Morgan State University

Morgan State University
Morgan State University Logo.svg
Former names
Centenary Biblical Institute
Morgan College
Morgan State College
Motto Growing the Future, Leading the World
Type Public, HBCU
Established 1867; 153 years ago (1867)
Endowment $32.9 million (2017)[1][2][3]
Chairman Kweisi Mfume
President David Wilson
Provost Lesia L. Crumpton-Young
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 7,763[4]
Undergraduates 6,461[4]
Postgraduates 1,302[4]
Location , ,
United States

39°20′38″N 76°35′06″W / 39.344°N 76.585°W / 39.344; -76.585Coordinates: 39°20′38″N 76°35′06″W / 39.344°N 76.585°W / 39.344; -76.585
Campus Urban, 143 acres (0.58 km2)
Newspaper The Spokesman [5]
Colors Blue and Orange[6]
Nickname Bears
Sporting affiliations
National Collegiate Athletic Association
NCAA Division IMid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC)

Morgan State University (MSU, Morgan State, or Morgan) is a public historically black research university in Baltimore, Maryland. It is the largest of Maryland's HBCUs. In 1867, the university, then known as the Centenary Biblical Institute, changed its name to Morgan College to honor Reverend Lyttleton Morgan, the first chairman of its board of trustees and a land donor to the college.[7] It became a university in 1975. MSU is a member of Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Although a public institution, MSU is not part of the University System of Maryland. It is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".[8]


Presidents of Morgan State University
Centenary Biblical Institute
1869–1882 J. Emory Round, D.D.
1882–1888 W. Maslin Frysinger, D.D.
Morgan College
1888–1901 John J. Wagner, D.D.
1901–1902 Charles Edmond Young, D.D. (acting)
1902–1937 John O. Spencer, PhD, LL.D.
Morgan State College
1937–1948 Dwight O.W. Holmes, PhD, LL.D.
1948–1970 Martin D. Jenkins, PhD, LL.D.
1970–1971 Thomas P. Fraser, II PhD (interim)
1971–1974 King Virgil Cheek, J.D.
1974–1975 Thomas P. Fraser, PhD
Morgan State University
1975–1984 Andrew Billingsley, PhD
1984–2010 Earl S. Richardson, Ed.D.
2010–present David Wilson, Ed.D.

Morgan State University (MSU) is a historically black college in Baltimore, Maryland. It was founded in 1867 as the Centenary Biblical Institute, a Methodist Episcopal seminary, to train young men in the ministry. At the time of his death, Thomas Kelso, cofounder and president of the board of directors, endowed the Male Free School and Colored Institute through a legacy of his estate.[9][10][11] It later broadened its mission to educate both men and women as teachers. The school was renamed Morgan College in 1890 in honor of the Reverend Lyttleton Morgan, the first chairman of its board of trustees, who donated land to the college.[7] In 1895, the institution awarded its first baccalaureate degree to George W. F. McMechen, after whom the building of the school of business and management is named today. George F. McMechen later obtained a law degree from Yale University and later became one of Morgan's main financial supporters.[12]

In 1915 Andrew Carnegie gave the school a grant of $50,000 for a central academic building. The terms of the grant included the purchase of a new site for the College, payment of all outstanding obligations, and the construction of a building to be named after him. The College met the conditions and moved to its present site in northeast Baltimore in 1917. Then a controversy exploded: in 1918, the white community of Lauraville was incensed that the Ivy Mill property, where Morgan was to be built, had been sold to a "negro" college. It attempted to have the sale revoked by filing suit in the circuit court in Towson, which dismissed the suit. They then appealed the case to the state Court of Appeals.[13] The appellate court upheld the lower court decision, finding no basis that siting the college at this location would constitute a public nuisance.[14] Despite some ugly threats and several demonstrations against the project, Morgan College was allowed to be constructed at the new site and later expanded. Carnegie Hall, the oldest original building on the present MSU campus, was erected a year later.

