Six African Americans Named Truman Scholars

Recently the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation announced that there will be 60 students among its 2011 class of award winners. The students were selected from a field of 602 candidates representing 264 colleges and universities. Each winner receives $30,000 for graduate study in preparation for careers in government or public service. In addition, Truman award winners receive admission preference and financial aid at participating graduate institutions and special internship opportunities with the federal government.

This year, it appears that six of the 60 Truman Scholars are African Americans.

Kimberly Michelle Everett is a student at the University of Alabama Birmingham. She is majoring in economics. Everett spent her junior year abroad in China. She plans to go to law school and to study for a master’s degree in international development.

Michael Tubbs is a native of Stockton, California. He is majoring in comparative studies in race and ethnicity at Stanford University. He has served as a White House intern and works extensively with youth in his local community. He plans to attend law school.

Ayodele Imani Oti is a student at the Macaulay Honors College of the City College of New York. She is majoring in international environmental public health and human ecology. She plans to obtain a master of public health degree, concentrating on children in developing countries.

Dominique Tomika Hazzard is a junior at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She plans on going to law school with a concentration in environmental law and also to pursue a master’s degree in public administration. She hopes to work in government or with a nonprofit environmental group.

Newton L. Davis of Saginaw, Michigan, is a junior at Williams College in Massachusetts with a double major in history and Arabic studies. He plans to earn a graduate degree in education and then teach in the public schools. He hopes to be superintendent of a large public school district.

Kam Sherail Phillips is studying for a bachelor of social work degree at the University of Missouri. She hopes to study for a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management and policy. At college she founded an organization that exposes underprivileged youth to alternative careers and activities.


Google Enlists College Students Ambassadors in Ghana

Internet giant Google Inc. has initiated its new Student Ambassador Program in Ghana. Under the program Google has enlisted the support of 20 students at five universities in Ghana for one year. The participating universities are Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the University of Ghana Legon, University of Cape Coast, Ashesi University, and the Central University College.

The college students commit to educate their fellow students about Google products and to organize events on campus to help raise awareness among African students on the opportunities afforded by the Internet.


Florida A&M Wins Honda Campus All-Star Challenge for the Seventh Time

Florida A&M University recently won the 22nd annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge. During the two-day tournament, 48 historically black colleges and universities competed in an academic quiz competition. Florida A&M beat a team from Oakwood University in the championship round. Teams from Kentucky State University and Tuskegee University were eliminated in semifinal matches.

It was the seventh time Florida A&M was crowned national champion at the event. The university team earned $50,000 in grant money from Honda.

Historically Black Norfolk State University Names a New President

Last Friday, the board of visitors at Norfolk State University chose Tony Atwater as the university’s fifth president. Dr. Atwater will assume his new duties on July 1.

Dr. Atwater is a senior fellow at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. From 2005 to 2010, he served as president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Previously, Dr. Atwater has held administrative positions at Youngstown State University, Northern Kentucky University, and the University of Toledo. Also, he chaired the department of journalism and mass media at Rutgers University.

Dr. Atwater is a graduate of Hampton University. He holds a Ph.D. in communication from Michigan State University.



Recent Books That May Be of Interest to African-American Scholars

The JBHE Weekly Bulletin regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. Here are the latest selections. Click on any of the titles for more information or to purchase via Amazon.

Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival by Matthew Warshauer (Wesleyan University Press)

Contemporary Francophone African Writers and the Burden of Commitment by Odile Cazenave and Patricia Celerier (University of Virginia Press)

Digital Griots: African American Rhetoric in a Multimedia Age by Adam J. Banks (Southern Illinois University Press)

Everyday Forms of Whiteness: Understanding Race in a “Post-Racial” World by Melanie E.L. Bush (Rowman & Littlefield)

From Bourgeois to Boojie: Black Middle Class Performances edited by Vershawn Ashanti Young and Bridget Harris Tsemo (Wayne State University Press)

How Racism Takes Place by George Lipsitz (Temple University Press)

New Destination Dreaming: Immigration, Race, and Legal Status in the Rural American South by Helen B. Marrow (Stanford University Press)

Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys by Victor M. Rios (New York University Press)

Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization by Khiara M. Bridges (University of California Press)

Roi Ottley’s World War II: The Lost Diary of an African American Journalist edited by Mark A. Huddle (University Press of Kansas)

Terms of Inclusion: Black Intellectuals in Twentieth-Century Brazil by Paulina L. Alberto (University of North Carolina Press)

The Clamorgans: One Family’s History of Race in America by Julie Winch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The End of Anger: A New Generation’s Take on Race and Rage by Ellis Cose (Ecco Press)

What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years by Ricky Riccardi (Pantheon Books)


Honors and Awards

• Byron D’Andra Orey, professor of political science at Jackson State University in Mississippi, received the 2011 Jewel Limar Prestage Mentorship Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.

