Singer Ray Charles delighted guests at Morehouse College's recent "Candle in the Dark" gala by donating $1 million to the Atlanta school. Charles, who received the school's prestigious Candle Award for Lifetime Achievement in Arts and Entertainment, allowed his longtime manager, Joe Adams, to present the check on his behalf.
"By all accounts, this Gala was our biggest and most successful ever," said Morehouse College president Walter E. Massey. "Ray Charles' $1 million gift was...a pleasant surprise." The college hopes to use the gift to fund its performing arts program. The annual black-tie event highlights the college's historical mission of producing outstanding leaders by honoring African American men and showcasing the talents of Morehouse students. Since its inception in 1989, the event has grossed more than $2.8 million for the college's endowed scholarship fund.
Founded in 1867, Morehouse enrolls approximately 3,000 students and confers bachelor's degrees on more African American men than any institution in the country. Prominent alumni include civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher; filmmaker Spike Lee; Academy Award nominee Samuel L. Jackson; and Atlanta's first African American mayor, Maynard Jackson.