A Surge in Bachelor’s Degree Awards to Blacks

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the year 2004 blacks earned 131,241 four-year bachelor’s degrees from American colleges and universities. The number of blacks earning bachelor’s degrees was up nearly 6 percent from the previous year. In this year the number of African Americans earning bachelor’s degrees was the highest in this nation’s history and was more than double the number of bachelor’s degrees earned by blacks in 1990.

The large increase in bachelor’s degrees earned by blacks is encouraging, but it must always be remembered that only about two out of every five black students who enroll as freshmen in college go on to graduate within six years from the same institution they entered.

Blacks are now nearly 12 percent of total enrollments in higher education, but in the 2004 academic year they earned only 9.4 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded. Yet note that this figure too measures considerable progress. As recently as 1985 blacks earned only 5.9 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States.


“Substantially more people in America believe in angels than they do in evolution.”

Senator Barack Obama, urging the Democratic Party to appeal more to people of faith


Report Finds That Enhanced Racial Diversity at Private Colleges in California Has Not Resulted in Any Increase in Economic Diversity

JBHE readers are well aware of the sharp drop-off in black student enrollments at the most prestigious campuses of the University of California. This has happened as a result of the enactment of Proposition 209 in 1996 which banned the use of race in admissions decisions at state-operated colleges and universities in California.

It was widely expected that because of Proposition 209 private colleges and universities in California would have an easier time increasing the racial diversity of their campuses. Indeed this has occurred. Stanford University, Pomona College, and other private colleges and universities have increased the black percentage of their student bodies.

But a new study, conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) and funded by the James Irvine Foundation, finds that the economic diversity at 22 private colleges and universities in California has actually decreased in recent years. This has happened despite the fact that more blacks are enrolled. In 2000, 26 percent of all students at these 22 colleges qualified for federal Pell Grants for low-income students. In 2004, only 23 percent of all students at these schools qualified for Pell Grants. The percentage of minority students who qualified for Pell Grants dropped from 45 percent to 41 percent during the period.

Author of the report Alma R. Clayton-Pedersen, vice president for education and institutional renewal at AACU, says, “The common myth that minority students are low income and low-income students are minority is as damaging as it is false.”


Two African Americans From the Academic World Are Named Among the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America

The National Law Journal recently published its list of the 100 most influential lawyers in America. Among the group are such well-known attorneys as David Boies, Ted Olsen, Laurence H. Tribe, and Kathleen Sullivan.

But four African Americans also made the list including two from the academic world. Among the 100 most influential lawyers in America, according to The National Law Journal, are Randall Kennedy, author and legal scholar at Harvard Law School, and Christopher Edley Jr., dean of the Boalt Hall law school at the University of California at Berkeley. Before accepting the position as dean, Edley taught at Harvard Law School for 23 years.

Also among the 100 most influential lawyers in America, according to The National Law Journal, are two other African Americans: Stacey J. Mobley, a senior vice president at E.I. du Pont de Nemours in Wilmington, Delaware, and Theodore V. Wells Jr. of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York. Wells has defended high-profile business and political clients in criminal cases.

Also among the most influential lawyers is Morris S. Dees Jr., founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Dees, who is white, has been highly successful in identifying and prosecuting hate groups.


African-American College Graduates Are More Likely Than Their White Peers to Earn a Graduate Degree

New data from the Department of Education shows that more than 53 percent of all African Americans who graduated from college in 1993 went on to earn an additional degree over the next decade. For whites, 47 percent of the 1993 college graduates earned another higher education degree.

More than 35 percent of African-American college graduates in 1993 earned master’s degrees over the next decade. More than 5 percent went on to complete a professional degree and another 5 percent earned doctorates. Another 7.5 percent earned another bachelor’s degree or certificate.


Tuskegee Beauty Contest Turns Ugly

Last April, Emilia Sykes from Akron, Ohio, was crowned Miss Tuskegee University at a pageant on the black college campus in Alabama. Two months later, the runner-up in the pageant was ruled the winner after it was discovered that a judge had unfairly penalized her for going over a three-minute time limit given to all contestants to address the judges and assembled crowd at the pageant ceremony.