Morgan remained a private institution until 1939. That year, the state of Maryland purchased the school in response to a state study that determined that Maryland needed to provide more opportunities for its black citizens. Morgan College became Morgan State College. In 1975, Morgan added several doctoral programs and its board of directors petitioned the Maryland Legislature to be granted university status.

21st century construction

In the 21st century, the school has seen the construction of a new student union, two dedicated parking garages, the Earl S. Richardson Library, the Dixon Research Center, the Communications Building, and the Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies. The latter two buildings, plus one of the two parking garages, are in the far north of the campus, connected by a new Communications Bridge over Herring Run. The central quad was also rebuilt, completed in early 2012, and includes a direct connection between the two main bridges on campus and many new bicycle racks. The Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center has also become a much used venue for plays and concerts that come to Baltimore, and is also the home of a museum of African-American art. In September 2012, Morgan State opened its doors to the Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies (CBEIS) which now houses the School of Architecture and Planning, School of Transportation Studies, and the School of Engineering. Lastly, the university's new Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management opened its doors in September 2015 near the Northwood Shopping Center; expanding the contiguous campus to the west of Hillen Road for the first time and housing the School of Business and Management.

New student union building


The historic Holmes Hall

Morgan awards Baccalaureate, Master's and Doctorate degrees. More than 7,698[4] students are enrolled at Morgan. Recently, emphasis has been placed on the urban orientation of the university. This emphasis has been incorporated into the graduate programs. At the graduate level, the university offers the Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Engineering, and Doctor of Public Health.


As of the fall 2019, there are 6,491 undergraduates and 1,302 graduate students enrolled at Morgan, about 30% were non-Maryland residents, including many from foreign countries, like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Nigeria. The largest sources of its enrollment outside of Maryland are New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. [15]

Schools and colleges

The university operates twelve colleges, schools and institutes.

  • College of Liberal Arts
  • School of Business and Management
  • School of Education and Urban Studies
  • School of Engineering
  • School of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
  • School of Graduate Studies
  • School of Architecture and Planning
  • School of Community Health and Policy
  • Patuxent Environmental & Aquatic Research Laboratory
  • School of Social Work
  • School of Global Journalism and Communication
  • Dr. Clara Adams Honors College
Holmes Hall (built in 1952) houses the College of Liberal Arts

The College of Liberal Arts is the largest academic division at the university. In addition to offering a wide variety of degree programs, it also offers a large portion of the courses in the General Education Requirements. The College of Liberal Arts offers three Doctoral Programs (PhD), six Masters of Arts (MA), two Masters of Science (MS), eleven Bachelor of Arts (BA), two Bachelor of Science (BS), one Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), and twenty-three minors, all in topics such as Economics, English, History, African American Studies, East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, Latinx studies, Military Science, Philosophy, Screenwriting, Sociology, and World Languages, among others. [16]

The College of Liberal Arts hosts also two museums: James E. Lewis Museum of Art and Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum. The James E. Lewis Museum of Art (JELMA) is the cultural extension of Morgan State University's Fine Arts academic program. The Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum illustrates the last recorded lynching in Maryland. Lillie Carroll Jackson, Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., Juanita Jackson Mitchell, Carl Murphy, Thurgood Marshall, Margaret Carey, and their many allies worked to end lynching and other racial injustices in the United States.

The Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management (GSBM) is named in honor of alumnus Earl G. Graves, Sr. and is housed in the Graves School of Business and Management building, which was opened for the Fall Semester 2015 at the western edge of the campus. It is a state-of-the-art classroom, laboratory, office building, with rooms for hospitality management students to operate. The GSBM offers Bachelor of Science degrees, a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Science, and a PhD degree. These programs are accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

The School of Education and Urban Studies is located in Banneker Hall. The school offers undergraduate and Masters-level degree programs.

Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. School of Engineering building

The School of Engineering admitted its first class starting in 1984. The first graduates received degrees in 1988. Eugene M. DeLoatch is the first Dean of the School of Engineering. He accepted the position and left Howard University, where he had been the Chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering. Dr. DeLoatch retired in 2016. His successor is Dr. Michael G. Spencer who was a professor of electrical engineering at Cornell University.