Professor Orey is a graduate of Mississippi Valley State University. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Mississippi and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of New Orleans.

• Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County received the 2011 TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence.

A graduate of Hampton University, Dr. Hrabowski holds a master’s degree in mathematics and a doctorate in higher education administration and statistics, both from the University of Illinois.

• Judith Jamison, choreographer and artistic director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater will receive the M. Carey Thomas Award, the highest honor bestowed by Bryn Mawr College. The award has been given out only 18 times since 1922.

• Deryl Bailey, an associate professor of counseling and human development services at the University of Georgia, received the 2011 Professional Advancement Award from the Association of Specialists in Group Work 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.

• Jerome Charles White Jr., known internationally as the singer Jero, received the 2011 Berkeley Japan New Vision Award from the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.

Jero, who is of African-American and Japanese descent, is known for his sentimental ballards in the musical genre known as enka.

• Florence Boldridge, director of diversity and women’s programs at the University of Kansas School of Engineering, received the Golden Torch Award as the Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year from the National Society of Black Engineers.

• Michele Boone, chair of the business administrative technology program, was named instructor of the year at Middle Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins.

Boone is a graduate of Tuskegee University and holds an MBA from Walden University.

• Travis Parker, professor and coach at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California, received the Everyday Hero Award from the American Federation of Teachers. Parker was honored for his work with the Alpha Academy, an organization that matches black male teenagers with professional mentors.




A half-century ago the Freedom Riders traveled across the South to ensure that African Americans would have the same rights as others. Is the nation doing enough to commemorate the historic events of a half-century ago?


A Photographic History of African Americans at Harvard University

An interesting photo gallery highlighting the history of African Americans at Harvard University has been posted online. The 40 photographs include images of Richard T. Greener, the first African American to earn a bachelor's degree at Harvard and Booker T. Washington, who in 1896 was the first black man to be awarded an honorary degree at Harvard. There are also two images of W.E.B Du Bois as a student at Harvard and a 1990 photograph of Barack Obama on the day after he was elected editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Pictured here from the collection is Alberta Virginia Scott, who in 1898 was the first African American to earn a degree at Radcliffe College.



College Students Will Retrace the Route of the Freedom Riders

Next week 40 college students will embark on a 10-day journey that will trace the route taken a half century ago in 1961 by the original Freedom Riders. The 1961 protests sought to bring attention to segregation on interstate bus lines. One bus was firebombed near Anniston, Alabama, and riders on another bus were attacked at the terminal in Birmingham.

After two days of events in Washington, the students will board a bus that will take them through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The tour will end in New Orleans, the intended destination of the original Freedom Rides. The students will be accompanied by filmmaker Stanley Nelson as well as some of the original Freedom Riders.

The diverse group of 40 students were selected from a group of nearly 1,000 applicants. Applicants had to submit an essay on their reasons for wanting to participate.


Study Shows That a One-Hour Seminar Helps to Reduce the Racial Gap in Academic Achievement

Gregory M. Walton, an assistant professor of psychology at Stanford University, believes that a one-hour seminar, developed by Stanford psychologists, can help eliminate the academic achievement gap between black and white students on predominantly white campuses. The one-hour course teaches students that everyone has difficulties in adjusting to college. These difficulties can be especially hard for black and minority students who don’t have large support groups on campus.

Walton explains: “We all experience small slights and criticisms in coming to a new school. Being a member of a minority group can make those events have a larger meaning. When your group is in the minority, being rejected by a classmate or having a teacher say something negative to you could seem like proof that you don’t belong, and maybe evidence that your group doesn’t belong either. That feeling could lead you to work less hard and ultimately do less well.”

Walton reports that when students of all races participated in the one-hour exercise, their grades went up and the racial gap in academic achievement shrunk by 52 percent. Grade point averages of black students who participated in the course improved by one third of a point. More than 20 percent of the black students who took the course ended up in the top 25 percent of their graduating class. In contrast, only 5 percent of black students who did not take the class graduated in the top 25 percent of their class.

