“Morehouse is fortunate to have been able to forge a relationship with Mr. Charles. More important, we are grateful to him, Ms. Ervin, and The Ray Charles Foundation for all they have done to promote appreciation of the arts and humanities and to further music education at the College,” said Morehouse president John Silvanus Wilson Jr..
“The funds so generously donated this evening will not only memorialize Mrs. Aretha Robinson, but they will afford us new opportunities to promote the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center.”
In 2001 musician received an honorary degree from Morehouse; later that year he made two $1 million gifts to the school.
In November, the foundation reclaimed $1.2 million of $3 million in donations to Albany State University because the school did not use the money to build a performing arts center.
Charles, who spent his childhood in Georgia, made gifts totaling $3 million to Albany State in 2001 and 2002 to build a performing arts center named in honor of his mother. The building has not been built.
The singer and pianist died in 2004.
Ervin said then: “Ray Charles, Joe Adams, who was Ray’s longtime manager, and I were clear and specific about how this gift was to be spent. It is incomprehensible that ASU failed to use the money in the manner Mr. Charles specified.”
The foundation asked that the money be returned and got Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens involved.
Albany State President Everette J. Freeman said that returning the money “brings to a close negotiations with the Ray Charles Foundation.”
But the university has not given up hopes to build a performing arts center, estimated at more than $20 million.
Staff writer Chris Quinn contributed to this report.