ATLANTA — Dr. Kevin James was at the barbershop Friday when he said he received a phone call that would change the trajectory of Morris Brown College.

“Sen. Ossoff called me personally,” he said. “We’re very grateful for the promises kept.”

He said U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff delivered on a campaign promise he made two years ago. It came in the form of a $2.6 million dollar grant.

The senator, who represents Georgia, made the formal announcement from the Atlanta college on Tuesday.

“I recognize the extraordinary role that this institution has played in our state’s history and more importantly the extraordinary importance in this institution in training the next generation to succeed,” Ossoff said.

Ossoff said he and Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock were able to lock in funds for the historically Black college that is experiencing a renaissance.

While presenting the grant, Ossoff added that it was an intentional investment in a college that has accomplished incredible milestones in the past two years.

The school was put in limbo, losing its federal funding in 2002 after financial mismanagement. After declaring bankruptcy and losing its accreditation, Morris Brown College “made history as the first HBCU to be re-accredited after a 20-year hiatus.”

“We call it the hard reset,” James said. “It’s our momentum.”

Now accredited under the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), federal financial funding for students is back and veteran benefits have just been reinstated.

James added that Morris Brown College went from 20 students to 260 students on campus and online. In the fall, they’re expecting enrollment to go up to 400 students.

With the grant, Ossoff said the institution can serve more students – and in a better way.

“These resources will help to build the robust and world-class academic programs that I know President James has envisioned for this institution and which his faculty is equipped to provide,” he said.

About half a million of the grant funds have been earmarked for the restoration of the campus’ Fountain Hall.

The historic building is known as a landmark for the historic Atlanta University Center. James said the building was built by the formerly enslaved in 1882 and once housed the office of renowned scholar W.E.B. DuBois.

Recap of important historical events that took place on that day.

Funds will also help create a center for teaching and learning, according to James.

With the funds signed into law, Ossoff said Morris Brown College can strengthen academic programs as it continues its rebirth.

The college’s president said the center will expand opportunities for students studying psychology, business, music, and pursuing a degree in general studies in the liberal arts.

He added that under business, the school has secured a partnership with Hilton. As the company builds a new hotel, the bottom floor will have classroom space for Morris Brown College students in the college’s business and hospitality program, James said, saying he hopes “to be the pipeline for Black and Brown talent,” in the industry.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said, also showing excitement for growing its gaming and computer science programs.

The college just received its largest grant in 20 years, according to James — but Morris Brown will need more large-scale investments to continue to catapult into its new era.

After establishing accreditation and scaling academic programs, James said the next step is to stabilize financially — without making it harder for students to attend.

“We do the best for educating us,” he said about HBCUs, adding that the educational institutions help serve the Black middle class.

Morris Brown lost a lot of land in bankruptcy and currently has one operational building. James said his goal is to upgrade infrastructure to help scale technology and services for students while attracting new staff and faculty.

In Atlanta’s constellation of HBCUs, James said Morris Brown has been an institution for all when it comes to access and equity.

“Those students who might need a second push,” he said in part, “those who may not have come from a more advantageous background.”

With their accreditation, Morris Brown is now the most affordable HBCU in the Atlanta University Center, according to James.

“We are a haven for all hungry souls,” he said.

To keep feeding those hungry for an education, James said the college has a growing board, a new provost, a new associate provost and other faculty to help invest in the students committed to graduating from the college.

He said to feed the need, he’s looking for more government and corporate funding with money going to growing programs and enrollment.