Joshua Packwood

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Joshua Packwood
Born Kansas City, Missouri, US
Residence New York City, New York, US
Education Bachelor's Degree
Alma mater Morehouse College
Employer Red Alder, L.P.
Known for first Caucasian valedictorian of Morehouse College

Joshua Packwood, at the age of 22, became the first white valedictorian of Morehouse College, a historically black college, in 2008.[1][2]

Packwood held a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and graduated with a degree in economics. Morehouse's president, Robert Franklin, stated in his February 2008 inauguration speech that Packwood "happens to be Euro-American and brings much-appreciated diversity to our campus."[3]

Packwood said that "Gaining a different perspective on issues and a different philosophy on life" was a principal reason for his attendance at Morehouse, and that attending provided him with "a never-ending stream of motivation and inspiration in terms of the students," that "Morehouse is a special place," that "students come here with a mission," and that "that mission is what really drew me to the school."

When asked what he had learned about African Americans from his experiences at Morehouse, Packwood stated that his foremost lesson was "how diverse African Americans are" and "how diverse the people of the African diaspora are," while noting that he had been "absolutely amazed" at the "diversity of beliefs and religion" at the school, and admitting that after four years of congenial interactions at the school, "I still can't give you the definition of 'black', I still can't sum up what 'black culture' is."

Packwood described how his Morehouse peers viewed him "as a brother" and that he was "proud to call every single one of them 'my brother'." He went on to state that Morehouse was not really about race but its mission. Packwood stated that, although Morehouse's mission was born of the problems surrounding race in America, those problems are not its defining aspect; instead it seeks to raise up servant leaders. Packwood said that his experiences at Morehouse had been "overwhelmingly positive" and that he believed America indeed still had issues of prejudice and racism to overcome.[4] Packwood also noted that some students objected to his presence, especially when he was found out to be the valedictorian.[1]

Packwood turned down a full scholarship from Columbia University in order to attend Morehouse. Packwood stated that, "A large majority of my friends, like all my girlfriends have been minorities. So it was very, it was kind of strange that I always kind of gravitated to the black community."[5]



  1. ^ a b "White valedictorian: A first for historically black Morehouse". Black in America (CNN). 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  2. ^ Garner, Marcus K. (2008-05-18). "White valedictorian makes Morehouse history". 
  3. ^ "ATLANTA: White valedictorian is 1st for Morehouse". Detroit Free Press. 2008-05-12. 
  4. ^ Rick Sanchez, "History-making valedictorian", CNN News, 24 Hours, 19 May 2008. Video available online.
  5. ^ "White valedictorian: A first for historically black Morehouse -". CNN. 19 May 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2010.