Morehouse College Unveils Founders Week Schedule and Honorees for the 36th Annual “A Candle in the Dark” Gala

Morehouse College has announced the celebration of its 157th anniversary with its annual Founder’s Week commemoration activities, reflecting on the history and legacy of the College by honoring the work and lives of current industry and community changemakers. The culminating “A Candle in the Dark” Awards Gala, presented by JME Group, recognizes outstanding alumni and non-alumni honorees who are exemplary in their professions and communities, exhibiting a commitment to leadership, excellence, and service. The Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays “Bennie” Award, named for one of the College’s most revered presidents, is one of the highest honors that Morehouse bestows on its alumni. This year’s Bennie and Candle honorees include:


Bennie Awards

  • Leadership: Dale E. Jones ’82 – CEO, Magna Vista Partners; Morehouse College Trustee
  • Service: The Rev. Dr. Aaron L. Parker ’75 – Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Associate Professor in the Philosophy and Religion Department at Morehouse College
  • Achievement: John David Washington ’06 – Golden Globe-Nominated Actor and Producer


Candle Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement in Business and Philanthropy: Raymond J. McGuire, CEO of Lazard Ltd.
  • Achievement in Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy: Mack Wilbourn – Owner and President of Mack II, Inc., Entrepreneur, Community Leader, Philanthropist


Premier events of the week are highlighted below; the full schedule of events can be found at


  • Founders Day Convocation: Thursday, Feb. 15, 10:45 a.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel with Judge Penny Brown Reynolds, Ph.D., J.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, leading the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.


  • Soul Symphony Concert: Friday, February 16, 2024, 8:00 PM at Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel featuring Stephanie Mills, Eric Roberson, Avery Sunshine & Rhonda Thomas


  • Reflections of Excellence: Saturday, Feb. 17, 11 a.m. at Bank of America Auditorium with the 2024 Bennie and Candle Award honorees to discuss their lives, pathways to success, and outlook on contemporary issues with a student audience.


  • 36th Annual “A Candle in the Dark” Awards Gala: Saturday, Feb. 17, 6:00 p.m. at Hyatt Regency Atlanta


  • Vesper Hour Worship Service: Sunday, Feb. 18, 5:30 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel featuring Dr. Rashad Raymond Moore ’12, pastor at First Baptist Church of Crown Heights.


For a complete list of Founder’s Week activities, visit To purchase tickets for the 36th Annual “A Candle in the Dark” Gala, visit

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