Robert Michael Franklin, Jr., president emeritus of Morehouse College and a senior advisor for community and diversity at Emory University and upcoming director of the Religion Department at The Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua, New York), was given the Rites of Ordination at the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church here on Sunday, Dec. 15.
The order of worship for the ordination service included: Introduction of Candidate by The Reverenced Dr. Albert Paul Brinson, Retired Associate General Secretary, World Mission Support, American Baptist Churches; Presentation of the Bible by The Reverend Martha Simmons, Director, The African American Lectionary; Presentation of Hymnal by The Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley, Pastor Emeritus, Providence Missionary Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA; Presentation of Certificate of Ordination, by The Reverend Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, Director of Religion, Chautauga Institution, and Laying on of Hands / Ordination Prayer, by The Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts, Jr., Pastor Emeritus, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA. The Reverend Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, Senior Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, delivered a powerful sermon and benediction to a congregation of several hundred attendees.
Franklin was the 10th president of Morehouse, the nation’s largest private, four-year liberal arts college for men, from 2007 through 2012. He was the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at Emory University (2004-2007) where he provided leadership for a university-wide initiative titled “Confronting the Human Condition and the Human Experience” and was a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at the law school.
He also provides commentary for the National Public Radio (NPR) program, “All Things Considered,” and weekly commentary for Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting Television. Franklin graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Morehouse in 1975 with a degree in political science and religion.
Franklin holds ordination in two Christian denominations: the American Baptist Churches USA and the Church of God in Christ. He earned the Master of Divinity degree in Christian social ethics and pastoral care in 1978 at the Harvard Divinity School, where he also served as assistant director of Ministry Education. Other pastoral positions include assistant pastor at St. Paul Church of God in Christ in Chicago and Protestant chaplain at St. Bernard Hospital, also in Chicago. He is married to Cheryl Goffney Franklin, M.D., and OB-GYN physician and graduate of Stanford University (B.A.) Columbia University School of Public Health (M.P.H.) and Harvard Medical School (M.D.). They have three children: Imani Renee Franklin; Robert M. Franklin, III and Julian Michael DeShazier. In 2005, DeShazier graduated from Morehouse College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Franklin has one grandchild, Dania Elle DeShazier.