The Morgan State University, School of Engineering has ABET-accredited undergraduate programs. The school also offers graduate programs that confer the Master of Engineering Degree, Doctor of Engineering Degree, and Master of Transportation Degree.

By 1991, the construction of the 35,000 sq ft (3,300 m2) Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. School of Engineering building was completed, and the facility included sixteen teaching laboratories and five research laboratories. The William Donald Schaefer Building is a 40,000 sq ft (3,700 m2) addition to the Engineering School and was completed in April 1998. The facility provided instructional laboratories, classrooms, a student lounge, research laboratories and a 2,200 sq ft (200 m2) library annex. Morgan State University's School of Engineering graduates more than two-thirds of the state's African-American Civil Engineers, 60 percent of the African-American Electrical Engineers, 80 percent of the African-American Telecommunications specialists, more than one-third of the African-American Mathematicians, and all of Maryland's Industrial Engineers.[17]

In 1997, it is the only HBCU to establish accredited Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and City and Regional Planning programs. A plan was announced by Earl Richardson in 2005 for the program to establish school status and it was designated as the School of Architecture and Planning (S+AP) in 2008.[18] The Center of Built and Environmental Studies (CBEIS) was designed by Hord Coplan and Macht in association with the Freelon Group. They began construction in 2010 to house all of the related majors and the building has been declared one of the most impressive, environmentally friendly university buildings in the world.[19] In 2018, Mary Anne Akers submitted a proposal to the Maryland Higher Education Commission to advocate for the School of Architecture and Planning to pioneer the first Interior Design baccalaureate program in Maryland, its first graduating class was in May of 2020.[20]


The Earl S. Richardson Library's is the main academic information resource center on the campus. The new building covers approximately 222,517 square feet which opened in 2008. The library's holding constitutes over 500,000 volumes, and access to over 1 million e-books and 5,000 periodical titles. There are 167 online databases that are subscribed to the Library. Reading and studying spaces are provided with wired and wireless access to databases for research.[21] One such collection in the volumes includes books on Africa, with an emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. The African-American collection is a body of historically significant and current books by and about African Americans and includes papers and memorabilia of such persons as the late Emmett P. Scott, secretary to Booker T. Washington, and Arthur J. Smith, who was associated with the Far East Consular Division of the State Department. The Forbush Collection, named for Bliss Forbush, is composed of materials associated with the Quakers and slavery. The Martin D. Jenkins Collection was acquired in 1980. Together, these collections provide both a contemporary and historical view of African Americans in education, military service, politics, and religion. The Library is located fronting Hillen Road. The beautiful building includes a multi-story lobby, lounges private group study rooms, meeting rooms, a technology-enhanced instruction room, computer laboratory, and other computers in many locations.[21]

Student life and activities

Residential facilities

Approximately 2,000 students are housed in four traditional residence halls, two high rise buildings and three apartment complexes. Baldwin Hall, Cummings Hall, Harper-Tubman House and O'Connell House are traditional style housing.

  • Baldwin (Freshman & transfer females)
  • Cummings (freshman & transfer males)
  • Harper-Tubman (preferred honors co-ed)
  • O'Connell Hall (freshman male)

Blount Towers (all female classifications) and Rawlings Hall (all male classifications) are high-rise (six to eight floors) residence halls. Thurgood Marshall (freshman & transfer males) is an apartment style complex located on-campus. Both Morgan View Apartments and Marble Hall Gardens are the co-ed upper-class apartment style residence hall complexes located off-campus. Morgan View is a privatized facility that caters to Morgan State students.


