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Hugh M. Gloster, President of Morehouse College

[[image - black and white photo of John Harold Johnson receiving Honorary Doctor of Laws degree]]


You have come a long way since 1933, when you and your widowed mother left a poverty-stricken Arkansas town and went to the World Fair in Chicago, where you two decided to remain because of the prospect of a better life in the Windy City.

In Chicago you attended DuSable High School, where you gave indications of your future career as a leader and publisher by becoming president of your class and the Student Council and editor of the school paper and the class yearbook.

Your multiple achievements in high school attracted the attention of Harry H. Pace, president of the Supreme Life Insurance Company, who persuaded you to work part time with his firm and attend the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

At the Supreme Life, where you were first assistant to the editor and later managing editor of that company's house organ, you conceived he idea of The Negro Digest (now The Black World), a magazine consisting of condensations of articles about the Negro in newspapers and periodicals, and developed this publication into a well-known monthly.

Encouraged by the success of The Negro Digest, you were inspired in 1945 to launch Ebony, a pictorial magazine designed to provide entertainment, information, and inspiration for black readers. Gaining immediate popularity, Ebony now has a monthly circulation of 1,200,000 and enjoys heavy revenues from top advertisers seeking to reach Negro consumers.

In 1950 you launchd Tan (now called Black Stars); and a year later you started Jet, the first black digest-size news and picture magazine in the country. Enjoying a popularity second only to that of Ebony, Jet now sells 500,000 copies a week.

Today the Johnson Publishing Company is the largest black enterprise of its kind in the country. It is a $20,000,000 business housed in a $6,000,000 eleven story lake-front edifice on South Michigan Avenue, the first building constructed by [[text cut off]] Negro firm in downtown Chicago.

Let it be mentioned here that Johnson publications are more than mere news magazines. They report news but they also describe the achievements of black folk and show the way out of the racial dilemma in the United States. Let it also be noted that Johnson publications continue at a heavy financial loss the production of The Black World, which prints the works of young Negro writers and encourages them toward literary success.

Besides being President of Johnson Publications, you are President, Chairman of the Board, and largest stockholder of the Supreme Life Insurance Company — the North's largest black-owned business, where you got your  first job — and a Director of the Marina City Bank of Chicago, the Service Federal Savings and Loan Association, the Twentieth-Century Fox Film Corporation, the Advertising Council, the Opportunities Industrialization Center, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the National Corporation for Housing Partnerships. You are also a trustee of the Institute of International Education and the United Negro College Fund and a member of the Chicago Press Club and the Chicago Urban Transportation Commission.

From time to time you have been an advisor and a representative of American Presidents. You were a member of the President's Commission for the Observance of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the United Nations. You were among twenty businessmen invited by President Eisenhower to a stag dinner at the White House in 1955, and you were a member of press groups that accompanied Vice President Nixon on goodwill trips to nine African countries in 1957 and to Russia and Poland in 1959. You were appointed by President Kennedy as a member of a four-man delegation that represented the United States at the Independence celebraion of the Ivory Coast in 1961 and by President Johnson to serve in the same capacity in Kenya in 1963.

Because of your spectacular success as a publisher and as a leader, you have received numerous awards including the United States Chamber of Commerce Award in 1951 as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Year, the Horatio Alger Award in 1966 for your rise from humble beginnings to national renown, the John Russwurm Award in 1966 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Spingarn Medal in 1966 by the NAACP for "distinguished merit and achievement among American Negroes," and the University of Chicago Alumni Association's Professional Achievement Award in 1970, and the Sigma Delta Chi Journalistic Society ward in 1970. You have also received honorary degrees from Benedict College, Central State University, Eastern Michigan University, Lincoln University, Malcolm X College, North Carolina Central University, and Shaw University.

Closely associated with you in your work are your mother and your wife, co-owners with you of the Johnson Publications and the Supreme Beauty Products Company. Mrs. Eunice Johnson, Director of the Ebony Fashion Fair, conducts each year a traveling fashion show that benefits both the magazine and sponsoring community groups.

Three of the top executives of the Johnson Publishing Company are Morehouse alumni - Lerone Bennett Jr., Senior Editor of Ebony, Robert E. Johnson, Executive Editor of Jet, and Robert A. DeLeon, Managing Editor of Jet. But we want you, the Publisher and Editor of Johnson Publications and one of the most successful businessmen in the United States, to be a Morehouse man.

Therefore, upon  the recommendation of the Faculty and by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of Morehouse College, I am pleased to confer upon you the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, with all of the rights, privileges and responsibilities thereunto appertaining.

Morehouse Commencement, May 1972

Hugh M. Gloster, President of Morehouse College

[[image - black and white photo of John Samuel DuBois Cook receiving Honorary Doctor of Laws degree]]


You were born in Griffin, Georgia; and you were educated at Morehouse College, where you received the B.A. degree and entered Phi Beta Kappa, and at the Ohio State University, where you received the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. You have received fellowships from the Ohio State University, the John Hay Whitney Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Southern Education Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council.

After serving as a Social Science Specialist in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955, you taught at Southern University where you were Associate Professor of [[type cut off]]al Science; at Atlanta University, where you were Professor and Chairman of Department of Political Science; and at Duke University, where you are now Professor of Political Science and received the Outstanding Professor Award for the Academic year 1967-68. You have interrupted your regular employment to serve as a Visiting Professor at the University of Illinois and at the University of California and also as a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, where you were influential in the decision of this agency to make its largest grant to black colleges.

As a specialist in political science, you are the author of numerous articles, a lecturer in great demand, and a leader of professional organizations in your field. You are President Elect and a former Vice President of the Southern Political Science Association, a member of the National Councils of the American Political Science Association and Pi Sigma Alpha, a member of the Advisory Board of the Joint Center for Political Studies, an Editorial Consultant for Black Academia, and a member of the Editorial Boards of The American Political Science Review and the Journal of Negro History. 

Because of you competence as a scholar and a thinker, you have been called on to serve for such varied duties as a consultant to government agencies and the Ford Foundation; as a member of the Region IV Selection Committee of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation; as Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council; as a  member of the Advisory Committee on Voter Registration for the National Urban League; as a trustee of the Americans for Democratic Action, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Social Change, the  A. Philip Randolph Institute, and the Southern Regional Council; as Chief Analyst and Head of the American Broadcasting Company's Election Team in Georgia in 1966; as a member of the Committee for the Study of Incarceration, headed by former United States Senator Charles Goodell; and as a member of the Southern Growth Policies Board and the State Council on Boards and Policies, both appointed by North Carolina Governor Robert W. Scott.

Because of your achievements as a teacher, as a scholar, and as a public servant, I am pleased to honor you today. Therefore, upon the recommendation of the Faculty and by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of Morehouse College, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities thereunto appertaining. 

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