ATLANTA, GA — The Atlanta University Center community and particularly the Morehouse College family are stunned following the sudden death of interim President William J. “Bill” Taggart Wednesday night. Taggart only officially took over the position in March following the early ouster of John S. Wilson three months before his contract expired at the end of June.
The college had not release a statement concerning cause of death only one of condolences from the board of directors. One news outlet report that he suffered a brain aneurysm.
“We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Interim President William J. “Bill” Taggart, a beloved colleague, father and friend. For the past two years, Bill devoted himself wholeheartedly to Morehouse College. We are eternally grateful for his loyal support, counsel, and the leadership he provided to students, faculty, and alumni. Throughout his tenure, Bill had a positive impact on Morehouse College and the Greater Atlanta business community. He leaves behind a long legacy of compassion, integrity and devotion. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”
Taggart who has a long history with Morehouse managed the college’s day-to-day operations, according to a letter from Morehouse Board Chairman Robert Davidson. The Howard University alumnus and former president and CEO of Atlanta Life Financial Company joined the Morehouse administration in July 2015 as the campus’ chief operating officer, with executive oversight of the school’s fundraising operations.
“I, along with the entire Board of Trustees, have the utmost confidence as he steps into his new role and leads Morehouse in the coming months,” Davidson wrote in a March letter to the college’s community.
In his first meeting with members of the news media, Taggart said, “There are constituencies that loves Morehouse and they made it clear the way we were being defined was not the Morehouse College that we know and love. Changes were made to turn the page and focus on the things that we should focus on: and that is the education and development and building of moral character of young men that we’ve been given the responsibility to turn from men to ‘Morehouse Men’; to focus on graduation rates; to do a good job in terms of fundraising.”