Black Enrollments in Higher Education Continue to Climb

The latest data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that in the fall of 2005 there were nearly 2.1 million African Americans enrolled in higher education in the United States. This includes students enrolled in two-year and four-year colleges as well as in graduate school. There were nearly 45,000 more African Americans enrolled in higher education in 2005 than was the case the previous year. This is an increase of 2.2 percent.

Blacks were 11.7 percent of the nearly 18 million students enrolled in higher education nationwide. This is nearly equivalent to the percentage of blacks in the college-age population.

Black progress over the past decade has been nothing short of spectacular. In 1995 there were 1,474,000 blacks enrolled in higher education. By 2005 black enrollments had increased by more than 42 percent. In 1995 blacks were 10.3 percent of all enrollments in higher education compared to 11.7 percent today.


“If we have done what needs to be done to ensure that kids who are qualified to go to college can afford it, then affirmative action becomes a diminishing tool for us to achieve racial equality in this society.”

Barack Obama, on ABC Television’s This Week, 5-13-07


American Corporations That Lend Support to Engineering Programs at Black Colleges and Universities

U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine has released its fifth annual ranking of the corporations that have been the most supportive of engineering programs at historically black colleges and universities. Deans of the engineering programs at the black colleges and universities were surveyed to determine which companies offered the greatest support.

Leading the list of companies that have been the most supportive of the black engineering programs are three aerospace manufacturers: Boeing, Lockheed, and Northrop Grumman. Also among the top 10 supporters of engineering programs at black colleges are Caterpillar, Raytheon, General Motors, Hewlett Packard, UGS Corporation, Ford, and General Electric.


Colleges and Universities That Place an Emphasis on Racial Diversity for Employees of Their Athletics Departments Also Fare Well in Athletic Competition

Researchers at the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport at Texas A&M University have found that athletics departments that have made racial diversity a top priority are more likely to have success on athletic fields and courts. The laboratory annually rates athletics departments on a wide range of diversity criteria. The data shows that university athletics departments that scored in the highest category for diversity also were likely to score high in the U.S. Sports Academy’s Directors Cup which measures a college or university’s overall performance in intercollegiate athletic competition.


African Americans in the Western States Are More Likely to Be College Educated Than Other Black Americans

Nationwide, slightly more than 18 percent of all adult blacks over the age of 25 hold a four-year college degree. For whites, the figure is 31 percent, significantly higher than the rate for blacks.

But there are vast differences in the educational attainment of blacks and whites depending on the region of the country in which they live. It is in the western states where blacks have made the most progress. In the West, 24.8 percent of all black adults over the age of 25 hold a college degree. This is about 34 percent higher than the national average for blacks and 52 percent higher than the rate for blacks in the Midwest.

Furthermore, the gap between the races is much lower in the West than in other regions of the nation. In the West there is a gap of 9.7 percentage points between the college completion rate for whites and the college completion rate for blacks. Nationally the difference is 12.5 percentage points. In the Northeast, the gap is the largest. In that region there is a 16.3 percentage point gap in college completion rates between whites and blacks.


After the Tragedy at Virginia Tech, Total Enrollments Are Up But Black Enrollments Decline

After the April 16 massacre at Virginia Tech, many commentators believed that the university would have a difficult time fulfilling its enrollment quota for next fall. But just the opposite has happened.

The university reports that by mid-May it received enrollment deposits from 5,215 students which exceeded its goal of 5,000. Only three students told the university that they would not enroll because of concerns about safety after the tragedy.

But the statistics also reveal that Virginia Tech, a state-operated educational institution, still has a lot of work to do in terms of racial diversity. Only 3.5 percent of the students who have sent in deposits are black.

Currently blacks make up about 5 percent of the 22,000 undergraduates at Virginia Tech. And it must be remembered that blacks make up nearly 20 percent of the college-age population in Virginia.


College Internship Program Seeks to Increase Diversity in the Newsroom

This summer 47 college students from across the United States will be interning in newsrooms at 36 daily papers under a scholarship program established by the Freedom Forum. The organization, founded by Allen H. Neuharth, former CEO of Gannett, is dedicated to the maintenance of a free press. Former senators Tom Daschle and Howard Baker sit on the organization’s board of trustees.

The Chips Quinn scholarship program was established to honor the former managing editor of the Poughkeepsie Journal who died in an automobile accident in 1990 at the age of 34. The scholarships, which are reserved for “students of color,” were established by Quinn’s parents who were active in the Freedom Forum.

