Six New African-American Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies. It has a membership of more than 4,000 scholars from a wide variety of academic disciplines including all the natural sciences. Its membership includes at least 200 Nobel Prize winners and more than 50 winners of a Pulitzer Prize. This year, 212 new fellows were elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. As in past years, the academy has not disclosed the racial makeup of the new members. But through an analysis of the new members list, JBHE has been able to determine that at least six of the 212 new members are black. Thus, blacks are less than three percent of the new members.

Here are brief profiles of the newly elected African-American fellows:

Wanda M. Austin is president and CEO of Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles.  The company has nearly 4,000 employees and annual revenues of $850 million. Austin is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in systems engineering from the University of Southern California.

James I. Cash is James E. Robison Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard Business School. He joined the business school faculty in 1976.

Professor Cash is a graduate of Texas Christian University. He holds a master’s degree in computer science and a Ph.D. in management information systems from Purdue University.

Sylvester James Gates is John Toll Professor of Physics and director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland, College Park. He serves on the president’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Professor Gates holds a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in physics from MIT.

Annette Gordon-Reed is a professor at Harvard Law School and a professor of history at Harvard University. She is also the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

She is the recipient of the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize in history, and the National Humanities Medal. Gordon-Reed is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.

Ray A. Hammond is founder and pastor of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, Massachusetts.

Hammond is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. After completing his surgical residency, he worked in the emergency room at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Massachusetts. In 1976 he changed careers and later earned a master’s degree in religion at Harvard.

Talmadge E. King Jr. is Julius R. Krevans Distinguished Professor in Internal Medicine and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. Previously he taught at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.

Dr. King is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, and the Harvard Medical School.


The New Provost at Wagner College

Lily McNair was named provost and vice president for academic affairs at Wagner College on Staten Island in New York City, effective July 1. Dr. McNair is currently associate provost for research and professor of psychology at Spelman College in Atlanta. Prior to coming to Spelman, Professor McNair taught at the State University of New York at New Paltz, the University of Georgia, and Vassar College.

A New Jersey native, McNair is a graduate of Princeton University. She received a Ph.D. in psychology at Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York system.


New Center at Howard University to Honor Ronald Walters

Howard University, the historically black educational institution in the nation’s capital, has announced the establishment of the Ronald W. Walters Center on campus. Walters was a civil rights activist, columnist, author, and educator. He died last fall at the age of 72.

According to the university, the new center “will examine the role of African Americans in the development of U.S. foreign policy; the impact of globalization on the African-American community; and the role of African Americans in U.S. presidential and congressional politics." Howard University President Sidney A. Ribeau stated, “Through this center, his name, his spirit, and his work will live on as we prepare others to follow in his footsteps and impact the world as much as he did.”

Dr. Walters was a graduate of Fisk University. He earned a master’s degree in African studies and a Ph.D. in international studies at American University in Washington, D.C. In the early 1970s, Walters joined the faculty at Howard University and later chaired the political science department. He moved to the University of Maryland in 1996.

At the time of his death he was professor emeritus of government and politics at the University of Maryland and director of the African-American Leadership Institute. He was planning to return to Howard University as a senior research fellow.


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.

Black Fire: African American Quakers on Spirituality and Human Rights edited by Harold D. Weaver et al. (Quaker Books)

Black Greek-Letter Organizations 2.0: New Directions in the Study of African American Fraternities and Sororities edited by Matthew W. Hughey and Gregory S. Parks (University Press of Mississippi)

Can You Hear Me Now? The Inspiration, Wisdom, and Insight of Michael Eric Dyson by Michael Eric Dyson (Basic Civitas)

Reclaiming Our Health: A Guide to African-American Wellness by Michelle Gourdine (Yale University Press)

Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America by Cameron McWhirter (Henry Holt & Co.)

