It Appears There Is Only One African American Among the 85 Recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers

Last month the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced the names of 85 winners of Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Winners are selected based on two criteria: pursuit of innovative research on the frontiers of science or technology and a dedication to community service. Grant awards are for five years and they may be valued as high as $1 million. Several federal departments and agencies including the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health nominate scholars for these awards.

While the race of recipients is not disclosed by the government, it appears from JBHE research that only one of this year’s 85 winners is an African American.

Edward A. Botchwey, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and orthopaedic surgery at the University of Virginia, was nominated for a PECASE award by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Botchwey, who earned a Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002, conducts research on tissue engineering to repair, replace, preserve, or enhance tissue function in the human body.

In 2009 JBHE research identified seven African Americans among the 100 PECASE awards.



The Higher Education of the New Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently appointed Roderick L. Ireland to serve as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. He has been serving as senior associate justice of the court. He will be the first African American in state history to serve as chief justice. When he was named to the court in 1997, he was the first African American to serve as a Supreme Court justice in the court’s 300-year history.

A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Dr. Ireland is a 1966 graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He earned his law degree at Columbia University. He later earned a master of law degree from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in law, policy, and society from Northeastern University.


Next Month the University of Georgia Will Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Its Racial Integration

This January the University of Georgia is planning a weeklong series of events to commemorate the racial integration of the university. In January 1961, Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault were the first African Americans to enroll at the university. Two days later, on the first day of classes for the spring semester, a riot occurred outside Hunter-Gault’s dormitory. Both Holmes and Hunter-Gault weathered the storm and graduated in the spring of 1963.

Hamilton Holmes died in 1995. But in mid-January Hunter-Gault is returning to the Athens campus for several events including receptions, a lecture, a screening of a documentary, and several panel discussions.


Historically Black South Carolina State University Teams Up With the Peace Corps

Historically black South Carolina State University in Orangeburg is the newest institution participating in the Peace Corps Master’s International program. The program allows qualified students to combine volunteer service in the course of studying for an MBA. The program typically has students study for one year in the United States before going abroad to participate in Peace Corps programs. Typically, students in the Peace Corps Master’s International program receive scholarships or reduced tuition at the participating educational institution.


University of Detroit Mercy Names Its First Lay President

The board of trustees of the University of Detroit Mercy has announced that Antoine M. Garibaldi will become president of the educational institution in July 2011. Dr. Garibaldi will be the first lay president of the Catholic educational institution, which is affiliated with the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

The university has three campuses in the Detroit metropolitan area. It has total enrollments of about 5,600 students. Approximately 19 percent of the 3,200 undergraduate students are black.

Dr. Garibaldi currently serves as president of Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. A native of New Orleans, in 1973 Garibaldi earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Howard University. He holds a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Prior to assuming the presidency of Gannon University in 2001, Dr. Garibaldi worked for the Educational Testing Service. He has taught and held administrative positions at Howard University and Xavier University of Louisiana.



African-American Professor at Carnegie Mellon University Wins National Book Award

Terrance Hayes, professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University, won the National Book Award in the poetry category for his collection entitled Lighthead.

Lighthead is Professor Hayes’ fourth book of poetry. His previous work, Wind in a Box, was named one of the best 100 books of the year by Publishers Weekly. An earlier work, Hip Logic, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

Hayes is a native of Columbia, South Carolina. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina, and a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Pittsburgh. In recognition of the National Book Award, this past Tuesday was designated as "Terrance Hayes Day" in the city of Pittsburgh.



Race Relations on Campus Database

Periodically, JBHE Weekly Bulletin will publish a selection of racial incidents that have occurred on the campuses of colleges and universities. Here are the latest incidents:

• A group of African Americans attacked and robbed a group of Asian students on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington. The African Americans reportedly used racial slurs during the attack. (Associated Press, 10-31-10)

• Racist messages were spray-painted in the Free Expression Tunnel on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The tunnel, which goes under railroad tracks on campus, has been used for the past half-century as a place where students can express their ideas. The graffiti included racially charged obscenities and a drawing of President Obama. (Raleigh News & Observer, 11-5-10)

• The president of the local chapter of the NAACP on the campus of St. Louis University in Missouri reported that someone yelled “nigger” at her as she walked to her parked car on campus. The woman stated that previously a group of men pounded on her dormitory room door shouting the same racial epithet. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11-5-10)

• A racial slur was found carved into a door on the campus of Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts. Swastikas were found written on the walls of two dormitories.