Students selected as Chips Quinn scholars recently participated in a four-day orientation program with veteran journalists in Nashville, Tennessee. They will spend the summer months working at local newspapers before returning to college in the fall.

Fourteen of the Chips Quinn scholars are black. Three are enrolled at historically black colleges and universities. Here is a list of the Chips Quinn scholars who are black, the colleges where they are enrolled, and the newspapers at which they will be working this summer:

Renita Burns, Temple University, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (New York)
TaLeiza Calloway, Kent State University, St. Cloud Times (Minnesota)
Leah Caudle, Western Kentucky University, Lexington Herald-Leader (Kentucky)
Ronald Clark, Hampton University, Tallahassee Democrat (Florida)
Daniel Davis, University of Montana, Austin American-Statesman (Texas)
Natalie Gilmore, Austin Peay State University, Springfield News-Leader (Missouri)
Sha’Day Jackson, Tuskegee University, Lexington Dispatch (North Carolina)
Jamaal Johnson, San Francisco State University, Oakland Tribune (California)
Aerial McCall, Southern Illinois University, Green Bay Press-Gazette (Wisconsin)
MaSovaida Morgan, Savannah State University, Poughkeepsie Journal (New York)
Tierra Palmer, Ohio University, Lancaster Eagle-Gazette (Ohio)
Natasha Robinson, Wayne State University, Associated Press (Virginia)
Vannah Shaw, University of Missouri, Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama)
Bowdeya Tweh, Wayne State University, Detroit Free Press (Michigan)



• Dwight A. McBride was appointed dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was a professor of English and communications and chair of the department of African-American studies at Northwestern University.

Before going to Northwestern in 2002, Professor McBride headed the black studies program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality in America.

Terrell L. Strayhorn, an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, was named special assistant to the provost. Dr. Strayhorn holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Virginia and a doctorate from Virginia Tech.

Gwendolyn B. Bates was appointed associate vice president of human resources at Emerson College in Boston. She was director of staffing and employee relations at Berklee College of Music.


• Muriel Petioni, a physician who served the Harlem community for more than 40 years, was presented with the Medal of Distinction, the highest award bestowed by Barnard College. Dr. Petioni was the only woman in the 1937 graduating class of Howard University’s medical school.

• Suzanne Malveaux, the White House correspondent for CNN, received the Medal for Excellence from Columbia University. The award is given to a graduate of the university who is under 45 years of age. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia in 1991.

• Quincy Jones, musician, composer, producer, and recording industry executive, was presented with the George Peabody Medal from Johns Hopkins University. Jones was recognized for his large body of work in American music. He has received 79 Grammy nominations and has won the music industry’s highest award 27 times.

• Mary A. Smith, associate professor of biology at North Carolina A&T State University, received the Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of North Carolina board of governors. The award comes with a $7,500 cash prize.

Dr. Smith holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Morgan State University. She earned a Ph.D. in plant physiology from Cornell University.





Higher Education and Stable Black Marriages

Nationwide, 45.6 percent of black households are traditional married-couple families. For whites, the figure is 81.3 percent.

Among both blacks and whites, married-couple families are more likely to have higher education credentials than families generally. And black and white married-couple families are far more likely to have a head who has graduated from college than are families with a single parent.

For whites, 34.7 percent of all married-couple families have a head who is college educated, a slight 3 percentage point improvement over white families generally. For blacks, the college education advantage of married-couple families is far greater. More than 23 percent of all black married-couple families have a head who has graduated from a four-year college. This is a 6 percentage point improvement over black families generally.

The data presents a classic “chicken or the egg” dilemma. Which came first, a good marriage or a good education? Does a stable marriage increase the likelihood that blacks will persist in their educational pursuits and graduate from college? Or, are black people who have graduated from college more likely to enter into a stable relationship?

The answer might be both. Young married couples who are enrolled in college tend to have an optimistic outlook for the future. Thus, the pursuit of higher education in these young black families may make for a happier marriage and increase the likelihood that a young couple will stay together. Older black adults with a college degree are more successful economically. Without the stress that financial problems can produce in a family setting, college-educated black families are in all probability more likely to stay together.


Recovering From Katrina: Black Colleges in New Orleans Expect Significant Increases in Enrollments

The number of students who have sent in deposits for the 2007-08 academic year at Xavier University, the historically black educational institution in New Orleans that is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, is running 30 percent higher than at a similar date last year.

Dillard University, another black college in New Orleans, anticipates a first-year class of 375 students this fall, up from 200 in this year’s freshman class. Before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005, there were 400 first-year students at Dillard.


