Three Leading Colleges and Universities Announce Increase in Black Students Accepted for Admission

Several of the nation’s leading colleges and universities have released data on black students accepted for admission into the Class of 2014.

At Harvard University, 11.3 percent of all students admitted are African Americans. A year ago, blacks were 10.4 percent of the students accepted for admission.

At Princeton University, 9.4 percent of all admitted students are African Americans. Blacks made up 7.5 percent of this year’s freshman class at Princeton.

At Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, a whopping 17 percent of all admitted students are African Americans. In 2009 blacks were 15 percent of the admitted students, but African Americans were only 9.6 percent of the students who actually enrolled in the first-year class.


By One Vote, the Only Black Member on the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees Retains Her Seat

Leah Moody, the only African-American member of the board of trustees of the University of South Carolina, has retained her seat after an intense fight in the state legislature. After the votes were counted, Moody had one more vote than was necessary to retain her seat. Moody actually lost the vote in the House but her victory margin in the state Senate was large enough to overcome the shortfall in the House.

The issue of retaining the board’s lone black member became highly controversial in recent weeks after African-American legislators called on black football recruits at the University of South Carolina to choose another school rather than enroll at a university where there were no blacks on the governing board.


London’s Wonder Twins Destroy the Racist Theory of Black Intellectual Inferiority

Paula and Peter Imafidon are 9-year-old twins from East London. They are about to enter high school, the youngest students in Britain ever to do so. At age 7, they passed the A-level examination in mathematics. Passing the A-level examination shows that a student is ready for college-level instruction. A year later, at age 8, they both passed the University of Cambridge's Advanced Mathematics test, the youngest students ever to pass the exam.

Paula wants to be a mathematics teacher. Peter aims to be prime minister of the United Kingdom.

By the way, the twins are black. Their parents immigrated to Britain from Nigeria more than 30 years ago. The twins’ sister, now 20 years old, won a scholarship at age 13 to study at Johns Hopkins University. A second sister, now 17, entered college in Britain at age 11.



Shaun McKay Named President of Suffolk County Community College

In December 2009 three finalists were chosen by the presidential search committee at Suffolk Community College, which operates three campuses on the eastern end of Long Island in New York. One of the candidates was Shaun L. McKay, an African American who has been serving as interim executive vice president since February 2009. Previously he was executive dean of the college’s Brentwood campus.

After the other two finalists dropped out of the running for the college presidency, the chair of the board of trustees announced that it was reopening the search process. The faculty assembly passed a resolution calling for Dr. McKay to be named president, and the local chapter of the NAACP and other groups protested the decision not to hire Dr. McKay.

After the protests, the board of trustees conducted a second interview with Dr. McKay. After this meeting, the board announced that it would enter into contract negotiations with the intention of reaching an agreement.

Now Dr. McKay has officially been named the sixth president of the college.

Dr. McKay is a graduate of the University of Maryland. He holds a master’s degree from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore and an educational doctorate from Morgan State University.


Prairie View A&M Wins the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge

Each year Honda holds an academic competition among historically black colleges and universities. This year 250 students from 48 HBCUs competed in the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge in Orlando. The winner of the 2010 challenge was Prairie View A&M University; Mississippi Valley State University was the runner-up.

North Carolina Central University and Fayetteville State University also were among the final four competitors.

Prairie View took home the top prize of $50,000.


7.7%  Percentage of African Americans over the age of 25 in 1940 who were high school graduates.

84.2%  Percentage of African Americans over the age of 25 in 2009 who were high school graduates.

source:U.S. Department of Education


In Memoriam

Ivy Denise Locke (1957-2009)

Ivy Denise Locke, vice president for administration and finance at Rhode Island College, died late last month from complications of a respiratory illness. She was 52 years old.

A certified public accountant, Dr. Locke was a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Emory University and earned an MBA from Washington University and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

From 1990 to 1998 she was an assistant professor of finance at Florida State University. She then took the position of vice president for fiscal affairs at Stillman College in Alabama before joining the administration at Rhode Island College in 2006.

Willie E. Jenkins (1924-2010)

Willie E. Jenkins, a former Tuskegee Airman and longtime administrator at Florida A&M University, died late last month at a hospital in Tallahassee. He was 85 years old.

A graduate of Virginia State University, Colonel Jenkins led the ROTC program at Florida A&M from 1959 to 1963. In 1968 he began an 18-year stint as dean for university development.

Geraldine Ramona Hastings Anderson (1920-2010)

Geraldine R.H. Anderson, longtime faculty member at Grambling State University in Louisiana, died late last month in Houston, Texas. She was 89 years old.

