Continuing the institution’s storied partnership with legendary singer Ray Charles, the Georgia music icon often referred to as “The Genius,” Morehouse College announced that it will host a naming ceremony Tuesday for the Music Academic Building to be renamed in honor of Charles’ mother, Aretha Robinson.
The music building is part of the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, and the Aretha Robinson Music Academic Building naming ceremony is the latest in a series of partnerships between the College and Ray Charles and his foundation.
Charles always said that he wanted to leave a lasting legacy for his mother, the college said, and that dream will come true on Tuesday.
The relationship between Charles and Morehouse began several years ago when he performed with the college’s jazz ensemble.
Charles’ friend and former Morehouse Trustee Bill Cosby opened that performance, but it was his longtime manager, Joe Adams, who introduced the star to Morehouse. Adams and his wife Emma were avid supporters and contributors to Morehouse, having given a personal gift in support of the construction of the performing arts center, now named for Charles.
Charles, who received an honorary degree in 2001, has given millions to the College himself in an effort to further a mutual commitment to find, educate and inspire the next generation of music pioneers.
The naming of the Aretha Robinson Music Academic Building is made possible by the latest gift from the Ray Charles Foundation in the amount of $3 million.
The Music Academic Building is designed to address the instructional, rehearsal and performance space needs for several generations of Morehouse students, the school said in a release. The building features 12 faculty studios, two electronic classrooms, nine practice rooms, dedicated storage areas for students’ instruments, a library for sheet music and three academic labs—one of which is the David Geffen Keyboard Digital Music Laboratory. There are two rehearsal rooms (one each specifically designed for the Morehouse College Marching Band and the Morehouse College Glee Club), which accommodate small performances.
The building is the educational component of The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center. The Center is evidence of the College’s commitment to enhancing the study of the arts in its world-class liberal arts curriculum. Designed to serve the academic mission of the Department of Music, as well as meet the performance space requirements of the College campus, the Center is home to the Morehouse College Glee Club, Morehouse Jazz Band, Morehouse College Jazz Ensemble and Marching Band.
The ceremony will take place on Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at the Atrium in the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at the school.