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Black Applicants Surge at the University of California

There were nearly 82,000 students who applied for places in the 2010 entering class at the nine undergraduate campuses of the University of California. This was a slight 1.6 percent increase from a year ago.

But the number of black applicants to the University of California increased by 9.3 percent this year and nearly 16 percent from two years ago. In contrast, the number of white applicants to the University of California this year is down 10 percent from 2009.

Furthermore, the number of black applicants is up at each of the nine undergraduate campuses of the University of California system. The largest increase in black applicants occurred at the Merced campus. There, the number of black applicants surged by 19.4 percent. The number of blacks applying to the University of California at San Diego was up 16.1 percent. At the state’s flagship campus at Berkeley, the number of black applicants was up by 9.6 percent.

The increase in the number of black applicants does not mean that black enrollments will increase this fall. All admissions decisions at state universities in California are made without consideration of race.

Historically Black Delaware State University Eliminates Two Mostly White Athletic Teams

Delaware State University, the historically black educational institution in Dover, is eliminating two of the school’s 17 intercollegiate sports in an attempt to lower the costs of athletic programs. Men’s tennis and the women’s equestrian team will be eliminated after the current academic year. The university is expected to save $700,000 by eliminating the two teams.

The student body at Delaware State is 10 percent white. But the two teams that will be cut are almost all white. There are no African Americans on the men’s tennis team. On the equestrian team, just two of the 21 team members are African Americans. The equestrian team only started competing intercollegiately in 2006. At that time, there were only 23 universities nationwide with a varsity equestrian team.

Members of the equestrian team have threatened to go to court if the university fails to reconsider its position.

Bucknell Expands Its Participation in the Posse Foundation

Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, has become only the second educational institution in the country to commit to enroll a third group of low-income and minority students through the Posse Foundation. Bucknell now enrolls groups, or posses, of 10 students from public high schools in Boston, Washington, D.C., and now Los Angeles.

Under the Posse Foundation program, universities agree to select at least 10 low-income students from the public school system of a particular city. The selected students receive full scholarships. They will become a “posse” and they will participate in pre-college training and meet regularly when they enroll at a particular university.

The University of Wisconsin is the only other educational institution in the country that has enrolled three posses.

Students at Black Colleges Do Their Part to Help Haiti’s Earthquake Victims

There has been a tremendous outpouring of public support for the victims of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti. A nationwide telethon on January 22 alone raised close to $60 million.

Colleges and universities across the United States are involved in the relief effort. Students and faculty at Dartmouth College have raised more than $140,000.

Students at many black colleges and universities come from low-income families. But these students are pitching in as well. Here are just a few examples:

• At Howard University in Washington, D.C., more than $15,000 has been raised.

• Clark Atlanta University has set up sites throughout its campus where students can deposit cash or checks or make credit card contributions.

• The Haitian Student Association at Delaware State University has placed boxes around campus asking students to drop in their spare change.

• Students at the business school of Kentucky State University held car washes to raise funds for earthquake victims.

• At Hampton University $5 from every ticket sold to home basketball games went to relief organizations.

• Students at Winston-Salem State University went door to door in campus residence halls seeking donations.

15,246  Number of foreign students who earned doctorates at American universities in 2008.

510  Number of these foreign doctoral students who were from African nations.

source: National Science Foundation

In Memoriam

Consuela Edmonia Lee (1926-2009)

Consuela Lee, a highly acclaimed jazz pianist and educator, died late last year in Atlanta from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. She was 83 years old.

Lee’s grandfather, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute, was the founder of the Snow Hill Institute, near Selma, Alabama. The institute offered both an academic curriculum and vocational training. The school closed in 1973.

Born in Tallahassee, Florida, where her father was the band director at Florida A&M University, Lee spent most of her early years on the Snow Hill campus in Alabama. She started to play the piano at age 3. After graduating from Snow Hill Institute, she studied music at Fisk University and Northwestern University. After completing her formal education, she taught music theory and composition at Alabama State University, Hampton University, Talladega College, and Norfolk State University.