Dr. Anderson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tuskegee University in Alabama. She taught in the Tuskegee public schools before joining the Grambling faculty in 1953. She later earned an educational doctorate at Pennsylvania State University in 1964. Dr. Anderson served as chair of the department of home economics at Grambling until her retirement in 1982.


Honors and Awards

• Abraham L. Davis, who recently retired as a professor of political science at Morehouse College, received the Samella Lewis Professional Achievement Award from the Ohio State University Alumni Association.

The late Bernett L. Johnson Jr. was professor of dermatology and pathology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Now, a health center located at Sayre High School in West Philadelphia will be named in his honor.

Dr. Johnson, who died in 2009, was a graduate of Virginia Union University and Meharry Medical College.

• Rita S. Geier, associate to the chancellor and senior fellow at the Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, received the Woman of Legend and Merit Award in Education from the Tennessee State University Women’s Center.

A graduate of Fisk University, Geier holds a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Vanderbilt University.

In 1968 Geier was a 23-year-old faculty member at historically black Tennessee State University when she filed a federal lawsuit against the state system of higher education. Eventually the suit was settled and the Geier Consent Decree provided $77 million for efforts to desegregate the state’s university system.

• Deryl Bailey, an associate professor of counseling and human development services at the University of Georgia, received the 2010 Reese House Social Justice Advocate of the Year award from the Counselors for Social Justice of the American Counseling Association.

Dr. Bailey has been on the University of Georgia faculty since 1999. He holds a doctorate in counselor education from the University of Virginia.

Grants and Gifts

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore received a two-year, $100,000 grant from the Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Maryland. The grant is earmarked for funding a faculty position to train physician assistants.

Historically black Prairie View A&M University in Texas received a three-year, $599,085 grant from the National Science Foundation to increase the number of minority students and women who enroll in computer science and engineering programs. The funds will be used for a high school program designed to build interest in the disciplines.

• North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro received a $50,000 grant from the Historically Minority Colleges and Universities Consortium of North Carolina. The grant will be used to fund a five-day leadership institute for black male high school students.

The program is under the direction of Anthony Graham, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the university.



The Rejuvenation of Arkansas Baptist College

In 2006, Fitz Hill was hired as president of Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock. Hill’s previous position was head football coach at predominantly white San Jose State University in California. Hill, a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, holds an educational doctorate from the University of Arkansas.

When Hill arrived in Little Rock, violent crime and drug dealing were rampant in neighborhoods near the campus. The college campus was surrounded by boarded-up buildings. There were only 150 students enrolled and the school operated on a budget of $2 million.

Now enrollments are up to 750 students and the school’s annual budget is $13 million. President Hill has announced a new $18 million building plan, which includes the renovation of Old Main at the center of campus, the construction of a 190-bed dormitory, and a new general education building.


“There used to be dope dealers. But at Arkansas Baptist, we are hope dealers.”

Fitz Hill, president of historically black Arkansas Baptist College, speaking of the transformation around the college campus in Little Rock over the past four years, in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 3-20-10 (See story above.)


Brooklyn College Places Shirley Chisholm Archives Online

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York has launched the online Shirley Chisholm Project, which provides access to the largest digital archive of materials on the nation’s first African-American woman congressional representative. She was also the first woman and first African American to mount a serious campaign for the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States. Chisholm was a 1946 graduate of Brooklyn College and held a master’s degree in elementary education from Columbia University. After serving in Congress from 1968 to 1983, Chisholm held the Purington Chair at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

The Chisholm archives at Brooklyn College include campaign materials, platform statements, position papers, and a vast array of audio- and video-clips. In the future, the online project will expand to cover the history of political activism by women in Brooklyn from 1945 to the present time.

Readers who want to access the archive can do so by clicking here.


Canadian Student Group Calls for Action Against Racism on Campus

The Ontario chapter of the Canadian Federation of Students has issued a new report calling for greater efforts to combat racial hate on college and university campuses across Canada. The report documents a wide range of racial incidents that have occurred in recent years, including the writing of the word “niggers” on the door of the office of the Black Student Alliance at York University.

The report calls for Canadian universities to undertake “anti-oppression training” for all students during orientation periods and to revise curricula that are “too Eurocentric.” The student group also calls for “special consideration” or affirmative action in admissions for underrepresented groups and “equity audits” to track progress in hiring more minorities to faculty positions.

Readers can download the report by clicking here.


NCAA Issues New Rule on Sickle Cell Testing

In 2006, Dale Lloyd II, a black football player at Rice University in Houston, Texas, was given a nutritional supplement shake to drink after a practice session. The shake included creatine, an organic acid that can have damaging side effects to athletes with the sickle cell trait. Returning to practice, Lloyd collapsed on the field and died.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has issued a new rule requiring all student athletes be tested for the sickle cell trait, show proof of a prior test, or sign a waiver releasing a college or university from any liability. Allowing students to decline the test addresses concerns that students with the sickle cell trait might be denied athletic opportunities if they tested positive.

