“My name is Jalen Brown, and I am the FIRST person to receive a Journalism degree in Morehouse College’s 156-year history,” he tweeted alongside a photograph of himself wearing his graduation cap.
Nicole Carr, one of his professors and a journalist at ProPublica, congratulated Brown on his achievement.
“Proud of you, Jalen,” she wrote. “Happy to have had you in my classroom for two semesters-watching you thrive in your newsroom internships, grow as a writer and think critically about the ways in which we tackle our industry issues today. You are a strong storyteller. Morehouse is proud.”
Proud of you, Jalen.
Happy to have had you in my classroom for two semesters-watching you thrive in your newsroom internships, grow as a writer and think critically about the ways in which we tackle our industry issues today.
You are a strong storyteller. @Morehouse is proud. 🙌🏾 https://t.co/423INCvVwB
— Nicole Carr (@NicoleFCarr) May 21, 2023
Carr confirmed journalism wasn’t available until 2021 when the college expanded the sports journalism minor into a major centering on journalism in sports, culture and social justice. The professor said that is how the school hired her and several other adjuncts.
The new major became available after Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand made a $1 million donation to Morehouse College in May 2021 as part of the Black Community Commitment program.
“Education is crucial for understanding the Black experience today,” Michael Jordan said in a press release. “We want to help people understand the truth of our past and help tell the stories that will shape our future.”
Studying sports journalism had been an option for 15 years prior, but students couldn’t pick the studies as a major. The Jordan brand donation helped fund scholarships, technology and educational programming for students in journalism and sports-related areas of study.
“There’s going to be a rich legacy of storytellers who will be supported by these programs,” award-winning director and Morehouse alum Spike Lee said. “Many people are influenced to think a certain way about Black folks based on what they see on television and in Hollywood. We’ve got to tell our story.”