HBCU lovers across the world are smiling from ear to ear after Morris Brown College (MBC) announced it received accreditation candidacy on Tuesday, April 13. “It’s a new day for Morris Brown College,” the school’s President Dr. Kevin James said of the moment that’s been 20 years in the making.
Founded in 1881, Morris Brown originally lost its accreditation in 2002 as a result of debt and financial mismanagement. Students left the institution in droves and it nearly closed. It has been functioning with a few dozen students and many volunteer faculty and staff since.
The college created new academic programs, raised money and rebuilt student services to achieve the feat, according to 11Alive. “We were able to hold on all of these years by a thread and a lot of people had written us off. They didn’t think that Morris Brown would ever be able to bounce back,” James told 11Alive.
The school first announced its intent to become the first HBCU to win back accreditation 20 years after losing it in 2019. Its application with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) as approved in November 2020.
Now that the school has candidacy it can apply for funding from the federal government and has been deemed to be in compliance with the accrediting bodies standards and criteria.
“We are elated about accreditation candidacy and making history. I want to thank all the faculty and staff for their hard work. We intend on making history as the first HBCU to regain its status after a 20-year hiatus and the first HBCU to have a flagged hotel on its campus for a hospitality education program,” James said in a press release. “Without the resilience, support, and prayers from the Board of Trustees, African Methodist Episcopal church, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community, we would not be here.
The 140-year-old institution is now accepting applications for Fall admissions and seeking volunteer faculty to help it rebuild. It offers programs in business, entrepreneurship, music, esports, hospitality, management, etc.
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Graduates from other HBCUs, including schools in the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Consortium – which Morris Brown withdrew from after losing its accreditation – celebrated the school’s victory and said they looked forward to welcoming them back into the fold.
“After nearly 20 years, Morris Brown College has become a candidate for ACCREDITATION! It has always been my humble opinion that the AUC is not the SAME without Morris Brown College. While we laugh and joke amongst each other, about who has the best school, the reality is…ALL of our schools are the epicenter of #BlackExcellence,” Iva Marshon Williams wrote on Facebook along with a link to the news.
“The AUC produces GREATNESS…we are the VOLTRON of HBCU’s! I can’t wait for the day that Morris Brown College is playing football/basketball games against CAU,” Williams continued.
“Morris Brown is BACK,” author and FAMU grad Tracey Jackson wrote. “I’m here for Morris Brown and their accreditation!!! I’m so happy,” CAU grad Sean Palmer added.
“Morris Brown. That’s the tweet. I remember watching and episode United Shades of America and they were visiting different HBCU’s. They visited Morris Brown and one of the older professors said were going to open the school back up, I’m not giving up. And wow, they did it,” @sydsyddy tweeted.
While TRACS stressed that candidacy simply means in institution has “the potential to achieve accreditation within the prescribed five-year period,” James told 11Alive he is optimistic Morris will receive full accreditation at the end of the prescribed five-year probationary period.
“I anticipate this institution being fully restored, fully accredited. I anticipate us being one of the strongest historically Black colleges in the state of Georgia,” James said.
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