Dr. Walton is a graduate of Stanford University and holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Yale. He has taught at Stanford since 2008. The results of Dr. Walton’s research were published in Science.

Board Does Not Renew Contract of Savannah State University President

Earl G. Yarbrough Sr., president of Savannah State University, was informed that his contract would not be renewed. The board of trustees did not disclose any reasons for terminating the contract.

Dr. Yarbrough is a graduate of Wichita State University in Kansas. He holds a master’s degree in industrial studies from California State University at Los Angeles and a doctorate in industrial education from Iowa State University.

Prior to accepting the presidency at Savannah State, Dr. Yarbrough served in a number of senior posts at other educational institutions. He was the founding dean of the School of Technology at North Carolina A&T State University and served as provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at Virginia State University.

This month, Dr. Yarbrough was named one of three finalists for chancellor at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Cheryl Davenport Dozier, associate provost and chief diversity officer at the University of Georgia, was named interim president of Savannah State University, effective May 9. Dr. Dozier is a graduate of Farleigh Dickinson University. She holds a master of social work degree from Atlanta University and a doctorate in social welfare from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

In Memoriam

David Marshall French (1924-2011)

David M. French, a former Howard University professor of pediatric surgery and former head of the department of community medicine at the Boston University Medical School, has died from a pulmonary embolism in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was 86 years old.

Dr. French was one of the founders of the Medical Committee for Human Rights, an organization that provided medical care to civil rights marchers throughout the South. He used a Dodge camper as a moving clinic to provide care to marchers who were injured or attacked.

A native of Toledo, Ohio, French attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He was drafted into the Army during World War II and was assigned to pick cotton to make uniforms at a post in Texas. After the war he used the G.I bill to study medicine at Howard University. He later earned a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. French also established Strengthening Health Delivery Systems, an organization that trained health care workers and set up clinics in 20 African nations.


Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• M. Evelyn Fields, associate professor of family and consumer sciences and president of the Faculty Senate at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, was elected to the board of directors of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education.

Dr. Fields holds master’s and doctoral degrees in childhood education from the University of South Carolina.

• Katreshia Louis Verrett was appointed associate director of athletics for compliance at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. She was the compliance coordinator for the athletics department at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Verrett is a graduate of the University of Miami and the Southern University Law Center.

• Cassandra M. Robinson was appointed director of university relations and marketing at Bowie State University in Maryland. She was associate director of university marketing at the University of Maryland College Park.

Robinson is a graduate of the Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Michigan.

• John E. Smalls, senior vice president for finance, facilities and management information systems at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, has announced that he will retire on June 30. Smalls has served as the university’s chief fiscal officer for the past eight years.

• LaSalle D. Leffall, the Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine, was elected chair of the board of directors of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s leading breast cancer research organization. Dr. Leffall previously led the organization from 2002 to 2007.

• Barbara J. Ellis was named vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer at North Carolina A&T State University. She has served as interim vice chancellor for the past year.

Ellis is a graduate of North Carolina A&T and holds an MBA from the Lubin School of Business at Pace University.

• Renee Alexander was appointed associate dean of students and director of intercultural programs at Cornell University. Since 2006 she has served as director of diversity alumni programs at the university. Alexander is a 1974 graduate of Cornell.


Grants and Gifts

• Fayetteville State University, the historically black educational institution in North Carolina, received a four-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a program to increase the number of underrepresented minority students pursuing graduate degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences.

The program is under the director of James E. Raynor Jr., a faculty member in the biology department at FSU.

• Emory University in Atlanta received a five-year, $4.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the genetics of Crohn’s disease in African Americans. A half million American suffer from the disease and the incidence of Crohn’s disease has been increasing among African Americans.

Historically black University of Maryland Eastern Shore received a five-year, $462,906 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for research on bio-energy products.

• Jackson State University, the historically black educational institution in Mississippi, received a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop innovative techniques for strengthening levees to withstand the forces of hurricanes.

• Wayne State University in Detroit received a three-year, $1,078,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute to study pain in African-American cancer patients. Research has shown that African-American cancer patients experience higher levels of pain than other cancer patients.

Historically black Spelman College in Atlanta received a two-year, $500,000 grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies to establish a Social Justice Fellows program. The funds will be used for student fellowships, summer internship positions, and social justice curriculum development.

Copyright © 2011. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.