The Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUC Consortium) is the largest contiguous consortium of African Americans in higher education in the United States. The center consists of four historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in southwest Atlanta, Georgia. The institutions included in this consortium are Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College and the Morehouse School of Medicine. The consortium structure allows for students to cross-register at the other institutions in order to attain a broader collegiate experience. They also share the Robert W. Woodruff Library, a Dual Degree Engineering Program and Career Planning and Placement Services.
The Atlanta University Center (AUC) was created in April 1929, when John Hope, then president of both Morehouse College and Atlanta University saw the potential gains from such a consortium. The former Atlanta University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College signed the affiliation agreement and became the original members of the AUC. Clark College and Morris Brown College joined in 1957, followed by the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in 1959. Morehouse School of Medicine joined the AUC in 1983. Morris Brown ended its affiliation when the school lost its accreditation in 2002.
The Atlanta University Center has undergone several administrative and governance changes since its inception. In 2004, the business operating as AUC, Inc. was dissolved. A new corporation, known as the AUC Consortium, Inc., was established in its place and Marilyn Jackson became the first female Executive Director. In 2011, the current Executive Director, Dr. Sherry Turner, was selected to expand the Consortium’s community revitalization efforts.
To be eligible for membership in the AUC Consortium, a college or university must be regionally accredited, maintain tax-exempt status, and pay a membership assessment. Morris Brown College was a member of the AUC Consortium until it lost its accreditation and federal funding in 2002 during the 1998–2002 tenure of Dr. Dolores E. Cross as school president.
The ITC, while still fully operational and eligible for membership, is not currently a member.
The AUC campuses are located in the Atlanta University Center District, near downtown Atlanta southwest of the Georgia Dome.
In 1969, AUC institutions established a dual degree engineering program that allow undergraduates students to receive two degrees in approximately five years. Students must first complete a science, technology or mathematics curriculum at an AUC institution, followed by the completion of an engineering curriculum at the engineering institution. Upon successful completing both curricula, students earn two degrees: a Bachelor of Science degree awarded by an AUC institution, and a Bachelor of Science degree in a specific engineering discipline from the affiliated engineering institution. Engineering institutions affiliated with DDEP include Georgia Institute of Technology, Auburn University, Clarkson University, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of Michigan, North Carolina A&T State University, and University of Notre Dame. Since its inception, over 1,100 students have successfully completed the dual degree program. Morehouse and Spelman never offered engineering degrees which is common among liberal arts colleges. Clark Atlanta's leadership voted to end its engineering program in 2003 to help alleviate a budget deficient.
Olive Branch is a long-standing tradition where new first-year students from Clark Atlanta, Morehouse, and Spelman gather for an AUC unity ceremony and celebration every August before the beginning of the fall semester.
Spelman and Morehouse annually host their homecoming festivities in the same week. The parallel homecoming activities are traditionally referred to as "SpelHouse Homecoming." Clark Atlanta usually hosts their homecoming festivities separate from Spelman and Morehouse. Homecomings significantly contribute to the cultural identity of the AUC and annually attract tens of thousands of alumni, students, special guests, and visitors. Homecomings always occur during the fall semester.
Two denominational campus ministry centers have been established to serve the students of the Atlanta University Center. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta operates the Lyke House Catholic Student Center, and the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta operates the Absalom Jones Episcopal Student Center and Chapel. Each of these campus ministry facilities are named after notable Black American clerics.