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Morris Brown College celebrates after regaining full accreditation

School leaders say Morris Brown is the only college in the country to regain accreditation after two decades without it.
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 7:47 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -Gathered on the steps of the historic campus, alumni, professors, students, community leaders, and families celebrated the return of Morris Brown College.

“The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools gave Morris Brown College the approval for full accreditation,” Morris Brown College President Dr. Kevin James exclaimed to roaring applause from the audience.

School leaders say Morris Brown is the only college in the country to regain accreditation after two decades without it.

RELATED: Morris Brown College officially regains full accreditation after nearly 20 years

Alumni like Rev. Karri Turner returned to see the progress of the school that gave them an opportunity and launched them toward professional careers. “To me there is no Atlanta community without recognizing not only the institution of Morris Brown College itself, but many of the leaders who now lead in the city of Atlanta and across Georgia,” Turner told CBS46.

“I came down here with two duffle bags, one plane ticket, and a dream figure out how I was going to live the rest of my life. Morris Brown was that college made sure I was equipped and had everything that I needed,” Turner went on. “It is the one place that changed the trajectory of my life, and so I will always be grateful.”

CBS46 has covered Morris Brown’s fight to keep its doors open over the years after a previous financial mismanagement cost the school nearly everything including its accreditation and its students. Former President Dr. Stanley Pritchett, honored Thursday for his efforts to revive the school, sat down with CBS46 in 2018 as he worked to pull the school out of bankruptcy. “We never closed the doors of the college and it made a difference,” he told CBS46′s Hayley Mason then.

In 2019, Dr. Kevin James took the helm as president and vowed to take the school through a ‘hard reset’ with the key goal of re-gaining accreditation.

“God sent me to Morris Brown College, and I believe that with all of my heart,” James told the audience as he outlined the history of the historically Black college founded in the basement of Big Bethel A.M.E. church by former slave John Gaines.

The school’s leaders thanked the committed faculty who stood by the school during its darkest days.

“You have no idea how many pay periods the faculty went without being paid simply because we did not have the money, but rather than to walk off, they kept on teaching,” said Rev. Reginald Jackson, the Bishop of the 6th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Jeffery Miller was one of the students who came back. “When I graduated in 2012, we weren’t re-accredited, and I still excelled in my career but now but now we have the resources and Morris Brown is open and we’re ready for students to come back,” said Miller, the president of the DeKalb County Alumni Association for Morris Brown.

As some gathered in prayer, others with tears in their eyes, the group acknowledged they’re writing a new chapter.

“Oh, this is glorious,” said Carmen Richardson, a 1979 graduate of Morris Brown. “We have been waiting for this for 20 years. It almost feels like we are the phoenix rising again.”

The school is accepting new students and working to build its endowment and expand academic programs.

“Morris Brown College has demonstrated that we are an institution of quality, that we operate in excellence and we are here to stay,” James announced.