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Morehouse College Gets $3M Gift From Ray Charles Foundation

The Ray Charles Foundation has awarded Morehouse College $3 million.

The gift will secure the naming of the academic wing of the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at the college after the late singer’s mother, Aretha Robinson.

The announcement was made Saturday night during Morehouse’s 25th annual “A Candle in The Dark” gala, the largest fund-raiser for the historically black college for men.

“I know that Ray Charles had a long-standing relationship with Morehouse based on professionalism, integrity and honesty,” Valerie Ervin, president of the foundation, said in a statement. “He genuinely valued the education and preparation that Morehouse provides to young men.”

Ervin noted that the relationship between Charles and Morehouse began several years ago when he was invited to Atlanta to perform with the college’s jazz ensemble. Ray Charles’ friend and former Morehouse Trustee Bill Cosby opened that performance. Charles’ long-time manager, Joe Adams, introduced the singer to Morehouse, Ervin said. Adams was an avid contributor to Morehouse, having given a personal gift in support of the construction of the performing arts center, now named for Charles.

“Morehouse is fortunate to have been able to forge a relationship with Mr. Charles. More important, we are grateful to him, Ms. Ervin, and The Ray Charles Foundation for all they have done to promote appreciation of the arts and humanities and to further music education at the College,” said Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson Jr.

“The funds so generously donated this evening will not only memorialize Mrs. Aretha Robinson, but they will afford us new opportunities to promote the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center.”

In 2001 the musician received an honorary degree from Morehouse; later that year he made two $1 million gifts to the school.

Read more: AJC

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