Morgan's athletic teams are known as the Bears, and they compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Between 1926 and 1928, a young Charles Drew served as Athletic Director. During this time he made great improvements in the school's teams' records.[22] From the 1930s through 1960s, led by coach and then athletic director Edward P. Hurt, Morgan's athletic teams were legendary. More than thirty of its football players were drafted by and played in the NFL[23] and many of its track athletes competed internationally and received world-class status. By the late 1960s most white colleges and universities ended their segregation against black high school students[24] and many top black high school students and athletes started matriculating to schools from which they had been barred just a decade prior. While achieving a national goal of desegregation, integration depleted the athletic strength of schools like Morgan and Grambling State University. For example, the annual contest between Morgan and Grambling played in New York City in the late 1960s drew more than 60,000 fans.[25] Today, the two teams do not even play each other and Morgan's home football games rarely draw as many as 10,000 fans with the exception of the school's homecoming game. Morgan State archrivals are the Howard University Bison (the matchup is often called the Battle of the Beltway) and the Coppin State Eagles.

Hill Field House, Morgan's indoor athletic venue

By 1975 Morgan became noted for its lacrosse team. Lacrosse, a sport that, up until then, had been dominated by white athletes. Black high school lacrosse players in Maryland and New York still had trouble getting into non-black schools. Morgan was the first—and, until the turn of the 20th century, the only—historically black university to field a lacrosse team.[13]
Several members of the team now coach lacrosse in local high schools. Tony Fulton and Curt Anderson were elected to the Maryland House of Delegates. Miles Harrison and Coach Howard "Chip" Silverman collaborated on the book, Ten Bears; which is being made into a movie.

In 2005 students organized a lacrosse club which plays other college's lacrosse clubs, but the team has yet to qualify to become an NCAA-sanctioned team.[26] The University will not allow the new club team to use any of its fields or facilities. The club team has played more than twenty games in the last three years, most of them "away" because of the Bears' lack of a home field, locker rooms or visiting team amenities.

In 2009, the Morgan State men's basketball team won the MEAC regular season and tournament championship and qualified for the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. In their first tournament appearance, the 15th-seeded Bears lost to the 2008–09 Oklahoma Sooners men's basketball team Oklahoma Sooners, 82–54, in the first round of the South Regional.[27]

In 2010 the Morgan State men's basketball team again won the MEAC regular season and tournament championship[28] and qualified for the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, again as a 15 seed. Morgan State lost to West Virginia University in the first round by a score of 77–50.[29]

More than two hundred male and female Morgan State athletes have been inducted into the Morgan State University Hall of Fame including National Football League Hall of Famers Rosey Brown, Leroy Kelly and Willie Lanier, two-time Olympic Gold medalist George Rhoden, and the coach of the legendary Ten Bears lacrosse team Howard "Chip" Silverman.


Morgan State University Choir.jpg

The Morgan State University Choir is one of the nation's most prestigious university choral ensembles and was led for more than three decades by the late Dr. Nathan Carter, celebrated conductor, composer, and arranger. The groups that are subdivisions of the critically acclaimed choir include the University Choir, which is over 140 voices strong, and The Morgan Singers (approximately 40 voices). While classical, gospel, and contemporary popular music comprise the majority of the choir's repertoire, the choir is noted for its emphasis on preserving the heritage of the spiritual, especially in the historic practices of performance. The Morgan State University Choir has performed for audiences throughout the United States and all over the world—including The Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Canary Islands, Canada, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Their most recent international appearance was in Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the invitation of Maestro Yuri Temirkanov, music director and conductor for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In Russia, the Choir performed in the 5th International Festival Arts Square and was received enthusiastically by their Russian audiences. The Choir has appeared at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City on numerous occasions, performing and premiering works such as John Corigliano's "Poem On His Birthday," "Too Hot to Handel" arranged by Broadway composers Bob Christianson and Gary Anderson[30] and Hannibal Lokumbe's "African Portraits", led by music director Leonard Slatkin, as part of the Kennedy Center's African Festival. One of the Choir's most historic moments came with the opportunity to sing under the baton of Robert Shaw, conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke's and joined by Jessye Norman and others in Carnegie Hall's One Hundredth Birthday Tribute to Marian Anderson. A major milestone and historical movement occurred during the 1996–1997 season with the sounds of the "Silver Anniversary" concert being broadcast into households throughout the state of Maryland. The concert won three Emmy Awards for Maryland Public Television (MPT). MPT continues to air this hallmark performance during select sections of their membership drives. In 1993, the choir joined actor James Earl Jones in a performance of the Star-Spangled Banner at the 1993 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, broadcast on CBS.