Blacks are about 8 percent of the student body at Curry College. (Bostonist, 11-5-10)

• The automobiles of three black students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater were vandalized. The tires on the cars were slashed and the letters “KKK” were spray-painted on the doors and hoods of the vehicles. (Associated Press, 11-12-10)

• The U.S. Justice Department agreed to settle a complaint filed against the University of South Carolina in Columbia concerning its policies dealing with incidents of harassment and discrimination on campus. The university agreed to enhance its programs to address and respond to race-related incidents and to train administrators, faculty, and students to deal with such incidents.



Honors and Awards

Toni Morrison, the winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in literature and professor emerita at Princeton University, received the French Legion of Honour. The award, created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, honors those who have made significant contributions to French culture or society.

Michael D. Jones, a partner with the law firm Kirkland and Ellis, received the Paul R. Dean Award for leadership contributions to the legal profession from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Jones is a graduate of Dillard University and earned his law degree from Georgetown in 1985.

Robert Belton, professor emeritus at the Vanderbilt Law School, was honored recently by the unveiling of his portrait at the school. Professor Belton joined the law school’s faculty in 1975. He was the first African American to earn tenure and is the first African-American faculty member to have a portrait displayed at the law school.

Professor Belton is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and the Boston University School of Law. Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty, he served as assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Edith P. Mitchell, clinical professor of oncology and associate director of diversity programs at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, was named Physician of the Year by CancerCare, a national nonprofit organization that offers support services to cancer patients and caregivers.

Historically black Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina has established an endowed scholarship fund to honor Lorraine Hairston Morton. A 1938 graduate of the university, Morton spent most of her career as a schoolteacher. She then served for 16 years as mayor of Evanston, Illinois. Morton retired in 2009 at the age of 90.



President Obama has called on the United States to have the highest percentage of college graduates in the world by the year 2020. Do you think this is a realistic goal?


High-Ranking Liberal Arts Colleges That Made the Most Progress in Increasing Black Freshman Enrollments in 2010

Last week JBHE unveiled the results of our annual survey on black freshman students at the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. The survey showed that for the fourth year in a row Amherst College in western Massachusetts had the highest percentage of black freshmen among the 30 highest-ranked liberal arts colleges.

Now we examine which liberal arts colleges posted the biggest gains this year compared to a year ago. In 2010 there are 36 black freshmen at Colby College in Maine. This is double the number from a year ago. In 2008 there were only eight black freshmen at Colby. Over the past two years the percentage of blacks in the entering class at Colby has increased from 1.7 percent to 7.3 percent.

Oberlin College in Ohio also made impressive progress. This fall there are 67 black freshmen at Oberlin compared to 39 a year ago. Harvey Mudd College, Amherst College, and Colgate University also posted gains greater than 50 percent in black freshmen this year.

The largest decline in black freshmen was at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. There are 31 blacks in the entering class at Bucknell this fall compared to 43 a year ago.



New Fiction Showcases Zora Neale Hurston as a Young Detective

Zora Neale Hurston, the Columbia University scholar and iconic writer of the Harlem Renaissance, is being reintroduced to the younger generation of Americans in a new novel, Zora and Me. In the book, Hurston is a fourth-grade student in Eatonville, Florida, the all-black town in which the real Zora Neale Hurston was raised. In the novel, Zora and her friends set out to solve a mystery surrounding the discovery of a headless body near the town’s railroad tracks.

Zora and Me is the first book not written by Hurston that has the endorsement of the Zora Neale Hurston Trust, which oversees the rights to the publication of the author’s works. The novel is authored by Tanya Simon, a literary agent, and Victoria Bond, a lecturer in composition and classics at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.



