Morehouse Celebrates 150 Years
Rising Stars in Media Return to their Alma Mater to Say Thank You.
“Dear old Morehouse, dear old Morehouse, we have pledged our lives to thee …,” the Morehouse hymn is at the core of every young man’s journey from start to finish at the historic institution, whether he knows it or not. Men of Morehouse and Morehouse men share a truly unique undergraduate experience, that by only through the singing of the hymn these men can tap into the nostalgic essence of Mother Morehouse. From the first Crown Forum to graduation ceremonies, through the struggles and the triumphs, Morehouse has been a beacon of light for black males for 150 years. Every year since 1867, young men have embarked on a journey that has undoubtedly made them uncomfortable, yet the growing pain experiences has shaped, molded, and polished them well enough to become dynamic world changers.
As Morehouse turned 150 years old, the college had a full slate of events during Founder’s week that were catered for Morehouse men to make their pilgrimage back, and pay their respects to Mother Morehouse. Where the eventful week is usually capped off by the elegant Candle in the Dark Gala. However, an event that is on the list of the week’s festivities, but doesn’t get much notable recognition by campus in the Rising Stars in Media. A night which is dedicated to celebrating young Morehouse alum who are in the world of journalism and media and are doing exceptionally great things in their early careers.
The second annual Rising Stars in Media event celebrated four standout Morehouse graduates, Gerren Keith Gaynor, Jordan Jones, Curtis Jackson, and Quincy Young, who discussed their respective roles in the media, how Morehouse prepared them for their careers and lastly, how does being young black males impact their careers. Not only is this night to highlight the achievements of four young Morehouse men, but rather it is to highlight the excellence within Morehouse’s Journalism and Sports Program. Unlike other Founder’s week scheduled activities that focused on Morehouse in a more historical context, this specific night is catered to current students to enjoy and get a chance to hear about men who are not too far removed from campus excelling in exciting careers.
“The top goal [of the Journalism and Sports Program] would be training our students so they can become professional members of the media,” Professor Ron Thomas said, who is the head of the Journalism and Sport Program. “So the four students who have been invited back have done that and actually excelled at it, so they are an example of the product we’re trying to produce.”
These four men are in the early stages of trailblazing in careers where there aren’t many black male faces. They are breaking into new avenues and shedding a light on the creative talents and capabilities that can have an impact in telling black stories of importance to the black community and more importantly telling them accurately.
Living in a world where black culture is driving the media, Morehouse and this hub of excellence has for 150 years been cultivating men to use this black culture as a tool for success and not something to be a shamed of in the professional world. Through their matriculation at the black all male institution, they understand that their blackness is their greatest strength and a tool that can be used to navigate in spaces where there may not be anyone else who looks the same.
“I think my greatest asset in this industry is my culture, is where I come from, is being a black man,” Quincy Young said. Young is an associate producer for Bleacher Report.
It seemed as when each rising star spoke, yes, they all talked about the ins and outs of their respective job titles, but more on an introspective level, each star seemed to reflect on how influential Morehouse had been in the classrooms and in addition to their lives. They talked about “the process,” “staying the course,” “the process matter,” and “learning life lessons.” All things that these men have ingrained in them from Morehouse and apply to their lives daily, whether it’s in their careers or how they operate outside their offices.
“Trust the process, understand that your mistakes matter and hard work matter and you work through them,” Jordan Jones said, Jones is a 2014 Morehouse graduate and an associate editor for the Atlantic Magazine.
Before the program ended, the rising stars took time to internalize that in this moment they had come full circle. To have once sat in the same seats as the audience listening to former Morehouse graduates to now being the keynote speakers seemed to be a fulfilling moment for them all. As they all took their final remarks, they spoke of genuine appreciation for the experiences Mother Morehouse extended to them and the exposure, opportunities, and doors that have become open to them.
“In retrospect and looking back I can’t say they [Morehouse] could’ve done anything better,” Young said.
Born and raised in Atlanta Ga., Lance Bennett is a graduating senior Kinesiology major and Sports Journalism minor at Morehouse College.