When at home, the choir performs here at the Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center

Known for its consistency of performances, the Choir probably does more annual appearances with major orchestras of the United States than any other university choir. For example, the 1998–1999 season included performances with the National Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. During the 1999–2000 season, the Choir was featured with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a then-newly commissioned work for the millennium, "All Rise", by Wynton Marsalis. The Choir reprised "All Rise" in Prague, in October 2000 and recorded it with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and, in 2003, the Choir recorded the piece in Paris, France. In December 2003 the Choir performed "African Portraits" with the Baltimore Symphony at the Gala Concert for the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. In their May 2004 issue, Reader's Digest named the Morgan State University Choir as the "Best College Choir" in its list of "America's 100 Best".[31]


The Morgan State University Band Program consists of six ensembles: the marching band, symphonic band, symphonic winds, pep band, jazz ensemble, and jazz combo. Self-titled the Magnificent Marching Machine, the marching band has performed at MSU football games, NFL games, Presidential Inaugurations, World Series games and in regional and local television appearances.[32] The band also made a cameo appearance in the 2003 American movie Head of State and appeared on The Skyshow, a television show featuring Tom Joyner.

The Morgan State Marching Band performing during halftime at the Rutgers University-Morgan State football game in Piscataway, New Jersey (September 2008)
1977 photo of Morgan State University Marching Band

On November 28, 2019, the Magnificent Marching Machine, made its first-ever appearance the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.[33]

Greek life

Morgan State University has chapters from each of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations.

NPHC organizations at Morgan State
(in order of establishment)
Organization Chapter name
Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity Beta Alpha
Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority Alpha Delta
Delta Sigma Theta sorority Alpha Gamma
Iota Phi Theta fraternity Alpha
Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity Alpha Iota
Omega Psi Phi fraternity Pi
Phi Beta Sigma fraternity Gamma
Sigma Gamma Rho sorority Beta Tau
Zeta Phi Beta sorority Gamma

Morgan State University houses a variety of other fraternal organizations. These organizations are a part of the Council of Independent Organizations (CIO).[34]

Council of Independent Organizations
Organization Chapter name
Alpha Nu Omega fraternity Alpha
Alpha Nu Omega sorority Alpha
Groove Phi Groove social fellowship Mother Bear[35]
Kappa Kappa Psi national honorary band fraternity Eta Gamma
Malika Kambe Umfazi sorority Njeri Zubari Queendom[36]
Pershing Angels sorority Company J-8-5
Pershing Rifles fraternity Company J-8
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity Pi Eta
Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity for women Kappa Xi
Sigma Delta Pi National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society Xi Xi[37]
Swing Phi Swing social fellowship Marali Nubia Bear[38]
Tau Beta Sigma national honorary band sorority Epsilon Omega[39]
Delta Chi Xi honorary dance fraternity Zeta

Notable alumni and faculty


Alumni of Morgan State University have achieved notability in the fields of athletics, science, government, law and the military including four members of the NFL Football Hall of Fame (Willie Lanier, Roosevelt Brown, Leroy Kelly, and Len Ford), Black Enterprise Magazine publisher Earl Graves, the Chief Judge of Maryland's highest court, Clarence Dunnaville, lawyer and civil rights activist, nearly a dozen U.S. Army Generals including Lieutenant General William "Kip" Ward, the first Commanding Officer of the United States Africa Command, The New York Times sports columnist William C. Rhoden, playwright, TV producer, and entrepreneur David E. Talbert, and American-Israeli Olympic sprinter Donald Sanford. Civil rights activist and music critic for the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper Adah Jenkins graduated from Morgan State.


Former faculty member, Ernest Lyon was a United States Ambassador to Liberia and the founder of the Maryland Industrial and Agricultural Institute for Colored Youths.[40] Notable faculty currently teaching at Morgan State University include bestselling author and filmmaker MK Asante, and scholar Raymond Winbush, and African-American historian Rosalyn Terborg-Penn.