1865 – 1881 / Education: A Newly Found Freedom


  • Atlanta University is founded by the American Missionary Association.


  • Morehouse College is established as Augusta Institute in the basement of Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.


  • Clark College is founded as Clark University by the Freedmen’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which later became the United Methodist Church.


  • Clark University chartered (renamed Clark College in 1940)


  • Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary opens with eleven students in the Friendship Baptist Church. The Seminary would later be named Spelman College.
  • Morris Brown College is established “for the Christian education of Negro boys and girls in Atlanta” at Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

1912-1961 / Poised for Collaboration


  • Atlanta Federation of Schools is organized by Atlanta University, Clark College, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, and Gammon Theological Seminary.


  • First joint course is offered between Morehouse College and Atlanta University.


  • Atlanta University, Morehouse, and Spelman appoint a joint committee to formally discuss “Interchange of Class Work”.


  • Beginning of the AUC Affiliation: Atlanta University, Morehouse & Spelman Colleges sign the Articles of Affiliation.


  • $450K Rockefeller Grant for the Trevor Arnett Library received.


  • Trevor Arnett Library built to serve affiliated colleges.


  • Study conducted of academic programs, facilities, and their relationship to the AUC.


  • Management consultant study conducted to address issues of organization and administration.


  • Clark College and Morris Brown College join the AUC affiliation.


  • Four historically black seminaries in Atlanta consolidate to form the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC).


  • The ITC joins the AUC affiliation.


  • $1 Million Rockefeller Grant received.

1964 – 1971 / The Rise of AUC, Inc.


  • AUC, Inc. is created for administrative management.


  • Prince Wilson becomes the first Executive Director of AUC, Inc.
  • The Centralized Career Planning and Placement Center is established


  • Computer Science & Information Technology Department is created.


  • The Dual Degree Engineering Program is established with Georgia Institute of Technology.


  • Study conducted of the AUC by the Academy For Educational Development, funded by the Ford Foundation.

1972 – 2003 / Era of Expansion


  • Major reorganization of the AUC occurs.


  • Lisle C. Carter, Jr. becomes the first AUC Chancellor.


  • The School of Medicine at Morehouse College is founded.


  • Charles W. Merideth becomes the second AUC Chancellor.
  • AUC Presidents make decisions leading to establish the Robert W. Woodruff Library.


  • Morehouse School of Medicine becomes independent from Morehouse College.


  • Dolphus E. Milligan Science Institute building is constructed.
  • The Robert W. Woodruff Library is constructed.


  • AUC, Inc. leads science and technology delegation to Beijing, China.
  • Morehouse School of Medicine joins the AUC affiliation.


  • Touche Ross and Co. review of the operations of AUC, Inc.


  • Administrative Council Interim Report to the Executive Committee of the AUC, entitled “The Improvement of the Organization and Operation of the AUC, Inc.”


  • Calvert Smith drafts the “Conceptual Framework for the Reorganization of the AUC, Inc.”
  • Leroy Keith drafts the “AUC, Inc. Administrative Structure”.
  • Atlanta University Center Board of Trustees authorize the AUC Administrative Council to recommend an administrative structure for AUC, Inc.
  • Clark College and Atlanta University merge to form Clark Atlanta University.


  • Major reorganization of AUC, Inc. occurs. Position of Chancellor is changed to Executive Director/Chief Operating Officer.


  • Samuel Nabrit becomes Interim AUC Executive Director.
  • Center-wide shuttle service begins.


  • Joseph E. Thompson becomes the first Executive Director of AUC, Inc.


  • Robert W. Woodruff Library undergoes an automation/renovation project.


  • Planning begins for the AUC Olympic Promenade/Pedestrian Corridor.
  • Career Planning and Placement and Dual Degree Engineering Program relocate to the Milligan Building.


  • Center-wide Advanced Technology Information Center is established.


  • Center-wide Orchestra Program is implemented.


  • Samuel D. Jolley becomes the second Executive Director of AUC, Inc.


  • Dual Enrollment Partnership is established with the Atlanta Public Schools.


  • The PGA Golf for Business and Life Program begins.
  • West End Community Academy Charter School opens.


