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).
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.