SAIC President Walter E. Massey and Shirley Massey Honored by Morehouse College

Chicago, IL—Dr. Walter E. Massey, President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), will be honored with his wife Shirley on Thursday, October 25 when Morehouse College celebrates the naming of the Walter E. Massey Leadership Center and the Shirley A. Massey Executive Conference Center at a ceremony in Atlanta. Dr. Massey is President Emeritus of Morehouse College—his alma mater, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics at the age of 20 in 1958—in addition to serving as SAIC President. During the naming ceremony Dr. Massey will also formally present his presidential papers to Morehouse.

Opened in 2005, the two facilities were designed and constructed during Dr. Massey’s 12-year tenure as Morehouse president. The leadership and conference centers have since become a key landmark in Morehouse’s service as an international laboratory for leadership development. The mission of the Leadership Center is to train a new generation of leaders to address pressing contemporary, ethical, and social concerns, especially those affecting African American life and culture. Since 2010 Dr. Melvinia Turner King has served as its second executive director.

“This is without a doubt the most significant honor I have received in my life, and to share this honor with Shirley on our anniversary makes it meaningful beyond belief," says Dr. Massey. Shirley Massey adds, “The years I served as First Lady of Morehouse were some of the most rewarding and fulfilling times in my life, and to have my name permanently associated with this great institution is a profound honor.”

“The entire Morehouse College family is pleased and proud of this opportunity to name one of our cherished buildings and conference center in honor of President Emeritus Walter Massey ’58 and Shirley Massey,” says Robert M. Franklin, President, Morehouse College. “I am particularly excited because I know about the magnitude of their dedication, sacrifice, and love for this school. This is a fitting honor and a wonderful reminder of the lasting legacy of my friend, fellow alumnus, and mentor.”

The naming ceremony joins another recent honor for Dr. Massey. In June Dr. Massey received the Enrico Fermi Making History Award for Distinction in Science, Medicine, and Technology presented by the Chicago History Museum. In a video tribute to the achievements of his life and career shown at the event, Dr. Massey noted the influence he has had on young people as one of his proudest accomplishments. Throughout his academic career, which began amid the civil rights activism of the late 1960s, Dr. Massey has been an advocate for issues surrounding minority students and education. The Walter E. Massey Leadership Center is a home to such advocacy in its distinctive role in academic leadership studies, through which students experience lectures and discussions with world-class leaders, study-abroad programs, internships, and other opportunities to develop skills while grounding them in scholarship and service.

The recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees from institutions that include Yale University, Northwestern University, and Ohio State University, Dr. Massey’s written work has explored the theory of quantum liquids and solids, technology transfer, and the importance of educational opportunities for underrepresented minorities. His complete bio is available with other materials in the SAIC online Press Kit.

About Morehouse College

As the nation’s largest, private liberal arts college for men, Morehouse College was recently recognized as the number one liberal arts college in the nation by Washington Monthly; one of 45 “Best Buy” schools for 2011 by the Fiske Guide to Colleges; one of the nation’s Most Grueling Colleges in 2010 by The Huffington Post; the number three HBCU in the nation for 2011 by U.S. News and World Report; and as one of American’s Best Colleges for three consecutive years by Forbes magazine.

Prominent alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil and human rights non-violent leader; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the National Center for Primary Care of Morehouse School of Medicine; Shelton “Spike” Lee, filmmaker and president of 40 Acres & A Mule Productions; Samuel L. Jackson, Academy Award-nominated actor; Maynard H. Jackson, founder of Jackson Securities and the first African American mayor of Atlanta; and Nima A. Warfield, the first African American Rhodes Scholar from an HBCU.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees and post-baccalaureate programs to nearly 3,200 students from around the globe. SAIC also enables adults, high school students, middle school students, and children to flourish in a variety of courses, workshops, certificate programs, and camps through its Continuing Studies program. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC's resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances. For more information, please visit

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