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Wells Fargo Mural Highlights Historic Atlanta-Based HBCUs, Donates Money to Fund Businesses

Clark Atlanta MBA student Jeffrey Muiru and graduate student Tversa Ricks, professor Ed Davis with Clark Atlanta University, Wells Fargo Atlanta regional president Mike Donnelly and Bill Clement, chairman of the Opportunity Funding Corporation with a $145,000 check.

A picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of the mural at Wells Fargo’s West End University bank store, its priceless. Recently unveiled, the mural is the newest in Atlanta among 50 that will be curated across the metro area. Each mural creates a connection to the history of the surrounding area and is a snapshot of turn-of the-century America, conveying  a sense of history, tradition, longevity, optimism and progress. Among 1,800 such works of art in Wells Fargo banks across the nation, the West End University mural is 13 feet wide and 7 feet tall and double-sided for viewing in and outside of the store. It features historic images of scenes and students at Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse, Spelman and Morris Brown colleges. The 18 images were provided by local archives and historians including  Spelman College Photograph Collection, Morehouse College Archives, the Atlanta History Center and the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center.

Helping to dedicate the mural were Dr. Robert Franklin, president of Morehouse; Dr. Stanley Pritchett, president of Morris Brown; and Atlanta City Council member Michael Julian Bond, son of Morehouse alumnus Julian Bond, who’s featured in the mural. The elder Bond was one of the first African Americans elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and after a 20-year legislative career became chairman of the NAACP.

“For 150 years we have helped to transform America through leaders such as Julian Bond,” Dr. Franklin said. “We are thrilled that Wells Fargo has embraced our educational community in this way.”

“We are honored and proud that Wells Fargo has connected with the rich history of higher education in Atlanta,” Dr. Pritchett adds.

To commemorate the occasion, Wells Fargo presented the Opportunity Funding Corporation with a $145,000 grant to start a business incubator fund.

Ed Davis with Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta City Council member Michael Julian Bond, Morehouse College president Dr. Robert Franklin, Morris Brown College president Dr. Stanley Pritchett, Paul Crater with the Atlanta History Center, Andrea Jackson with the Atlanta University Center, Woodruff Library, Shelese Lane with Spelman College and Wells Fargo Atlanta regional president Mike Donnelly.

“We are so pleased to recognize the enormous contributions to the world of these great Atlanta institutions,” says Wells Fargo’s Atlanta regional president Mike Donnelly.  “And we’re proud to help business graduates of historically black institutions through this new fund for emerging businesses.”

The fund will help create jobs and new businesses in the African American community through support for promising enterprises of MBA graduates of historically black colleges and universities across the Southeast.

“Through this we will inspire and create a more viable entrepreneur class and generate jobs in the African American community,” Bill Clement, chairman of the non-profit’s board. “This will greatly expand what we are able to do.”

Clement explained that the idea for the fund arose from the OFC Venture Challenge, a business plan competition among MBA students from historically black colleges and universities across the Southeast. CAU students were among those from 24 HBCUs who took part in the annual competition in Atlanta, which helps develop enterprises arising from highly-ranked business plans. Clement said he hopes the fund will grow with additional private support.

“This is an opportunity to actually turn these plans into businesses,” says CAU graduate student Tversa Ricks, who took part in the recent competition. “Investors always ask what funds can you add, so this will really help.

Fellow CAU student Jeffrey Muiru adds, “Business plans that otherwise wouldn’t be funded can now become reality.” –yvette caslin