Sykes has now filed a federal lawsuit in order to regain her title and the scholarship that goes with it.


Oregon’s Private Colleges and Universities Seek to Increase Racial Diversity of Their Student Bodies

The population of the state of Oregon is less than 2 percent black. So it has been difficult for private colleges and universities in the state to attract diverse student bodies. Now a group of 10 private colleges and universities has joined forces to work together to increase the number of black and other minority students on their campuses.

Through the Oregon Independent College Foundation, $1 million in scholarship aid is being offered to minorities or students who are the first generation in their family to attend college. The foundation will offer 50 new scholarships of $4,000 each this year to students who are underrepresented on their particular campus.

The foundation has also mounted a recruitment drive and publicity campaign to let black students know of the higher education opportunities available to them in Oregon.


In Memoriam

Cal Lampley (1924-2006)

Cal Lampley, a music producer, critic, composer, and educator, died at a hospital in Maryland from complications of multiple sclerosis. He was 82 years old.

Lampley was an accomplished pianist who played at Carnegie Hall. He got a job at Columbia Records as a music tape editor and soon thereafter became a producer working with artists such as Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Judy Garland, Dave Brubeck, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Mahalia Jackson.

A native of Dunn, North Carolina, Lampley was a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. After serving in the infantry during World War II, he studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City.

In 1968 Lampley left New York to take a position at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. There, he was the conservatory’s first full-time black faculty member. He later joined the faculty at Morgan State University where he taught piano and composition for 18 years. During his time in Baltimore, Lampley hosted a weekly radio program and reviewed classical music for Baltimore’s public television station.



Andrew B. Williams, assistant professor of computer science at Spelman College in Atlanta, was presented with the Outstanding Mentor Award from the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science.



Boost Mobile, a cellular telephone company based in Irvine, California, made a $150,000 grant to Education Is Freedom, a nonprofit group that provides college scholarships for low-income students.

Howard University received a three-year, $150,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to support the training of black students in breast cancer research. The grant will be used to fund post-doctoral programs in breast cancer research.


Mission Accomplished!  Johnnetta Cole Stepping Down From Presidency of Bennett College

In 2002 Johnnetta Cole agreed to take on the presidency of Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina. At that time the former Spelman College president gave herself five years to turn around the financially strapped college for black women.

This past week Dr. Cole announced that she would give up her post at the end of the 2006-07 academic year. During her tenure, Cole has balanced the college’s budget, raised $30 million, tripled the endowment, guided the college off an accreditation probation listing, increased enrollment, and made major improvements to the physical plant.

After stepping down as president, Cole will remain chair of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute at Bennett. She is remarrying and plans to write a book.

“I did good work at Spelman,” Cole said, when announcing she was stepping down, “but Bennett is my legacy.”


Boston University’s Treasure

Recently 7,000 pages of documents were sold by the family of Martin Luther King Jr. to a consortium of individuals who wanted to keep the papers in Atlanta. The group paid $32 million for the collection, which will be housed at Morehouse College.

But the vast majority of King’s papers are not included in this collection. Before his death King donated more than 80,000 pages of documents to Boston University, where King had earned his doctorate.

In 1987 Coretta Scott King sued Boston University in an attempt to regain control over the collection and merge it with the 7,000 pages of documents that will be housed at Morehouse College. A jury decided in favor of Boston University.

Undoubtedly, a major consideration for the jury was King’s own statement when donating the documents to BU. At that time King said, “I have great love and respect for this university. It has the facilities to take care of these papers in the kind, thorough manner necessary to make them meaningful for the future. This is the best place I could have deposited my papers.”

If the 7,000-page collection to be housed at Morehouse College is valued at $32 million, in theory the 83,000-page collection held at BU may have a value of $350 million.


College-Educated Black Women More Likely Than Less Educated Black Women to Be Victims of Physical and Emotional Abuse

Kameri Christy-McMullin, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Arkansas, has completed a study of sexual abuse that will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work. Her research examined racial factors from the 1999 National Crime Victimization Survey. She finds that black women with a college degree were 145 times more likely than black women who did not complete high school to be a victim of sexual or other abuse.

