15 Students Named Rangel Scholars

The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program has awarded 15 graduate fellowships for students seeking careers in the foreign service. Winners receive up to $34,000 a year to complete a master’s degree program in international affairs or related fields. In addition, fellows work at an internship in Washington, usually for a congressional representative, before starting graduate school and a second internship at a U.S. embassy abroad between their first and second year of graduate study. The program is designed to increase diversity in the foreign service, but fellowships are open to students of any race. The program is administered jointly by Howard University and the U.S. Department of State.

Among the winners of 2011 fellowships are several African Americans including Lekisha Gunn of the University of Alabama, Calvin Hayes from Florida A&M University, and Leshawna Johnson of Columbia University.


Three Universities Honored for Their Efforts to Retain Minority Engineering Students

The Exxon Mobil Corporation, in conjunction with the National Society of Black Engineers, has given out the inaugural Impact Awards to three universities that have achieved solid performance in retaining underrepresented minority students enrolled in engineering programs on their campuses.

The three winners are Purdue University, Virginia Tech, and the University of Texas. Each university will receive a grant to further their efforts to retain minority engineering students.


The Education Department Finds a Large and Growing Racial Gap in Grade Point Averages of High School Graduates

A new U.S. Department of Education survey of students who graduated from high school in 2009 finds a large and growing racial gap in grade point averages. In 2009 the mean grade point average of white students graduating from high school was 3.09. For blacks the mean GPA was 2.69.

In 1990 he mean GPA for white high school graduates was 2.73. For blacks, the mean GPA was 2.42. Therefore, over the past 20-year period the racial gap in grade point averages for high school graduates increased from 0.31 to 0.40.

The New Chancellor of St. Louis Community College

Myrtle E.B. Dorsey was named chancellor of St. Louis Community College in Missouri. Since 2002, she has been president of Baton Rouge Community College in Louisiana. She is also the chair-elect of the American Association of Community Colleges. Dr. Dorsey will take the helm of St. Louis Community College on June 16.

Dr. Dorsey holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Morgan State University in Baltimore. She earned a doctorate at the University of Texas.


Number of Black Students Admitted to Berkeley Declines

The University of California system has released data on students admitted to the Class of 2015. The system received a record 106,186 applications this year and more than 59,000 students were admitted to at least one of the nine undergraduate campuses.

In an effort to close the system’s budget gap, 18 percent of all admitted students were from outside the state of California, up from 14 percent a year ago. Undergraduates from out of state pay a total of $34,000 per year for tuition and fees. California residents pay a fee of $11,124.

Of the more than 59,000 students admitted, 2,411 are African Americans. Thus, blacks are 4.1 percent of all admitted students. Blacks make up about 7 percent of the college-age population in California.

At the system’s flagship campus in Berkeley, 332 black students were admitted, down from 348 in 2010 and 365 in 2009. This year blacks make up 3.6 percent of all students admitted at Berkeley. At highly ranked UCLA, 382 black students were admitted this year. They make up 3.5 percent of all admitted students.

By state law, all admissions decisions at the University of California are made without consideration of race.



Ivory Nelson to Stay on a Bit Longer at Lincoln University

Ivory V. Nelson, president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, had planned to retire on June 30. But due to delays in selecting his replacement, Dr. Nelson has agreed to stay on until the end of the year.

Dr. Nelson, now 76 years old, has served as the university’s president since 1999. Previously, he was president of Central Washington University and earlier served as chancellor of the Alamo Community College District, San Antonio, Texas.

Dr. Nelson is a graduate of Grambling State University in Louisiana. He holds a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Kansas.


In Memoriam

Calvin Bernard Grimes (1940-2011)

Calvin Grimes, professor of music at Morehouse College, died at his home in Atlanta last month of congestive heart failure. He was 71 years old.

A native of Athens, Georgia, Grimes received a scholarship to Morehouse where he majored in music. After a three-year stint in the U.S. Army, Grimes earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. He served on the music department faculty at Clark Atlanta University before joining the Morehouse College faculty in 1977. He was chair of the music department for 12 years and also served as dean of humanities at the college.

