and paid lifetime dues in hopes that they’ll get the opportunity to see him. Many people in Atlanta, undoubtedly including some of our alumni, will use their connections to get a glimpse of the most powerful man in the world.

This historic engagement has most certainly served as a call to action to the alumni community; but, Morehouse has needed the help of her alumni since her inception. That hasn’t changed in over a century. Soon we will celebrate our sesquicentennial and reflect on our 150 years of existence. We will think about and reflect upon the great men and women of Morehouse’s past and use their achievements as benchmarks to help chart our future.

As I considered our institution’s greatness, I was pleased to find a quote from President Obama that lends some insight into his perspective of greatness. The following is from his 2009 inaugural address:

“Greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those that prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor — who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.” –President Barack Obama

Getting to greatness, according to President Obama, is a matter of commitment and hard work. We know this to be truth, so it is no wonder that getting the College to its greatest state yet will require diligence, as well. The President’s visit has already provided our alumni with the spark they needed to reconnect with their alma mater. However, once graduation is over and the commencement address has been given, maintaining that spark, continuing that commitment, will be key to Morehouse moving further toward its destined greatness.

As alumni we have to be proactive in our support of our alma mater. Perhaps we should follow the advice of our commander in chief and carry the College up the “long, rugged path toward prosperity.” Let’s be the doers. Let’s be the risk takers and workers who do not look for recognition and fame but who earnestly wish to help others.


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