ATLANTA – The president of Morehouse College, is the approach of his first year in an unusual way.
David Thomas — the first leader in 50 years who is not an alumnus — moved in a tight dormitory Tuesday for two days to get a taste of what life is like for first-year students of the prestigious historically black school in Atlanta. He resides Graves, Hall, the oldest building on the campus that once housed the entire college. Although he is not a roommate, he will be sharing the floor with students.
“It gives me perspective on what the college for the students and what is on their mind,” Thomas said.
When moving in, Thomas met the dorm resident assistants who him with paperwork to fill in including a waiver promising he won’t have visitors during his stay. The access rights do not kick in until November for the first-year students.
Thomas wanted to attend Morehouse, when he graduated from high school in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, but he could not afford the tuition fees. Instead, he went to the University of Yale, where he received multiple degrees. Morehouse is a natural fit for Thomas, who came with 30 years of higher education experience, including a 20-year career at the University of Harvard. He actually began to serve as president in January, but 2018-2019 will be his first full academic year.
During his visit will be short, he is the hope that it will tune him in on the needs of the students and, ultimately, enable him to help enrich their college experience.
In 2016, Morehouse, a policy that requires students to live on campus for three years. The dormitory of the cost of living for more than $10,000 per academic year, in addition to the school annually $26,742 tuition fees. The policy was introduced by former President John S. Wilson Jr., who was ousted by the board of trustees in January 2017.
Thomas already has plans to spruce up the Morehouse campus. They are equipped with a late-night shop that is open Mondays and renovation of some existing facilities.
“I am curious to see how the students react to the president who live there,” he said, laughing.