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Clark Atlanta University

Clark Atlanta University was established in 1988 through the consolidation of its two parent institutions, Atlanta University (1865), the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African Americans, and Clark College (1869) the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African-American student population. Atlanta University, founded in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, with subsequent assistance from the Freedman’s Bureau, was, before consolidation, the nation’s oldest graduate institution serving a predominantly African-American student body.  By the late 1870s, Atlanta University had begun granting bachelor’s degrees and supplying black teachers and librarians to public schools across the South. In 1929-1930, the institution began offering graduate education exclusively in various liberal arts areas, and in the social and natural sciences. Clark College was founded in 1869 as Clark University by the Freedmen’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which later would become the United Methodist Church. For purposes of economy and efficiency, during the 1930’s, it was decided that Clark would join the Atlanta University Complex. 

Mission Statement:

“Building on its social justice history and heritage, Clark Atlanta University is a culturally diverse, research-intensive, liberal arts institution that prepares and transforms the lives of students. CAU is located in the heart of Atlanta which is the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement and modern center of emerging technologies and innovation. Ignited by its history, CAU is committed to delivering education that is accessible, relevant, and transformative.”

Mascot: Panther

Enrollment: 3,920 students

Notable Alumni: fashion model and actress Eva Marcille, Brian Michael-Cox, Bomani Jones, Emmanuel Lewis, and DJ Drama


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HBCU Spotlight: Clark Atlanta University  was originally published on