Reds at the Blackboard: Communism, Civil Rights, and the New York City Teachers Union by Clarence Taylor (Columbia University Press)

Seeing Through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography by Martin A. Berger (University of California Press)

The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation, and Human Rights by Robin Blackburn (Verso Press)

The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring by Sugar Ray Leonard with Michael Arkush (Viking Books)

The Homeland Is the Arena: Religion, Transnationalism, and the Integration of Senegalese Immigrants in America by Ousmane Oumar Kane (Oxford University Press)

The Lion of Judah in the New World: Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and the Shaping of Americans’ Attitudes Toward Africa by Theodore M. Vestal (Praeger Publishers)

The Rhythm Boys of Omaha Central: High School Basketball at the ‘68 Racial Divide by Steve Marantz (University of Nebraska Press)

The Roots of Rough Justice: Origins of American Lynching by Michael J. Pfeifer (University of Illinois Press)

This Urban Teacher’s Journal: A Success Story for All Teachers Who Work in Inner-City Schools by C. Angela (St. Paul Press)

Upheaval in Charleston: Earthquake and Murder on the Eve of Jim Crow by Susan Millar Williams and Stephen G. Hoffius (University of Georgia Press)



Honors and Awards

• Paula Walker, an associate professor of health science at Columbus State University in Georgia, was named the university’s 2011 Educator of the Year. A former emergency room physician, Walker joined the university’s faculty in 2005.

Dr. Walker is a graduate of Howard University and the medical school at Wayne State University.

• Trudie Kibbe Reed, president of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, received the Power Award from the National Action Network, the New York City social justice organization led by Rev. Al Sharpton.

Dr. Reed earned bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Texas. She earned a second master’s degree and an educational doctorate from Columbia University.

An endowed professorship has been established at North Carolina A&T State University in honor of Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender. Now president of Caring About People With Enthusiasm Associates, Adams-Ender was formerly head of Army Nurse Corps.

The Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender Endowed Professorship in Nursing Education Research was funded in part by the Spangler Foundation.

Adams-Ender is a graduate of North Carolina A&T. She received a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Minnesota and a master of military art and science degree from the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

• Zack Abegunrin, vice chancellor for facilities services at North Carolina Central University in Durham, received the Good Faith Award from the State Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses. He was honored for his efforts to increase diversity among contractors hired for university construction projects.

• Leroy Davis Sr., who served as president of South Carolina State University from 1996 to 2002, was honored by the naming of a building on campus. The Leroy Davis Sr. Science and Research Complex will house the university’s  biology and physical sciences departments.


If you had a choice between the following for a commencement speaker, who would you choose?
Michelle Obama
Toni Morrison
Oprah Winfrey


Cleveland Foundation Announces Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, given out by the Cleveland Foundation, recognize books that have made important contributions to the understanding of racism and the appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf established the book prizes in 1935, in honor of her father, John Anisfield, and husband, Eugene Wolf, to reflect her family’s passion for issues of social justice.

The Cleveland Foundation recently announced five winners of this year’s awards which will be given out in September. Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates Jr. served as chair of the selection committee.

Nicole Krauss of Brooklyn, New York, won in the fiction category for her third, novel Great House.

Also a winner in the fiction category was Mary Helen Stefaniak for her novel The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia.

Isabel Wilkerson was a winner in the nonfiction category for The Warmth of Other Suns, an account of the Great Migration of African Americans from the South in the early twentieth century. Wilkerson is now a professor of journalism at Boston University. In 1994, while working for the New York Times, she was the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Also winning in the nonfiction category was the Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade by David Eltis, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History at Emory University, and David Richardson, director of the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation and professor of history at Hull University in England.

Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award is John Edgar Wideman, Asa Messer Professor and Professor of Africana Studies and English at Brown University. A 1963 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Wideman was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and later as a MacArthur Fellow. He is the author of 13 novels, six collections of short stories, and two memoirs.



New Doctoral Degree Program at Historically Black University of Arkansas Pine Bluff

The historically black University of Arkansas Pine Bluff has gained approval to offer a doctoral program in aquaculture and fisheries. Students will be accepted for the program this coming fall. The AQFI Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was established in 1988. The center’s aquaculture economics program is considered one of the nation’s strongest in the field. Currently, the center offers a master’s degree program and a bachelor’s degree in fisheries biology.


