New Photo Exhibition at Penn Features Historically Black Colleges and Universities

The Burrison Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania will open a new exhibition Thursday, Sept. 8, featuring the photography of Penn alumnus Andrew Feiler, a 1984 Wharton graduate. The exhibition features photographs that depict Morris Brown College, one of the 105 historically black colleges and universities. Morris Brown was originally established in 1881 and was all but shut down in 2002 after years of fiscal hardship and a high-profile mismanagement scandal.

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 8 and feature a book signing by the artist as well as a discussion between Feiler and HBCU scholar and Penn professor Marybeth Gasman. The gallery is located in the University Club at Penn on the second floor of the Inn at Penn, 3611 Walnut St. The exhibition runs through Sept. 30.

In 2002, Morris Brown lost federal accreditation due to a scandal involving false declarations of enrolled students by the college’s administration. The fallout of the scandal left the college in financial disarray, although its current leadership vows to revive the school and the college still continues to educate students even today.

Feiler’s photos depict “classrooms, dorms, gym facilities and other spaces no longer alive with students, faculty and staff but rather mired in a state of uncertainty where hopes of normality’s return mutely battle a host of unwelcome alternate futures.” Feiler hopes that his photos will project a new layer of meaning onto the American collegiate story and “open minds, trigger emotion, stimulate discussion and, perhaps, prompt action.”

The exhibition’s sponsors, in addition to the Gallery, are the Office of the Curator, Penn Alumni Relations, the Office of the Executive Vice President and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions.

Feiler, a fifth-generation Georgian, is an award-winning photographer whose work has been featured in museums, galleries and magazines and is in a number of public and private collections. His photography is focused on the contemporary complexities of the American South. More of his work can be found at

About the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions

The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. CMSI’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions is part of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. For further information about CMSI, please visit

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