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NEWS RELEASE: Endowed Scholarship Established to Honor Jazz Legend


ATLANTA, GA (July 2, 2020)  – Clark Atlanta University (CAU) today announced the establishment of the CAU | WCLK Jazz Legacy Endowed Scholarship to honor the life, legacy and memory of American Jazz Pianist and Vocalist Lionel Frederick “Freddy” Cole.

Spearheaded by CAU Alumnus and Board Chairman Emeritus Carl Ware, the initial $100,000 endowed scholarship will help preserve the original American art form of Jazz while providing scholarships for students majoring in music with a concentration in Jazz, instrumental, vocals or music production. Talented CAU students and Jazz 91.9 WCLK will greatly benefit from this award in honor of one of the nation’s Jazz greats.

“I am happy to play a small role in helping to establish this endowed scholarship to benefit CAU students, support the fine arts at Clark Atlanta University and support Atlanta Jazz treasure, 91.9 WCLK.  My friend Freddy Cole was a huge supporter of WCLK, dropping by frequently to promote his concerts and share stories about his career.  He was the epitome of style, and his legacy will live on through this scholarship,” said Carl Ware.

Cole passed away June 27, 2020 at the age of 88 years old. Cole’s recording career spanned nearly 70 years. He was the brother of musicians Nat King Cole, Eddie Cole and Ike Cole, father of Lionel Cole, and the uncle of singers Natalie and Carole Cole.

“Clark Atlanta University is truly honored to be part of this exciting initiative devoted to preserving the unique music genre of Jazz while honoring the legacy of an American musical treasure Freddy Cole,” stated George T. French, Jr., Ph.D., president of Clark Atlanta University.  

Cole attended the Roosevelt Institute in Chicago, the Juilliard School of Music, and later earned a master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music.  After spending several months on the road alongside Johnny Coles and Benny Golson in the Earl Bostic Band, in 1964, Cole made his full-length debut with “Waiter, Ask the Man to Play the Blues.”   That release was followed by a decade of a run of albums including “As Long as I'm Singing,” “One More Love Song” and “Right from the Heart.”

His beloved grandson Tracy Cole stated “I am honored to know that my grandfather’s dream of keeping Jazz alive will continue to thrive.  Keeping the memory of Freddy Cole going after his passing is my new goal in life, and thanks to Clark Atlanta University and Carl Ware, that dream is becoming a reality.”

Cole was an avid golfer frequently spending time on the links with his lifelong friends including Carl Ware. called the “Road Dogs.” He received an HONORARY DOCTORATE OF HUMANE LETTERS from Clark Atlanta University in Spring of 2019.

For more information or to support the scholarship, please contact the CAU Office of Institutional Advancement at (404) 880 - 6040 or sburston@cau.edu.    Click here to support the CAU | WCLK Jazz Legacy Endowed Scholarship Fund.  


About Clark Atlanta University  Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is a leading research institution of higher education, offering 38 exciting areas of study at bachelor’s, master’s, specialists, and doctoral levels. Established in 1988 by the historic consolidation of Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869), CAU continues a 150-year legacy rooted in the African-American tradition and focused on the future. Through global innovation, transformative educational experiences, and high-value engagement, CAU cultivates lifted lives that transform the world.  Learn more at www.cau.edu

About Jazz 91.9 WCLK  Jazz 91.9 WCLK, a 501(c) 3 non profit radio station licensed to Clark Atlanta University, is committed to preserving the legacy of Jazz through dynamic Jazz musical selections, cultural programming and community-focused initiatives.  Founded in 1974, Jazz 91.9 WCLK broadcasts a mix of Classic and Contemporary Jazz and Gospel music.  WCLK is a nonprofit, member supported, National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate station that serves the interest of the citizens in Greater Atlanta.  For more station information, programming details, and to listen on the Web, please visit:  www.wclk.com.