People with the sickle cell trait can be of any race. But African Americans are far more likely to have the trait than whites.


Three Black Students Win Watson Fellowships

Since 1968 about 2,200 American college students have been awarded Thomas J. Watson Fellowships. The program, begun by the founder of IBM, offers graduating college seniors at 49 leading colleges $25,000 to travel the world on independent study projects. This year it appears that three of the 40 Watson fellows are of African descent.

Elias Aba Milki is a senior at Amherst College. Next year he will travel to South Africa, Brazil, and Uganda to conduct research on how artists have used hip-hop music as a holistic tool for improving healthcare, such as using music to raise AIDS awareness.

Milki was born in New York but was raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He hopes to become a physician.

Jeanette Charles is a senior at Scripps College in California. Charles, of African-Latina descent, will spend the next year on her research project entitled “Afro-American Voices Through a History of People’s Literature.” She will travel to Venezuela, Peru, Nicaragua, Martinique, and Ecuador studying local poetry, literature, and oral histories of people of African descent in Latin America.

Nathan Thomas is a senior anthropology major at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He will use his Watson award to investigate cultural education in four metropolitan primary schools in Australia, Finland, South Africa, and India. Thomas, a native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, states that the four schools have established an educational philosophy that broadens their academic focus and each is renowned for capitalizing on its educational culture.


Outlook for Black Student Participation in Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarships Looks Increasingly Dim

Students in Florida who graduate from high school with a 3.5 grade point average and score 1270 on the combined mathematics and reading sections of the SAT college entrance examination are eligible for a Bright Futures scholarship. In past years these scholarships paid full tuition at a state university. Students with a 3.0 GPA were eligible for a Bright Futures scholarship, which paid 75 percent of their tuition costs.

In 2009 the legislature made significant changes to the Bright Futures program. First of all, Bright Futures scholarship awards were capped at 2008 levels. The legislature then authorized state universities to raise tuition by as much as 15 percent per year until a time that the tuition costs at Florida universities equaled the average tuition for public universities nationwide.

Most state universities in Florida promptly raised tuition. As a result, Bright Futures scholarships no longer pay the full cost of tuition. And the students least likely to be able to afford these additional costs are those from low-income families, a group that is disproportionately black.

Because of the fact that these merit-based awards are tied to standardized test scores where blacks traditionally score significantly below whites, only about 7 percent of the students who receive Bright Futures scholarships are African Americans. But blacks make up about 15 percent of the college-age population in Florida.

Now the state Senate has approved a measure that will make it even harder for black students to qualify for these scholarships. The bill raises the combined SAT score from 1270 to 1290 for students to receive the larger monetary award. For the smaller scholarship, the SAT threshold rises from 970 to 1050.

The average combined reading and mathematics score on the SAT for blacks in Florida is 862, almost 200 points below the threshold for qualifying for a Bright Futures scholarship. The average score for white students in Florida is 1048. Thus, almost half of all white students will qualify for a scholarship.



Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Stephanie Lambert, a former associate editor for the Capital Outlook, a weekly black-owned newspaper in Tallahassee, has joined the staff of the Office of Communications at Florida A&M University. She will manage the university’s social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. She is a 2006 graduate of the Florida A&M School of Journalism and Graphic Communications.

• Vivian H. Burke, mayor pro tempore and member of the city council in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was elected to the board of trustees of Winston-Salem State University.

Burke is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University and holds a master’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University.

• Ronald F. Holden II was appointed multicultural recruitment coordinator and admission representative at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. He was the director of multicultural affairs at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas.

Holden is a graduate of Baker University and holds a master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

• Noma Bennett Anderson was named dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She is the first African-American dean in the 99-year history of the University of Tennessee medical school. Dr. Anderson will assume her new position on July 1. She is currently a professor of communication sciences and disorders at Florida International University.

Dr. Anderson is a graduate of Hampton University. She holds a master’s degree from Emerson College and a Ph.D. in speech-language pathology from the University of Pittsburgh.

• Arnetha F. Ball, professor of education at Stanford University and Barbara A. Sizemore Visiting Distinguished Professor of Urban Education at Duquesne University, was voted president-elect of the American Educational Research Association. She will begin a one-year term as president in 2011.

Professor Ball is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She holds a master’s degree in speech pathology from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

• Tiffani Gavin, a graduate of Brown University, has been named director of finance and administration at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University. She was senior director of professional licensing at Theatrical Rights Worldwide.

Copyright © 2010. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.