Scholarship Honors Jackson State University Alumnus

The Miller/Coors Brewing Company has established a scholarship fund at Jackson State University in honor of Louis Bullard, who was a standout football player at Jackson State University. He played in the National Football League for the Seattle Seahawks and the Cleveland Browns. After retiring from football in 1985, Bullard became an executive sales manager for the brewer in Tennessee. Bullard died earlier this year at the age of 53.


The Status of Blacks in Administrative and Coaching Positions in Major College Football

A new report from the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Florida finds that this season there were 13 African Americans among the 120 head coaches for the 120 colleges and universities in the NCAA’s Bowl Championship Series division. These schools operate the nation’s most prestigious football programs. Blacks make up more than 51 percent of the football players in this division. (Earlier this week Randy Shannon, an African American, was dismissed as the head football coach at the University of Miami.)

At these 120 schools, nine had African Americans serving as director of athletics. They were the University of Buffalo, the University of Central Florida, Eastern Michigan University, the University of Maryland College Park, New Mexico State University, Ohio State University, Syracuse University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Virginia.

The report also showed that at these 120 colleges and universities, blacks made up 12.4 percent of the offensive and defensive coordinators and 33 percent of all assistant coaches.

The full report can be accessed by clicking here.

Huge Increase in Black First-Year Enrollments at the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon reports record enrollments of 23,389 students. This is an increase of 4.5 percent from a year ago. Enrollments gained due to a large group of freshmen and transfer students and the highest freshman retention rate — 85.9 percent — in school history.

Also, a significant factor in the rise of freshman enrollments is attributed to a 39.6 percent increase in black first-year students. In the fall of 2009, blacks made up 2 percent of undergraduate enrollments on the Eugene campus.



In Memoriam

Kenneth Earl Henry Sr. (1932-2010)

Kenneth Earl Henry Sr., who taught church history at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta for more than 30 years, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 77 years old.

The Reverend Henry grew up in Palestine, Texas. He graduated from Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, before enrolling at the Yale Divinity School. He was an associate professor of church history at ITC for three decades until his retirement in 2003. He was awarded emeritus status earlier this year.

Rufus L. McGee (1926-2010)

Rufus L. McGee, longtime professor of anatomy at Texas Southern University in Houston, died last month after a lengthy illness. He was 84 years old.

McGee was a native of Fairfield, Texas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1953 at what is now Clark Atlanta University. He later earned a master’s degree in biology at Texas Southern University.

McGee taught biology at Wiley College before joining the faculty at Texas Southern. After 30 years on the faculty at TSU, he retired from teaching in the early 1990s.


Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

Dwight A. McBride, who recently returned to Northwestern University after serving as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was named the Daniel Hale Williams Professor at Northwestern.

Dr. McBride is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a Ph.D. from UCLA.

Cleveland L. Sellers Jr., president of Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina, was elected chair of the Association of Episcopal Colleges of the U.S chapter of the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion. The group represents 120 higher education institutions worldwide.

Richard S. Baker was named provost and chief academic officer at the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. He has been serving as an associate professor of ophthalmology at the university and at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine.

Dr. Baker is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Medical School.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad was named director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a division of the New York Public Library. He will assume the post in July 2011. Currently, Dr. Muhammad is an assistant professor of history at the University of Indiana.

Dr. Muhammad is a 1993 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2004 he earned a Ph.D. in American history from Rutgers University.


Grants and Gifts

Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, received a $250,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations for programs to improve retention rates of minority students.

Blacks make up about 6 percent of the 900 students at the college.

The University of Chicago received a $1 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for programs aimed at reducing healthcare disparities between whites and minorities.

Hampton University, the historically black educational institution in Virginia, received a $90,000 grant from the E.K. Sloane Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation for the purchase of a Steinway concert grand piano. The nine-foot-long piano took nearly a year to build.

Johnson C. Smith University, the historically black educational institution in Charlotte, North Carolina, received a three-year, $299,270 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for a program to support victim services for the university’s Alliance Against Violence Toward Women project.

The program will be under the direction of Dezette Johnson, an assistant professor of social work at the university.

Historically black Alcorn State University in Mississippi received a five-year, $599,138 grant from the National Science Foundation for plant genome research. The university’s research will examine genome structure and function of plants of economic importance including corn, cotton, rice, soybeans, and wheat.

Copyright © 2010. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.