By Raven Roberts,
Special to the AFRO

On the morning of Feb. 20 local reporters lined the commons of Morgan State University (Morgan) in anticipation of the arrival of former professional basketball star and current SodexoMagic Chairman, Magic Johnson. 

Morgan students, faculty and local residents alike swarmed the campus, in hopes of securing an autograph, photo or even just a handshake from the NBA great. 

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, athletic powerhouse, is founder and chairman of SodexoMagic, the food and facilities management provider for Morgan’s new Thurgood Marshall dining hall. 

Johnson toured the Northeast Baltimore campus alongside Morgan President David Wilson, Morgan’s new athletic director, Dena Freeman-Patton, and many others. He jokingly marched alongside Morgan’s band, the Magnificent Marching Machine to “I’m So Glad I Went To Morgan State,” before taking a picture with the ensemble.

The new dining hall was decorated with basketballs and balloons in Johnson’s honor. 

“Normally, when I have a contract like this, I just don’t show up one time,” he told the crowd. “I’ll be back many times.” 

SodexoMagic signed a five-year contract with Morgan that began during the Fall 2020 semester. In addition to providing food, the contract included facility upgrades, new dining options and locations and more. 

“When you think about myself and my journey, it’s always been about… [making] sure I inspire young people to dream, dream and dream and then build an incredible strategy to make that dream come to fruition,” Johnson said. 

Johnson met with student leaders, including Mister and Miss Morgan State University, Ehidiame Akojie and Kysha Hancock, respectively. He also met with the men’s and women’s basketball teams. He offered his words of encouragement before their games against MEAC rival Howard University. “When you’re playing a big game, it’s all about the execution of the little things,” he said. 

“I’m looking forward to the game tonight and just hanging out with everybody,” Johnson said. 

The women’s team lost to Howard 64-56 while the men’s defeated Howard 89-76. Both games had an incredible turnout.

SodexoMagic is the provider for seven other HBCUs, including Jackson State University and Edward Waters University. The company will serve as the first new food services provider in roughly 25 years for Morgan. 

“My main thing is making sure first that the students are happy with their meals and that the cafeteria is clean and safe and so food is good places clean and safe and everybody has a great dining experience,” Johnson said. 

Raven Roberts is a student at Morgan State University and a staff writer for the MSU Spokesman.

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