Robert Michael Franklin Jr.

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Robert Michael Franklin Jr. (born 1954) is an African-American educator, author, and was the tenth president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia from 2007 to 2012; he is now President Emeritus. Franklin is a Visiting Scholar in Residence at Stanford University's Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute. In January 2014, he became Director of the Religion Program at the Chautauqua Institution.

Previous work[edit]

Franklin became 10th president of Morehouse College (his alma mater, class of ‘75) on July 1, 2007. Prior to coming to Morehouse, from 2004 to 2007, he was 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. 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]

Franklin took office as the 10th president of Morehouse College (his alma mater, class of 1975) on July 1, 2007. In 2009 the College received reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In a project initiated by his predecessor, Walter Massey, 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 musician. Franklin led and supported cultivation efforts such as establishing the Renaissance Commission, a group of 150 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 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]

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, 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 two grandchildren, Dania Elle DeShazier and Genevieve Lee DeShazier. Franklin holds ordination in two Christian denominations: the American Baptist Churches USA, and the Church of God in Christ.

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