  • Robert W. Woodruff Library is established as a separate entity from AUC, Inc.
  • AUC, Inc. is dissolved.

2004 – 2007 / The Rise of AUC Consortium, Inc.


  • Marilyn T. Jackson becomes the third, and first woman Executive Director of the AUC.
  • Sale of AUC, Inc. property to Morehouse College and Spelman College.
  • AUC Consortium, Inc. established to replace the defunct AUC, Inc.


  • AUC Consortium, Inc. relocates to a new campus location.


  • The new AUC Consortium, Inc. infrastructure is implemented.
  • AUC Consortium Council of Presidents held the first Community Stakeholder Meeting.

2008 – 2010 / A Renewed Vision for the Community


  • AUC Consortium and community stakeholders began collaborating to revitalize the neighborhood.


  • Morehouse School of Medicine, on behalf of AUC Consortium, awarded $500,000 planning grant from U.S. Department of Education to establish Atlanta Promise Neighborhood.

2011 – / AUC Consortium Charts a New Course


  • Dr. Sherry L. Turner becomes the fourth Executive Director/ CEO of AUC Consortium, Inc. Her entrance signals the era of a renewed spirit of unity among the member institutions and a collective pledge to promote positive social transformation and revitalization of the community.
  • The AUC Consortium members schools and its partners complete the Atlanta Promise Neighborhood strategic plan which included a continuum of solutions to enhance educational, health and social development outcomes for children and families living on Atlanta’s west side.
  • AUC Consortium announces new organizational structure under which it will operate. The Office of Academic and Career Services is established as an administrative umbrella for the Dual Degree Engineering Program and the Career Planning and Placement Service.


  • AUC Consortium launches Communiversity and its inaugural Community Leadership Development Program.

Historical Overview

The Atlanta University Center Consortium, Inc., located in the heart of metropolitan Atlanta, is the world’s largest consortia of African American private institutions of higher education. Originally formed in 1929, the Consortium is a nonprofit organization that operates on behalf of its member institutions: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College.

With very humble beginnings, established at various times in history, primarily to educate newly freed slaves at the end of the Civil War through the Reconstruction era, each member institution has a distinguished legacy of excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. Today, enrolling more than 10,000 students collectively each year, one common goal continues to bind the Consortium members together; to provide the finest undergraduate, graduate and professional training possible to its students.

Atlanta University, founded in 1865 and Clark College founded in 1869, merged to form Clark Atlanta University in 1988, a leading private, historically black doctoral research university. Morehouse College, established in 1867, is the nation’s largest private liberal arts college for men. Formed in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective liberal arts college for women. The Consortium’s newest member institution, Morehouse School of Medicine was formed in 1974 and is one of the nation’s most widely recognized community based medical schools. Because of the close proximity of the institutions, the boards of trustees and presidents of the colleges began to assess ways in which they could utilize their services and resources more effectively and efficiently. Thus, the Atlanta University Center Consortium was formed to coordinate and manage the cooperative efforts of various programs and services offered by the colleges. While no longer members of the Consortium, Morris Brown College founded in 1881, and the Interdenominational Theological Center founded in 1958, are largely significant to the Consortium’s rich legacy.

The long-established history of collaboration that exists among member institutions allows students, faculty and staff to benefit from an expanded and enhanced educational environment. Some distinguishing collaborative efforts of the Consortium include cross-registration, a Dual Degree Engineering Program, center-wide Career Planning and Placement Services, and the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library. Renovated in 1992 and reorganized in 2003, the library is a modern information and research center designed to meet the diverse needs of the AUC community.

Consortium member schools have graduated a number of distinguished scholars throughout the years. Some of the most notable are Marian Wright Edelman, Esther Rolle, Pearl Cleage and Keisha Knight Pulliam (Spelman College); Martin Luther King, Jr., Julian Bond, Spike Lee, Edwin Moses, and Samuel L. Jackson (Morehouse College); James Weldon Johnson, Amanda Davis, and Emmanuel Lewis (Clark Atlanta University), and Regina Benjamin (Morehouse School of Medicine).

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