Robert Michael Franklin, Jr.

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Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, Jr. (born 1954) is an African-American educator, author, and served as the tenth president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Franklin, Jr. is a Visiting Scholar in Residence at Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. He is President Emeritus of Morehouse College, the nation’s largest private, four-year liberal arts college for men, where he served as the tenth president from 2007 to 2012. In January 2014, he becomes Director of the Religion Program at The Chautauqua Institution.

Previous work[edit]

Dr. Franklin took office as the 10th president of Morehouse College (his alma mater, class of ‘75) on July 1, 2007. Prior to coming to Morehouse, from 2004-2007, he served as Presidential Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at the Candler School of Theology and senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, both at Emory University. Dr. Franklin is also former president of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. He was a program officer in the Human Rights and Social Justice Program at the Ford Foundation and served as Theologian in Residence for The Chautuaqua Institution, both in New York.

Work at Morehouse[edit]

Dr. Franklin took office as the 10th president of Morehouse College (his alma mater, class of ‘75) on July 1, 2007. During his tenure as president of Morehouse, Dr. Franklin led the institution forward with his vision of the "Morehouse Renaissance," which he accomplished in part by establishing the concept of the "Five Wells," an ideal to cultivate men of Morehouse as "Renaissance men with social conscience and global perspective" who are well read, well spoken, well traveled, well dressed and well balanced. Under Franklin's leadership, the College reaffirmed its commitment to academic vigor, qualified by reaffirmation of its accreditation in 2009 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Quality Enhancement Plan focused on internationalization, global learning and world perspective. In a project initiated by his predecessor, Walter Massey, Dr. Franklin oversaw the completion and opening of the $20 million Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building, a 75,000 square foot facility named after the late legendary musician. Franklin led and supported cultivation efforts such as establishing the Renaissance Commission, a blue-ribbon group of 150 influential volunteer stakeholders, that increased the total number of new donors by an average of 1,000 per year. The College generated in excess of $128 million (grants and contracts, private fundraising and federal appropriations) during Dr. Franklin's tenure.

Civic engagement[edit]

Franklin is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and the Kappa Boule of Sigma Pi Phi fraternity. He serves on numerous boards, including the Character Education Partnership (Washington,DC) and Public Broadcasting of Atlanta (WABE). Franklin is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; the Executive Committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Executive Committee); the HBCU Capital Financing Advisory Board; and the Naval War College Board of Advisors.

Publications and commentary[edit]

Dr. Franklin is the author of three books, Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities (2007), Another Day’s Journey: Black Churches Confronting the American Crisis (1997), and Liberating Visions: Human Fulfillment and Social Justice in African American Thought (1989).

He has provided commentaries for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and televised commentary for Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting.


A native of Chicago, Dr. Franklin was educated at Morgan Park High School; Morehouse College (BA, 1975, Phi Beta Kappa); Harvard Divinity School (M.Div. 1978); and the University of Chicago Divinity School (Ph.D., 1985). In 1973, he received an English Speaking Union scholarship to attend the University of Durham in England. He is also the recipient of honorary degrees from Bethune Cookman University, Bates College, and Swarthmore College.

Personal life[edit]

Franklin is married to Cheryl Goffney Franklin, M.D., an OB-GYN physician and graduate of Stanford University (B.A.), Columbia University School of Public Health (M.P.H.) and Harvard Medical School (M.D.). Franklin is the father of three children: Imani Renee Franklin; Robert M. Franklin, III and Julian Michael DeShazier. In 2005, DeShazier graduated from Morehouse College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Franklin has one grandchild, Dania Elle DeShazier. Franklin holds ordination in two Christian denominations: the American Baptist Churches USA, and the Church of God in Christ.

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