Gregory C. Ellison, II is an Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Emory. He is the author of the book, "Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men" (May 1, 2013). He is also an ordained Baptist minister, a product of the Atlanta Public School System, and a proud alumnus of Frederick Douglass High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1999 from Emory University and was the first black male inducted into the Emory College Hall of Fame. Rev. Ellison was the keynote speaker for the annual Modupe Dayo African themed graduation ceremony for the Class of 2013 held on May 11th in Cox Ballroom, giving a powerful charge to African American graduate candidates.
Graduate Degree from: Princeton Theological Seminary
Doctoral Degree from: Princeton Theological Seminary; received a PhD in Pastoral Theology
Area of Specialization/Research: Young African American Male Development and Challenges; How feeling muted and invisible affect identity, development, and conceptions of the future; How feelings of muteness and invisibility transcend race, ethnicy, and class.
Current Course Offerings: Caring for marginalized populations.
An Interview with Gregory C. Ellison, II:
> How and when did you first become interested in your field of study?
> I grew up in the Atlanta Public School System and experienced first hand the challenges of being a young African American male in the south. Also, in my family higher education was not an option but an expectation? It became apparent that there was limited support and low expectations for black males in the Atlanta Public School System and in the nation. I and my like-minded peers were determined to effect a change in that attitude by carving out a sustaining support system for ourselves.
> Why did you choose to be a part of the academic community at Emory?
I and 12 other students from the Atlanta Public School system entered Emory College as a part of the Martin Luther King and Benjamin E. Mays Scholars Program. We 13 bonded as a cohort and met with select administrators and faculty members to discuss the best practices for college success, including but not limited to study skills, integrating as minorities on a majority campus, and aligning with organizations that would support our cultural and moral experiences. Reflecting back on my own positive experience at Emory and the mentors and senior administrators who contributed to making us key student leaders in and outside of the Emory's gates, prompting University-wide recognition, I feel grateful for the mentoring and support that I received and could not ignore my obligation to give back to other students striving for similar success. One of the 13 was elected as the first African American president of College Council, another held rank as National Debate Champion, another received Emory's humanitarian award, and I was chosen as Class Orator for '99C, and was the first African American male inducted into the Emory College Hall of Fame. I enjoy being able to participate purposefully in inspiring academic excellence, emboldened innovative leadership, and fostering lifelong friendships that result from having conducive space for growth like the ones that I benefited from as an undergraduate student here.
> What do you enjoy about teaching/serving the students, staff, of Emory?
> What do you like about the university community?
Creating opportunities for students to form true bonds across cultures, class, and ethnicity; enabling willing students to encourage each other in becoming the moral leaders and pillars of society that they believe themselves destined to become. I believe that we as faculty and staff promote this positive development by example, by valuing humanity, becoming engaged mentors, and maintaining vigilant advocacy to insure community well being.
>What University values, traditions or culture do you feel most connected or resonate most with you?
As a religion and sociology dual major at Emory, our final assignment in a religion capstone course taught by Dr. David Blumenthal was to develop a project that integrated what we had learned from our studies in the discipline. I partnered with another student to raise several thousand dollars to host a white tablecloth breakfast for the facilities workers who cleaned the dormitories. Impressively, the Facilities Management Department allowed these frequently unacknowledged Emory staff members to receive full pay for the morning that they were celebrated. This act gave me a greater appreciation and commitment to value those in our community considered to be ' the least of these.'
> What special talents, contributions, service or insight do you bring to the community?
I have found in teaching and lecturing around the world that feelings of muteness and invisibility transcend race, ethnicity, and class. All people desire a sense of belonging, control, and meaningful existance. My findings that all humans fundamentally need to be seen and heard favorably have been substantiated in my course at Candler, "Caring for Marginalized Populations," which filled up in a record 9 seconds. I am encouraged by work at Emory to help others to see more clearly and hear more acutely because these aims align with my mantra, "Once you see, you cannot not see." As a faculty member, I bring to Emory constant and continual sensitivity to seeing and hearing the value of all who make up our community.
Click link below to read more articles praising Ellison's new book, Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men: