“Morehouse is strong,” said acting president Michael Hodge. “Morehouse will continue to do what it is doing, teaching young, black, African-American men.”
Some Morehouse leaders had hoped Taggart would take the job. Taggart had planned a retreat with Morehouse leaders that was scheduled for the weekend after he died. Many talked about his accomplishments in his brief tenure, such as improving fundraising efforts and increasing the development staff.
“My greatest regret is we didn’t get to see what more he could have done at Morehouse,” said faculty trustee Ron Thomas.
Black bunting was draped over a giant chair in the center of the stage for Taggart during the two-hour service at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. Taggart was remembered for his willingness to listen, his humility and his cool demeanor. Nicknames were shared. “Uncle Bill.” “Dolla’ Bill.” “President Kicks,” by students for his propensity for wearing sneakers with suits.
A 28-page program included letters of condolence from Gov. Nathan Deal, Mayor Kasim Reed and former President Jimmy Carter. The program included a letter from his daughter, Elizabeth, 13, who said “he challenged myself and others to do what we thought we couldn’t.”
Although Taggart earned his bachelor’s degree from Howard University, speakers talked about his desire to help Morehouse students and his embodiment of the college’s mission.
“Bill always said he wasn’t a Morehouse Man, but truly he was,” said former board chairman Robert Davidson.