Professor Christy-McMullin believes that her research gives great credence to the “backlash theory.” This is that when women with a high level of education take on roles traditionally reserved for males, men strike back with abusive behavior in order to preserve power in their relationships.

“My concern is that these findings are not used to further oppress black women by saying they shouldn’t seek a college education,” Professor Christy-McMullin told JBHE.


Racial Prejudice and High School Guidance Counselors

A new study by researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia and sponsored by the National Commission for Cooperative Education in Boston finds that guidance counselors steer black students to community colleges more so than white students with similar academic records and family resources.

A survey was mailed to 20,000 high school counselors across the nation. The guidance counselors were asked for their recommendations for 16 hypothetical students of different races, genders, academic records, and family income levels. The results showed that middle-class black students were more likely to be funneled toward community colleges than their white peers with similar academic records and family income levels. The guidance counselors also tended to recommend that white students with poor academic records from high-income families go to community colleges. But blacks with poor academic records who came from high-income families were counseled not to go to college at all.


The New Chancellor of Winston-Salem State University

Michelle Howard-Vital was named interim chancellor of Winston-Salem State University, the historically black educational institution in North Carolina. She took office earlier this week. Previously, Howard-Vital was associate vice president for academic affairs for the University of North Carolina system.

Howard-Vital is a native of Chicago. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in English language and literature from the University of Chicago. She earned a doctorate in public policy analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Football Star Buys House From Former Texas Southern University President

Former Texas Southern University president Priscilla Slade was dismissed in part because of financial irregularities concerning improvements to her 6,000-square-foot house in Houston. University auditors determined that she had used $87,000 to buy furniture, spent more than $100,000 for landscaping, and purchased a $56,000 security system. Slade maintains that she did nothing wrong.

Slade recently sold the house to Mario Williams. Williams was the first pick in the recent National Football League draft. Williams, who played college football at North Carolina State University, recently signed a six-year, $54 million contract with the Houston Texans.

University officials are considering seeking some of the $1.5 million which Slade received for the sale of the home.


A Mentor for Black Ph.D. Students

Samuel Jones grew up in public housing projects in Birmingham. He failed and had to repeat the fourth grade. He managed to complete high school and, after moving to California, put himself through college. Today he holds a Ph.D. in psychology. Throughout his tenure in higher education, Jones never had a black professor. Today, in an effort to increase the number of blacks seeking careers in the academic world, Jones counsels young blacks on navigating the world of graduate education.

Jones conducts three-hour workshops at colleges and universities throughout the nation counseling black students who are considering graduate education. He offers advice on how to choose an adviser and a dissertation topic. He offers tips on how students can prepare for the mental challenges of graduate education. He advises students on common mistakes graduate students make and gives a plan they can follow to achieve success.

Dr. Jones has recently conducted his workshop at North Carolina A&T State University, Westminster College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Arkansas State University.


130  The average number of miles a white student traveled from home to attend college in 2004.

119  The average number of miles an African-American student traveled from home to attend college in 2004.

source: U.S. Department of Education



John K. Waddell was named president of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas. For the past five years, he has served as president of St. Paul’s College, a historically black institution in Lawrenceville, Virginia. At St. Paul’s, Waddell was credited with increasing enrollment, gaining accreditation for its teacher education program, and bringing back interscholastic football.

Ben Vinson was named professor of history and the first permanent director of the Center for Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He was an associate professor of history at Pennsylvania State University.

Professor Vinson specializes in the history of colonial Mexico. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University.

Scott Jackson Dantley was appointed dean of the College of Education at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. He was the acting dean of the School of Education at Bowie State University in Maryland where he also served as an associate professor of chemistry.

Christopher Len Giles was named head basketball coach at Miles College, the historically black educational institution in Fairfield, Alabama. Giles was an assistant coach at the University of Alabama Birmingham. A graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Giles holds a master’s degree in physical education from Jackson State University.

Lori Williams was named director of the governance and membership services staff for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. She was the assistant director of compliance for the Big 12 Conference.

Williams is a 1995 graduate of Baylor University and holds a law degree from Texas Tech University.





Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.