Henry Louis Thurman Jr. (1927-2011)

Henry L. “Dickie” Thurman Jr., the first African American to become a registered architect in the state of Louisiana, died last month at a hospice facility after a long illness. Thurman, who was the founding dean of the School of Architecture and Engineering at Southern University, was 83 years old.

Thurman was a native of Lawrenceville, Virginia. In 1947 he earned a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering at Hampton Institute. He later achieved a master’s degree at the University of Illinois. Thurman joined the faculty at Southern University in 1948. He was named dean in 1956 and served in that position for 12 years. All told, he taught at Southern University for 56 years before his retirement in 2004.


Honors and Awards

• William F. Owen Jr., president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from National Medical Fellowships (NMF), the nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of minority physicians and medical researchers.

Dr. Owen received support from NMF when he studied at the Tufts University School of Medicine, after earning his undergraduate degree at Brown University.

• Elizabeth Wilson, a junior in the Honors College at the University of South Carolina was named the Outstanding Woman of the Year for 2011 by the university. Wilson is a quintuple major, studying international business, finance, management science, marketing, and real estate. She is also studying three foreign languages and maintains a 3.982 grade point average.

• Phyllis Lewis-Hale, an instructor of voice and director of the Opera Workshop program at Jackson State University, received the 2010 Teacher and Scholar Award from the Mississippi Humanities Council.

• Sheryl R. Gripper, founding director of the Black Women Film Network, received the inaugural Moving Image Award from the Digital Moving Image Salon at Spelman College in Atlanta. Gripper is a 1972 graduate of Spelman.

• Debyii L. Sababu Thomas, a communication department faculty member at Howard University, received the Excellence in Leadership Award from the Phi Sigma Pi, Alpha Tau Chapter Endowment Fund.

• Curtis Austin, associate professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi, received the Mary McLeod Bethune and Carter G. Woodson Award for Outstanding Service in the Promotion of Social Responsibility in Africana Studies Award from the National Council for Black Studies.

Dr. Austin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Ph.D. in history from Mississippi State University.

• Diane Campbell, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina,  received the university’s 2011 Linda Allred Profiles in Leadership Award. Dr. Campbell was honored for her work in HIV/AIDS outreach programs.

• Crystal L. Taliefero-Pratt, a musician and vocalist who has toured with Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Elton John, received the Herman C. Hudson Alumni Award from the African American Arts Institute at Indiana University. The award is given annually to Indiana University alumni who have made outstanding contributions in the arts.




Donald Trump is calling on President Obama to release his college transcripts, alleging that he was not qualified to be admitted to Harvard Law School. Should the president release the information?


Historically Black Tennessee State University Plans to Eliminate Africana Studies

Portia Shields, president of Tennessee State University, the historically black educational institution in Nashville, has announced plans to end eight degree programs due to a low number of student majors and the necessity of trimming expenses to shore-up the school’s budget. One of the eight degree programs facing elimination is Africana studies. Students will be able to minor in the discipline.

The university also plans to drop bachelor’s degree programs in foreign languages and physics, education degrees in administration and school psychology, and master’s degree programs in English, mathematics, and music education.

The proposed changes must be approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents.



The Future Looks Brighter for Charles R. Drew University

The Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles has chosen David M. Carlisle as the next president of the educational institution. Dr. Carlisle, who is African American, is director of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. He previously was professor of medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Dr. Carlisle completed his medical training at Brown University and his residency at UCLA. He also holds master’s and doctoral degrees in public health from UCLA.

In recent years the university, which serves mostly minority students, has struggled financially. But now, it appears the medical school is headed in the right direction. Last fall a new board of trustees was selected which included the leaders of UCLA, the University of Southern California, and several large health providers. The new board was able to renegotiate a $43 million loan that the university had taken out to build its nursing school. Funds were raised from the University of California and the California Endowment.


Nearly 4 Million African Americans Have College or Graduate Degrees

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that in 2010 nearly 4 million African Americans hold a higher education degree. In 2010, 2,378,000 African Americans had obtained a bachelor’s degree but had not gone on to win any graduate degree. Nearly 1.2 million African Americans have earned master’s degrees. Another 176,000 American blacks hold professional degrees and 123,000 African Americans hold doctoral degrees.