In June 1980 she returned to her roots and opened the Springtree/Snow Hill Institute for the Performing Arts. The school offered daily after-school music programs and summer institutes. The school operated until 2003.

Filmmaker Spike Lee is the son of Consuela Lee’s brother. She was the music supervisor for Spike Lee’s film School Daze.

Maurice Hope-Thompson (1941-2010)

Maurice Hope-Thompson, a professor at Texas Southern University and host of a daily news program and a popular weekend talk show, has died at the age of 68.

Hope-Thompson, a native of Jamaica, was a graduate of the Boston College Law School, where he was one of the founders of the Third World Law Journal. He taught in a high school in Houston and then at Prairie View A&M University before joining the faculty at Texas Southern University in 1995. He taught classes in the university’s School of Communications. He hosted a daily 6 a.m. news program on KTSU, the college’s radio station, a Saturday radio talk show, and other public affairs programming.

Simon Rogers Wiltz (1946-2010)

Simon Rogers Wiltz, former head of the architecture department at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, died in an automobile accident in Houston. He was 63 years old.

Wiltz was a native of Houston but went to Nashville to study at Fisk University. He graduated from Fisk in 1968 with a degree in physics. He later graduated from the School of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He returned to Houston and, with a partner, opened an architectural firm. He joined the Prairie View faculty in 1982 and became head of the department in 1990. At the time of his death, he was teaching part-time while maintaining his architectural practice.

Honors and Awards

• Janet Dickerson, vice president for campus life at Princeton University, received the Martin Luther King Day Journey Award for Lifetime Service from the university. Dickerson plans to retire this coming June.

• E. Dean Montgomery, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, received the Meritorious Service Award from the South Association of Colleges and Schools for recognition of his service as a peer reviewer in the accreditation process.

The School of Divinity at Howard University will rename its library in honor of the late Lawrence Neale Jones. Jones, who died this past December, served as dean of the divinity school from 1975 to 1991.

• Dikembe Mutombo, a 1991 graduate of Georgetown University who played for 18 seasons in the National Basketball Association, received the John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award from Georgetown University. Mutombo was recognized for his work to raise money for healthcare and education in his native Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Black Colleges With the Lowest Student Graduation Rates

At 25 historically black colleges and universities, two thirds or more of all entering black students do not go on to earn a diploma. The lowest graduation rate was at Texas Southern University, where only 12 percent of entering freshmen go on to earn a bachelor’s degree. At the University of the District of Columbia, Rust College, and Virginia Union University, the black graduation rate was 15 percent or lower.

Many of the private black colleges have puny endowments and therefore are not able to offer generous financial aid packages. And many of the students at these schools come from low-income families with few resources to pay for college.

“The election of a black president may have been important to African Americans, but it hasn’t done much for their bottom line, which continues to deteriorate.”

— columnist Bob Herbert, in The New York Times, 1-19-10

A New President at Historically Black Denmark Technical College

Michael M. Townsend is the new president of Denmark Technical College, a historically black educational institution in South Carolina. He was vice president of the Mequon campus of Milwaukee Area Technical College. Previously, Dr. Townsend was dean of students at Kankakee Community College in Illinois and associate dean of students at the College of Education of DePaul University in Chicago.

African-American Professor Is One of Five Finalists for Dean of the College of Law at the University of Nebraska

Anna Shavers, interim dean and Cline Williams Professor of Citizenship Law at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln College of Law, has been named one of five finalists for the permanent deanship. Professor Shavers is a graduate of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. She received a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree from the University of Minnesota. She has served on the law school’s faculty since 1989.

An announcement of the new dean is expected shortly.

New Study Identifies Factors Contributing to Black Male Success in College

Charlita Shelton, president of the University of the Rockies in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has published research on a large group of African-American men who were college dropouts but went back to school to earn their degrees. She identified four factors that are important contributors to black male academic success:

• Self-determination and a strong sense of self-identity which give black men an internal motivation to succeed;

• Taking academic courses with a relevance to black men’s chosen career;

• A high level of family support and a sense of obligation to the family to succeed; and

• Financial support from government sources and academic counseling at institutions of higher education.