New Education Department Data Shows Persisting Racial Gap in College Graduation Rates

New figures from the U.S. Department of Education find that nationwide only 40.4 percent of all black students who entered all four-year colleges and universities in the United States in 1999 graduated within six years. For whites, the overall graduation rate was 58.9 percent.

The graduation rate gap was larger for students at private colleges and universities than it was at state-operated institutions. The graduation rate for black students at private colleges and universities was 44.5 percent. For white students at these institutions, the graduation rate was 66.2 percent.

At public institutions, the black graduation rate was 38.1 percent. For whites at state-operated colleges and universities, the graduation rate was 55.2 percent.


Blake D. Morant Named Dean of the Wake Forest School of Law

In a milestone appointment, Blake D. Morant was named dean of the Wake Forest Law School. He was the associate dean for academic affairs and the Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Professor of Law at the Washington and Lee School of Law in Lexington, Virginia.

Dean Morant, a native of Hampton, Virginia, is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia. He also received his law degree from the University of Virginia. After completing law school he served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army and then opened a private law practice in the nation’s capital.

In 1988 Morant began his academic career. Over the next decade he taught at law schools at American University, the University of Toledo, the University of Michigan, and the University of Alabama before joining the faculty at Washington and Lee in 1997.


Dartmouth Reports Increase in New Black Students

The admissions office at Dartmouth College reports a banner year in its recruitment of black students. Preliminary figures suggest that blacks will make up 7.8 percent of the Class of 2011 which will enter Dartmouth this coming fall. This is up from 7.4 percent a year ago and is the highest percentage of black freshmen at Dartmouth in over a decade.

Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg attributes Dartmouth’s success to new outreach efforts at high schools with large numbers of black students and additional programs to bring prospective black students to campus. “Once you get here, Dartmouth sells itself,” Furstenberg told the college’s student newspaper.


36.4 years  Median age of all people in the United States in 2006.

30.1 years  Median age of all African Americans in 2006.

source: U.S. Census Bureau


Two White Authors Win Awards for Books on Black History

The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University have announced the three winners of the 2007 J. Anthony Lukas Prizes. The awards, which recognize excellence in nonfiction writing, are named in honor of J. Anthony Lukas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times who died in 1997.

All three winners of this year’s Lukas Prizes are white. But two of the works honored deal with black history. James T. Campbell, an associate professor of American history and Africana studies at Brown University, received the History Prize for his book Middle Passages: African-American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005. This award comes with a $10,000 cash prize.

Investigative journalist Robert Whitaker was given the Work in Progress Award and a $30,000 cash prize to complete his book, Twelve Condemned to Die: Scipio Africanus Jones and the Struggle for Justice That Remade a Nation, which is scheduled for release by Crown Books.

Jones was a black attorney who in 1919 fought the convictions of 12 black sharecroppers charged with murder after a race riot in Elaine, Arkansas. The 12 were eventually awarded new trials by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Columbia Business School Forms Partnership With Harlem Children’s Zone

The Columbia Business School has entered into a partnership with the nonprofit organization Harlem Children’s Zone. Founded in 1970, Harlem Children’s Zone, under the leadership of Geoffrey Canada, offers an interlocking network of social service, education, and community building programs to children and their families in Central Harlem, near the Columbia University campus.

Under the new program, staff members at Harlem Children’s Zone will participate in classes at the business school’s Institute for Not-For-Profit Management. One official at the nonprofit will enroll in the business school’s executive MBA program. Business school students will be eligible for paid summer internship programs with Harlem Children’s Zone.

The cooperative program is made possible by a grant from the Carson Family Charitable Trust.


Students Vote No Confidence in the President of Ohio University

Students at Ohio University in Athens have overwhelmingly supported a motion of no confidence in university president Roderick J. McDavis. More than 3,400 undergraduate students supported the no confidence motion against McDavis. And only 982 undergraduate students opposed the resolution. Among graduate students, the vote in favor of the no confidence resolution was 151-130.

Students at the university were angered by a new strict policy on alcohol and the elimination of four varsity sports. The university is also facing an $8.5 million shortfall. Many prominent faculty members are also calling for McDavis to resign.

Prior to the no confidence vote, several demonstrations were held on campus. Almost all of the students protesting against McDavis were white. Many black students rallied in support of McDavis. Blacks make up 3.6 percent of the undergraduate student body on the Athens campus.



• Morgan State University, the historically black educational institution in Baltimore, received a $40,000 grant from the Associated Black Charities of Baltimore. The funds will be used to develop a program to combat childhood obesity in inner-city neighborhoods of Baltimore.



Copyright © 2007. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.