Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, Jr. is the James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership at Emory University
(Atlanta). He is a Senior Advisor to the President of Emory University.
In 2013, he was a Visiting Scholar in Residence at Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. He is president emeritus of Morehouse College where he served as the tenth president of the nation’s largest private, four-year liberal arts college for men from 2007 through 2012.
Franklin graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Morehouse in 1975 with a degree in political science and religion, and earned an M.Div. at Harvard Divinity School (1978). Franklin continued his education at the University of Chicago, earning a PhD in ethics and society, and religion and the social sciences in 1985. He also undertook international study at the University of Durham, UK, as a 1973 Merrill Scholar and English Speaking Union Scholar. His major fields of study included social ethics, psychology and African American religion. He is the recipient of honorary degrees from Bethune Cookman University, Bates College, University of New England, Centre College, Hampden Sydney College and Swarthmore College, Ursinus College and Washington and Jefferson College.
Franklin is the author of four books: Moral Leadership: Integrity, Courage, Imagination (forthcoming 2020, Orbis Press); Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities (2007); Another Day’s Journey: Black Churches Confronting the American Crisis (1997); and Liberating Visions: Human Fulfillment and Social Justice in African American Thought (1990). He has co-authored (Don S. Browning, et. al.) a volume titled, From Culture Wars to Common Ground: Religion and the American Family Debate (2001). He also penned the foreword to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s, Letter from Birmingham Jail, reprinted by Trinity Forum in 2012.
Franklin worked with three U.S. Presidents on various initiatives (President Clinton’s “One America” Initiative; President Bush’s “Faith Based Advisory Committee”; and President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative).
He is a board member of the Centers for Disease Control Foundation, and the Princeton Theological Seminary.
Active in a range of organizations, Franklin has served on the boards of the Human Rights Campaign, the Atlanta Falcons Community Advisory Board, the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, the CNN Dialogues Advisory Committee, and NASA’s 100-year Starship Project Advisory Board directed by former astronaut and high school classmate, Dr. Mae Jemison. He also served on the boards of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Public Broadcasting of Atlanta, and Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (Kappa Boule). He is also a member of the Downtown Atlanta Rotary Club; 100 Black Men of Atlanta; the 1999 class of Leadership Atlanta; the Leadership and Sustainability Institute Working Group (of the Open Society Foundation); and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He has served on the boards of the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE); the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Executive Committee); the White House HBCU Capital Financing Advisory Board; the Atlanta Business League. In 2000, Mayor Campbell appointed him co-chair of Atlanta 2000, the city’s official coordinating committee for Y2K activities and celebrations. And, in 2019, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms invited him to serve on the Mayor’s Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust.
Franklin is married to Cheryl Goffney Franklin, MD, an OB-GYN physician who earned degrees at Stanford University (B.A.), Columbia University School of Public Health (MPH) and Harvard Medical School (MD). He is the father of three children and two grandchildren.