Clark Atlanta University (1988- )

W.E.B. DuBois bust by Ayokunle Odeleye at Clark Atlanta University
W.E.B. DuBois bust by Ayokunle Odeleye, Clark Atlanta University
Photo by Hildabast (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Clark Atlanta University (CAU) was founded in 1988 with the consolidation of Clark College and Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a private not-for-profit, coeducational historically black university, affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It is the largest of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) colleges.

Atlanta University was founded in 1865 by the American Missionary Association (AMA). It was the nation’s oldest predominantly African American graduate school. In the 1930s Atlanta University affiliated with Morehouse and Spelman Colleges in a collaboration known as the Atlanta University System. The Atlanta University System is now known as the Atlanta University Center. Dr. W.E.B. DuBois was the most prominent of a number of distinguished faculty who taught at Atlanta University. DuBois moved there in 1897 to found Atlanta University’s School of Social Work and taught at the institution until 1910, when he became a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and its first Publications Director. He returned to Atlanta University in 1934 after leaving the NAACP in a feud with its leadership, and remained there until 1944.

Clark College (initially called Clark University) was founded in 1869 by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church (now known as the United Methodist Church). The school offered its first degree in 1880, after relocating several times in the Atlanta area. Clark joined the Atlanta University System in the 1930s. During the 1980s the proximity of Atlanta University and Clark College began to be seen as advantageous, and in 1988 the two schools consolidated and became Clark Atlanta University.

Clark Atlanta University is a four-year school that offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, and doctoral professional degrees as well as certificate programs. It is a private, urban university affiliated with the Methodist church with a current undergraduate enrollment of 3,380 students. The vast majority of these students are African American, but enrollment is open to all. There is a high female to male ratio and a good faculty to student ratio.

CAU is one of only two private black colleges to be classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research University/High Research Activity (RU/H). It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The University offers 38 majors, the most popular of which are Business, Media, Family and Social Work, and Therapy and Counseling. CAU is affiliated with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Division II.