Genarlow Wilson, whose case sparked protests after he was imprisoned for having consensual sex with a fellow teen, will attend Morehouse College with the help of a radio talk show host's foundation.
"Morehouse is a very good school," Wilson said in a telephone interview Thursday. "It has a lot of history, so it's definitely an honor to be accepted."
Wilson was sentenced to 10 years in prison on felony charges for having sex with a 15-year-old girl at a 2003 New Year's Eve party in Douglas County; he was 17 at the time. His case became a cause celebre highlighting disparities in the criminal justice system.
The Georgia Supreme Court freed him on Oct. 26, after he had spent nearly three years in prison. The court called his sentence "cruel and unusual punishment."
Tom Joyner, a syndicated urban radio host, said Wilson deserves a second chance.
"I asked him, 'Now that you're out, what are you going to do?'" said Joyner. "He said, 'I'd like to try to get my education.' So I said, 'Well, let me help you out, see if I can't get you into one of my beloved historically black colleges.'"
Scholarship awarded, school selected
The Tom Joyner Foundation is giving Wilson a scholarship to cover his tuition and room and board, Joyner said. The foundation has raised more than $55 million and helped thousands of students attend historically black colleges across the country, including Morehouse.
Sterling Hudson, Morehouse's dean of admissions and records, said Wilson will enter during the spring semester, which begins next week. He said the new student will live in a residence hall with older students, and will "be taking baby steps on the academic side."
Wilson, now 21, said he hopes to use his education to mentor kids "in unfortunate situations." He is considering several courses of study, including history, education and sociology.
"Sociology is how you deal with adversity," Wilson said. "I've pretty much lived that major already, so I feel like I can really relate to it because I have such a passion for it."
Wilson, who was a star football player while in high school, is interested in playing at Morehouse as well, Hudson said. That won't happen during his first semester, but may come about later, he said.