Dr. Shelton is a graduate of Western Michigan University. She holds a master’s degree from National University in San Diego, as well as a second master’s degree and a Ph.D. in human development from Fielding Graduate University.

Blacks Make Up 9 Percent of Early Admits at Williams College

Williams College, the highly selective liberal arts college in western Massachusetts, reports that it admitted 216 students during its early admissions cycle this winter. Nearly 41 percent of all early applicants were admitted to Williams. This is more than double the admission rate at Williams during last spring’s regular admissions cycle.

Williams reports that 19 of the 216 students admitted early are African Americans. Thus, blacks make up nearly 9 percent of all students admitted early. Blacks are 10 percent of the entire freshman class currently enrolled at Williams.

Federal Lawsuit Claims That in 2008 Students at Historically Black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania Were Denied Their Right to Vote

In November 2008 people in a heavily black voting precinct, which includes the campus of historically black Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania, stood in line for up to eight hours in the rain in order to cast their ballots. Many of the voters who waited in the long lines, or those who decided not to vote because of the overcrowding, were Lincoln University students.

Now a coalition of civil rights groups has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the county government intentionally provided inadequate voting facilities in an effort to suppress the African-American vote. According to the lawsuit, poll workers were not furnished with up-to-date registration lists and GOP poll watchers frequently challenged the credentials of black voters.

U.S. Navy Honors Dr. Charles R. Drew, the African-American Surgeon Who Developed the Process for Storing Blood Plasma

The United States Navy is naming a ship in honor of Charles R. Drew, the former chair of the department of surgery at Howard University and the pioneering scientist who developed the process for storing blood plasma. His research is credited with saving thousands of lives during World War II and countless more since that time. Drew’s research enabled the Red Cross and other organizations to hold blood drives and to establish blood banks for long-term storage.

The USNS Charles R. Drew is a 689-foot, 42,000-ton vessel that will serve as a cargo/ammunition ship. The ship, built in San Diego, will be commissioned on February 27.

Charles Drew was a graduate of Amherst College. He received his medical training at McGill Medical College in Montreal and Columbia University. He was the first African American to earn a Doctor of Medical Science degree at Columbia.

In 1941, Drew joined the Howard University faculty. On April 1, 1950, Dr. Drew was killed in an automobile crash in North Carolina. He was 45 years old.

Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Kevin M. Holmes is the new director of recruitment and admissions at Norfolk State University in Virginia. He was the director of undergraduate recruitment at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Holmes holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from George Mason University.

• John Waddell was appointed director of the College of Virginia Beach, a division of Hampton University. He was the president of Denmark Technical College in Denmark, South Carolina.

Dr. Waddell holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina and a doctorate in higher education administration from Florida State University.

• Weldon Jackson was appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He was provost and executive vice president at Manhattan College in New York.

Dr. Jackson is a graduate of Morehouse College and holds a doctorate from Harvard University.

• Joseph Howard Silver Sr. was named provost and vice president for academic affairs at Clark Atlanta University. He was vice president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Dr. Silver is a graduate of St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina. He holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Clark Atlanta University.

• Tammy Hilliard-Thompson is the new director of residence life and housing at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. She was associate director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at West Chester University.

• Suzanne D. Phillips was appointed vice president for student affairs at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. She was executive director for college level services at The College Board in New York City.

Dr. Phillips is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She holds a master’s degree and an educational doctorate from Teachers College of Columbia University.

• Anthony B. Maddox was named professor of clinical education at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. Prior to joining the faculty he was chief of staff and interim chief neighborhood officer with the Los Angeles Urban League.

Grants and Gifts

The University of Florida awarded a three-year, $150,000 grant to the Alachua County African-American History Project to conduct and transcribe oral histories of African Americans who were alive during the period of Jim Crow segregation.

The University of Georgia received a two-year, $471,683 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for a research study examining the link between stress and drug addiction among rural African Americans.

The research will be under the direction of Ezemenari Obasi, an assistant professor of counseling psychology at the University of Georgia. Dr. Obasi is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in psychology from Ohio State University.

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