Morgan State University (MSU) was founded in 1872 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. 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. In 1895, the institution awarded its first baccalaureate degree to George 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.
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. The appellate court upheld the lower court decision, finding no basis that siting the college at this location would constitute a public nuisance. 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.
Morgan State University has undergone a physical renaissance. In the 21st century alone, 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.
Morgan awards Baccalaureate, Master's and Doctorate degrees. More than 7,698 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 degree in African American studies, economics, English, history, international studies, mathematics, music, museum studies and historical preservation, sociology, and teaching. The Master of Business Administration is offered in accounting, finance, hospitality management, information systems, international business, management, and marketing and taxation. The Master of Science degree is offered in bioinformatics, educational administration and supervision, elementary and middle school education, project management, psychometrics, science, sociology, telecommunications, and transportation. The Master of Science degree program in science is offered in biology, chemistry, and physics. Professional master's degrees are offered in architecture, city and regional planning, engineering, landscape architecture, public health, and social work.
The Doctor of Education degree is offered in community college leadership, mathematics education, science education, and urban educational leadership. The Doctor of Philosophy degree is offered in bioenvironmental science, business administration, English, higher education, history, and psychometrics. The Doctor of Engineering degree is offered in civil, electrical, and industrial engineering. In addition, the Doctor of Public Health degree and master’s and doctoral degrees in social work are offered.
As of the 2014–15 school year, there were approximately 6,302 undergraduates and 1,396 graduate students enrolled at Morgan, about 22% were non-Maryland residents, including many from foreign countries. The largest sources of its enrollment outside of Maryland are New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
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
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 twelve undergraduate degree programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts Degree and the Bachelor of Science Degree. It offers the Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics, English, Fine Art, History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Speech Communication, Telecommunications, and Theater Arts. It offers the Bachelor of Science Degree in: Economics, Psychology, and Screenwriting & Animation.
The College of Liberal Arts offers minors in fifteen areas: African Studies (Interdisciplinary), Anthropology, Criminal Justice, East Asian Studies (Interdisciplinary), English, Environmental Studies (Interdisciplinary), World Languages and International Studies, Gender Studies (Interdisciplinary), Geography, History, Journalism, Museum Studies (Interdisciplinary), Music, Philosophy, Pre-Law, Religious Studies, Sociology.
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 in Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, Hospitality Management, Human Resource Management, and Information Science and Systems, and Marketing; a Master of Business Administration; a Master of Science in Project Management; and a Ph.D. in Business Administration. 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 programs in Family and Consumer Sciences, Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Social Work (Mental Health, Gerontology), and Teacher Education and Administration (Elementary Education, Secondary Education). Additionally, programs are offered within the Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education (CEMSE). Masters-level programs are offered in Educational and Administration Supervision and in Teaching.
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.
The Morgan State University, School of Engineering has fully ABET-accredited undergraduate programs in civil engineering; electrical and computer engineering; and industrial, manufacturing, and information engineering. 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. Nearly one-third of the nation's top black engineering students have graduated from historically black institutions, like Morgan, in the past decade.
The School of Architecture and Planning has three graduate programs (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, City & Regional Planning) and two undergraduate programs (Architecture and Environmental Design and Construction Management). The School prepares students to address the challenges associated with systems of the built environment and their integration with systems in the natural environment. The objective is to link domains of environmental (natural patterns and flows), economic (financial patterns and equity), and social (human, cultural, and spiritual) as related to the professional practices of planning, design and management. Morgan's education is directed towards a sustainable urban environment that is beautiful, humane, socially appropriate, and restorative.
The Earl S. Richardson Library’s holdings constitute more than 660,000 volumes, including works in special collections. One such collection 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.
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 (upper-class male)
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 (co-ed upper-class) 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. 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 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 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. 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 Bisons (the matchup is often called the Battle of the Beltway) and the Coppin State Eagles.
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.
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. 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 Men's Division I 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.
In 2010 the Morgan State men's basketball team again won the MEAC regular season and tournament championship and qualified for the 2010 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, again as a 15 seed. Morgan State lost to West Virginia University in the first round by a score of 77–50.
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.
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 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.
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”.
In January 2005, under the leadership of Eric Conway, the choir performed Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony #2, “Lobgesang”, with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, as well as performing at the State Department at the personal invitation of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to wide acclaim. Most recently, the Morgan State University Choir performed for the service honoring Rosa Parks, the unassuming matriarch of the civil rights movement, who became the first woman to lie in state at our nation’s Capitol Rotunda. In July 2006, the Choir traveled to Prague, Czech Republic, for two concerts with Maestro Paul Freeman. In November 2006, the Morgan State Choir participated in a concert celebrating the Bicentennial Celebration and Re-opening of the Basilica of the Assumption—the first cathedral in America.
The Morgan State University Choir has shared its musical gifts on many grand stages all over the world—with numerous dignitaries and celebrated performers—making them cultural ambassadors for Morgan State University, the city of Baltimore, and the state of Maryland. Each spring, the Choir concludes its season at home with its annual Spring Concert, which large audiences enthusiastically anticipate and receive. The University Choir was recently in Ghana under the invitation of Morgan State alumni and U.S. ambassador to Ghana Pamela E. Bridgewater, performed in major cities such as Accra, Kumasi, and Takoradi.
On November 24, 2008, members of the choir appeared with country singer Faith Hill on NBC's Today show. They also made appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman and Christmas in Rockefeller Center 2008. On January 20, 2009, the choir performed at the War Memorial Plaza in downtown Baltimore as a warm-up act to President Barack Obama's whistlestop tour speech.
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. 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.
Morgan State University has chapters from each of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations.
Morgan State University houses a variety of other fraternal organizations. These organizations are a part of the Council of Independent Organizations (CIO).
Alumni of Morgan State University have achieved notability in the fields of athletics, science, government 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, 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 Staate.
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.Nicholson, Jr., Roland (May 8, 1990). "Morgan State Not So Offbeat: Lacrosse at an Historically Black University". New York Times.