The Gender Gap in African-American Degree Attainments

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that of the more than 3.2 million living African Americans who held bachelor’s degrees in 2010, 60.2 percent were women. For whites, women held only a slight edge over men in bachelor’s degree attainments.

In 2010, of the 1.2 million African Americans who held master’s degrees, 62.3 percent were women. Women held 55 percent of all master’s degrees won by whites. For professional degrees, women held 59 percent of all degrees that had been awarded to African Americans. Nearly 53 percent of all African Americans holding a doctoral degree in 2010 were women. White men maintain a large lead over white women in professional and doctoral degrees.

New African and African-American Studies Program at the University of Minnesota Duluth

The University of Minnesota Duluth has announced the creation of a new minor degree program in African and African-American studies. The new program offering is under the direction of John A. Arthur, a professor of sociology/anthropology at the university. Dr. Arthur is a graduate of the University of Science and Technology in Ghana. He earned a master’s degree at the University of New Brunswick and a Ph.D in sociology at Penn State.

This semester, Professor Arthur is teaching a course on the Atlantic slave trade. There are 42 students in the class.

Business School at Historically Black University Wins International Honor

The business school at historically black University of Maryland Eastern Shore recently received accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. About 600 business schools around the world have achieved peer-review accreditation from the AACSB.

The business, management, and accounting program at the university currently enrolls about 400 students and has 18 faculty members.


Racial Disparity in High School Graduation Rates

The U.S. Department of Education recently released data which shows that in the 2008-09 academic year, 449,261 African Americans graduated from high school in the United States. This was 63.5 percent of the black students who entered ninth grade four years earlier. For whites, 82 percent of the students who entered the ninth grade in the fall of 2005 graduated four years later.

States with large black populations that had very good black student high school graduation rates included Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, and Tennessee. States where the black high school graduation rate was significantly below the national average included California, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina.


Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Sterling J. Saddler was appointed dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Western Illinois University in Macomb. The appointment is effective on July 1. Dr. Saddler is currently professor and vice president of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Dr. Saddler is a graduate of Tuskegee University. He holds a master’s degree from the State University of New York at Oswego and a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University.

• Carl B. Mack, executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers, was elected to the board of trustees at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. Mack is a graduate of Mississippi State University.

• Gregory Goings, sports information director at Bowie State University in Maryland, was named president of the Division II Sports Information Directors Association. Goings is a graduate of Virginia State University.

• Phillip Richards, a member of the English Department faculty at Colgate University since 1987, was named to the Arnold A. Sio Chair in Diversity and Community at the university. Professor Richards’ latest book is Black Heart: The Moral Life of Recent African-American Letters.

• Earl C. Cabbell was appointed interim senior vice president and chief operating officer at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York. A CPA, Cabbell has served as assistant vice president for finance and budget at the college for nearly a year. Prior to his appointment at the college he was director of risk management and compliance for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Cabbell holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from New York University.

• Wendall M. Davis was named vice chancellor for administration and finance at North Carolina Central University. Since 1999, he has served as deputy county manager of Durham County, North Carolina. Since 2005, he has also been an adjunct professor of public administration at the university.

Davis is a 1987 graduate of North Carolina Central University. He holds a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Southeastern University.

• Oswald Tekyi-Mensah, a professor of physics at Alabama A&M University, was elected vice president of the National Institute of Science.

Dr. Tekyi-Mensah is a graduate of Alabama A&M University. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Florida State University.


Grants and Gifts

• Jimmie James Jr., a retired professor of music at Jackson State University in Mississippi, has provided funds for the establishment of the Jimmie and Carrie James Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship will be available to a music student at the university.

• South Carolina State University, the historically black educational institution in Orangeburg, received a three-year, $449,921 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for research on finding the most economical means of transporting biofuels.

• Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland, received a $598,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that will provide scholarships for underrepresented minority students pursuing degrees in science and engineering disciplines.

The University of Pennsylvania received a $500,000 grant from USA Funds of Indianapolis for a research project to determine a model for educational success at black colleges and universities and other minority-serving educational institutions.


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