All told, nearly 3.9 million African Americans have higher education degrees.

Florida A&M University Signs Cooperative Agreement With Kenyan Institute

Florida A&M University, the historically black educational institution in Tallahassee, has announced the signing of an agreement with the Ramogi Institute of Advanced Technology in Kenya. Under the agreement the two educational institutions will begin faculty and student exchange programs. Faculty from Florida A&M will help develop engineering and health science curricula for students at Ramogi Institute.

All Foreign Language Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Historically Black State Universities in Louisiana to Be Eliminated

Budget cuts proposed by the Louisiana Board of Regents will result in the elimination of more than 100 degree programs at state universities in Louisiana. Southern University, the historically black educational institution in Baton Rouge, will drop 13 degree programs, the most of any university in the state.

As a result of the restructuring, there will be no foreign language bachelor’s degree programs at any historically black state university in Louisiana.


The New Chancellor of Southern University Baton Rouge

James Llorens, assistant chief administrative officer in the mayor's office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and former dean of graduate studies at Southern University, was named the new chancellor of Southern University.

Dr. Llorens is a graduate of Loyola University. He holds a master’s degree in urban affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Ph.D. in political science from Louisiana State University.


Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Thomas J. Elzey was appointed executive vice president for finance, administration, and operations at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He is the highest-ranking African-American official ever appointed at the university. Previously, Elzey was senior vice president for finance, chief financial officer, and treasurer at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Elzey is a graduate of Bradley University and holds a master’s degree in public management and policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

• Zebulun R. Davenport was named vice chancellor for student life at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Since 2007, he has been vice president for student affairs at Northern Kentucky University.

Dr. Davenport holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from James Madison University in Virginia. He earned an educational doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.

• Charles Wright was appointed executive director of the James E. Clyburn Transportation Center at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. He is a professor emeritus at the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

Dr. Wright is a graduate of Savannah State University. He earned a second bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in civil engineering transportation from Vanderbilt University.

• Stephanie G. Adams was named chair of the engineering education department at Virginia Tech. She is currently an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dr. Adams is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. She holds a master’s degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering from Texas A&M University.

She will assume her new position in August.

• Dorsey L. Kendrick, president of Gateway Community College in New Haven, Connecticut, was appointed to the board of directors of New Haven Promise. The organization provides scholarships and seeks to increase the number of students in the city’s schools who go on to college.

Dr. Kendrick is a graduate of Union University. She holds a master’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee and a doctorate in higher education administration from Walden University.

• Tim Duncan was appointed director of athletics at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. He was head of the major gifts program at the athletics department of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

A native of Memphis, Duncan is a graduate of the University of Memphis and holds a master’s degree in sports administration at Grambling State University in Louisiana.


Grants and Gifts

• Norfolk State University, the historically black educational institution in Virginia, received three grants totaling nearly $6 million from the U.S. Department of Defense. The grants will fund research on nanomaterials, mulitfunctional sensors, and novel polymers.

• Lincoln University, the historically black educational institution in Pennsylvania, received a $64,578 grant from the Federal Highway Administration. The grant will fund the Summer Transportation Institute program on the Lincoln campus this July.  The institute aims to increase interest in careers in the transportation industry among students ages 12 to 14.

• Washington University in St. Louis received a four-year, $400,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to preserve Henry Hampton’s award-winning civil rights documentary film Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965. The six-episode documentary originally appeared on the Public Broadcasting System in 1987. The film, and 75 hours of interview footage that was edited out of the series, were donated to Washington University in 2001. The grant will enable the university to preserve the footage on more stable film. Eventually, all the footage will be digitized.

The Community College of the District of Columbia received a $750,000 grant as part of Next Generation Learning Challenges, a new initiative that supports using innovative technology to improve college completion, particularly for low-income young adults. The initiative is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

• Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland, received a two-year, $200,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente to provide scholarships for low-income and minority students in the college’s allied health or nursing programs.

The college enrolls about 14,000 students, 80 percent of whom are black.

• Ohio State University received a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to provide funds for the operation of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

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