Clark Atlanta University Selected as Site for New PROPEL Center A Global HBCU Headquarters for Innovation

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is proud to announce the university has been selected as the home of the New PROPEL Center, a global headquarters for innovation.

The global HBCU technology and innovation hub committed to strengthening the Black talent pipeline, will be constructed at 635 Atlanta Student Movement Blvd., at Parsons Street between Vine and Elm Streets on the former site of The University Plaza Apartments – formerly known as “The Birdcage.”

The location is an approximately 5.2-acre site that holds special historic and cultural significance to Clark Atlanta University and its alumni who once called the location their home away from home. The location is historic to the Black community as well, given its proximity to the original location of Friendship Baptist Church, Flipper Temple A.M.E. Church, and other local African American institutions. The location offers to PROPEL a unique opportunity to build upon the legacy of the AUC through long-term leasing with Clark Atlanta University, providing options for future development on the property.

“Here at Clark Atlanta University, our leadership, faculty, and students are humbled to be a partner in the launch of the PROPEL Center and to have the opportunity to execute this long-term partnership,” stated President George T. French, Jr., Ph.D. “The progress of the PROPEL Center, and its journey to fruition, have been steady and rewarding to watch. We are proud to see this important next step being so boldly taken.”

The PROPEL Center will support Clark Atlanta University, the Atlanta University Center and the entire HBCU community, which includes more than 100 colleges and universities, through a robust virtual platform accessible to all HBCU students and faculty. Founding partners Apple and Southern Company, along with strategic partner The Walt Disney Company, have each made major investments toward the development and launch of the center.

PROPEL is designed to provide innovative curricula, work-based learning experiences, advanced technology support and unprecedented career and leadership opportunities. The hub will further work to deliver an array of strategic resources, preparation, and industry access across the Black collegiate community to support their work in producing the next generation of scholars who will champion equity, justice, and entrepreneurship.

The PROPEL Center’s curriculum options will include agricultural technologies, augmented reality, social justice, health, arts & entertainment, hospitality, and energy, along with career preparation and entrepreneurship tracks. Construction is scheduled to commence in early 2023.

“In just a year, PROPEL has co-developed programming with HBCUs that will inspire new curriculum and learning experiences in health, arts & entertainment, and social justice,” stated PROPEL Interim CEO L. Waymond Jackson, Jr. “Once complete, the PROPEL Center will build upon those efforts by providing an innovative learning space for all HBCU students. We are excited for the PROPEL Center to be built on a site that has such historical significance as the Birdcage. This one-of-a-kind project creates a great opportunity for us to honor the past while also building a transformational experience that changes the future of HBCU students.”

“We are proud to support the PROPEL Center’s mission to empower the next generation of Black scholars, innovators, and entrepreneurs,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social initiatives. “Propel’s new campus in the heart of Atlanta is well-positioned to create exciting opportunities for learning and collaboration within the HBCU community.”

“This is a thrilling and pivotal next step in the construction of the PROPEL Center’s physical campus in the heart of the Atlanta University Center,” said Thomas A. Fanning, chairman, president, and CEO of Southern Company. “As a founding partner, we are honored for the opportunities to help forge change and make intentional investments that advance equity in education for the entire community of HBCU students.”

To witness the PROPEL Center’s vision being made a reality with this highly anticipated announcement is gratifying to the entire HBCU community,” said Aaron Walton, president, Cheyney University. “As a proud partner and the first HBCU, we at Cheyney know well what it’s like to be and celebrate a ‘first,’ and we’re humbled to be a part of this innovative accelerator which will enhance the training, preparedness, and futures of all HBCU students.”

“The PROPEL Center will impact my life tremendously as the SGA president at Kentucky State University. It’s essential for my fellow students and me to have unlimited mentoring opportunities – as well as hands-on learning experiences – from corporate leaders who will guide us in the right direction to succeed,” said Savion Briggs, a PROPEL student scholar. “The PROPEL Center does all these things and much more while enabling my fellow students to build relationships with key corporate partners such as Apple and Southern Company, and other campus leaders at HBCUs.”

To learn more about the PROPEL Center, visit

About PROPEL Center

Supported by founding partners Apple and Southern Company, the Propel Center is a first-of-its-kind innovation and learning hub for the entire HBCU community that will serve as a catalytic epicenter of learning, providing students with the knowledge, skills, tools, and resources necessary to transform the nation’s talent pipeline and workforce. Through a robust virtual platform, on-campus activities at partner institutions, and a physical campus in the Atlanta University Center, PROPEL will bring innovative curricula and unprecedented leadership opportunities to produce the next generation of Black leaders.

About Apple

Apple. Revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Apple’s five software platforms – iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS – provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth and to leaving the world better than we found it.

About Southern Company

Southern Company is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries.

The company provides clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network, and telecommunications services. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability, and affordable prices below the national average. For more than a century, we have been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency, and storage technology. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation and a low-carbon future, Southern Company and its subsidiaries develop the customized energy solution our customers and communities require to drive growth and prosperity. Our uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and govern our business to benefit our world. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have been recognized nationally by the U.S. Department of Defense, G>I. Jobs magazine, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, Forbes, and the Women’s Choice Award. To learn more, visit

About Clark Atlanta University

Clark Atlanta University was formed with the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College, both of which hold unique places in the annals of African American history. Atlanta University, established in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, was the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African Americans. Clark College, established four years later in 1869, was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African American student population. Today, with nearly 4,000 students, CAU is the largest of the four institutions (CAU, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Morehouse School of Medicine) that comprise the Atlanta University Center Consortium. It is also the largest of the 37-member UNCF institutions. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson; American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing “The Black National Anthem”; Ralph David Abernathy Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit