The Number of Applications From Black Students Surges at the Nation’s Leading Universities

Despite a down economy and a shrinking pool of 18-year-olds, many of the nation’s leading universities are reporting a record number of applications for the class of 2015.

Harvard University received nearly 35,000 applications this year. This is up nearly 15 percent from a year ago and more than 50 percent from four years ago. At the University of Pennsylvania, the number of applicants is up 17 percent and, at Dartmouth, applicants increased by 16 percent. Brown, Stanford, and the University of Chicago also posted a significant increase in the number of applications submitted.

While the universities did not report specific numbers for black applicants, it appears that there were substantial gains at many institutions. At Harvard, the admissions office reported that “minority numbers continue to rise.” The University of Chicago reported an increase in the number of applicants from all minority groups.  Dartmouth reported that applications from students of color are up by 17 percent. At Brown, the admissions office stated, “This year’s applicants are the most racially, ethnically, and geographically diverse pool in university history.”



Black Applicants to the Undergraduate Campuses of the University of California System Increase, But Only Slightly

The University of California system reports that it received 4,843 applications from African-American Californians seeking admission to the class of 2015. Blacks made up 5.7 percent of all California applicants. The number of African Americans seeking places at the university’s nine undergraduate campuses was up slightly from a year ago.

UCLA and the flagship campus at Berkeley reported the most black applicants, although both schools saw a drop in the number of black applicants from 2010. African Americans make up 5.5 percent of the total freshman applicant pool from California at both campuses.

In addition, the university system received 1,568 applications from African-American college students seeking to transfer to an undergraduate program at one of the nine University of California campuses. Blacks make up 4.9 percent of all students seeking to transfer to a University of California campus. Black transfer applicants are up only slightly from 2010 but have increased 50 percent since 2009.

Overall, 6,411 blacks from California have applied for admission to the university system. They make up 5.5 percent of all applicants from California. Blacks are about 7 percent of the state’s population.


Financial Literacy Program Targets Students at Black Colleges

The Capital One Financial Corporation in conjunction with the United Negro College Fund has launched a new program aimed at increasing the financial literacy of students at more than 50 historically black colleges and universities. The Capital One Financial Scholars Program uses an educational gaming platform to educate students on loan management, taxes, banking, budgeting, credit, and other financial topics.

Several of the nation’s historically black educational institutions plan to include the financial literacy effort in freshman orientation programs.

National Park Service Will Build a Tourist Center on the Campus of Alabama State University

The National Park Service has announced that a new center will be built on the campus of Alabama State University that will serve as a clearinghouse on the 1965 voting rights protests and marches for tourists who travel the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. The trail was established by Congress in 1996.

Some civil rights leaders in Montgomery were dismayed by the decision because the famed Montgomery to Selma march did not pass through the ASU campus.

The new center, scheduled to open by the 50th anniversary of the 1965 march, is estimated to cost $12.6 million. The university has pledged to raise some of the money needed to construct the center.



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.

A More Noble Cause: A.P. Tureaud and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Louisiana by Rachel L. Emanuel and Alexander P. Tureaud Jr. (Louisiana State University Press)

Anthems, Sonnets, and Chants: Recovering the African American Poetry of the 1930s by Jon Woodson (Ohio State University Press)

Ballers of the New School: Race and Sports in America by Thabiti Lewis (Third World Press)

British and African Literature in Transnational Context by Simon Lewis (University Press of Florida)

Dewey and the Dilemma of Race: An Intellectual History, 1895-1922 by Thomas D. Fallace (Teachers College Press)

Dreaming With the Ancestors: Black Seminole Women in Texas and Mexico by Shirley Boteler Mock (University of Oklahoma Press)

Fathers, Preachers, Rebels, Men: Black Masculinity in U.S. History and Literature, 1820-1945 edited by Timothy R. Buckner and Peter Caster (Ohio State University Press)

Hope on a Tightrope: Words & Wisdom by Cornel West (SmileyBooks)

Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture by W. Jason Miller (University of Illinois Press)

Looking South: Race, Gender, and the Transformation of Labor From Reconstruction to Globalization by Mary E. Frederickson (University Press of Florida)

Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture by Thomas Chatterton Williams (Penguin Books)

Radical Reform: Interracial Politics in Post-Emancipation North Carolina by Deborah Beckel (University of Virginia Press)

Second Skin: Josephine Baker and the Modern Surface by Anne Anlin Cheng (Oxford University Press)

The Evolving Challenges of Black College Students: New Insights for Policy, Practice, and Research edited by Terrell L. Strayhorn and Melvin C. Terrell (Stylus Publishing)

Yo Soy Negro: Blackness in Peru by Tanya Maria Golash-Boza (University Press of Florida)

Zora Neale Hurston’s Final Decade by Virginia Lynn Moylan (University Press of Florida)




Honors and Awards

The new Days-Massolo Center at Hamilton College honors Drew Days III, a 1963 graduate of the college. The center will house the college’s chief diversity office and the college’s women’s center.

Days, now a professor at Yale Law School, is the former solicitor general of the United States.

• Thomas Parker, president of the Service Employees International Union local at Princeton University, received the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Journey Award for Lifetime Service. Parker received a plaque and an engraved wristwatch.

The Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, under the direction of Bevlee Watford, received the 2010 Claire L. Felbinger Award for Diversity from the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology.

Dr. Watford holds bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in engineering from Virginia Tech.

The University of Louisville has honored the memory of its first black faculty member by establishing the Charles H. Parrish Jr. Achievement Award. The initial award was given to David Jones Sr., cofounder of Humana Inc., and his wife Betty.

Parrish, the son of a slave, taught at Louisville Municipal College for 20 years before it was absorbed into the University of Louisville. He was the only faculty member at the college who was retained when the merger took place in 1951.

Do you think that historically black colleges and universities facing serious enrollment or financial problems should consider merging with predominantly white educational institutions?
Only if they otherwise would close


Universities Awarding the Most Doctorates to African Americans

According to data from the National Science Foundation, there have been 9,825 doctorates awarded to African Americans in the 2005-09 period. During this period, Howard University bestowed 338 doctorates on black Americans, far more than any other institution of higher learning. Walden University, a nontraditional institution of higher learning where much of the coursework is conducted online, ranked second. During the 2005-09 period, 158 black students earned doctorates through Walden University. Ranking third was the University of Michigan with 149 doctorates earned by blacks. Morgan State University, the historically black educational institution in Baltimore, awarded 137 doctorates to blacks followed closely by the University of Maryland with 135.

Rounding out the top 10 universities in awarding doctorates to blacks in the 2005-09 period are Jackson State University in Mississippi, the University of Southern California, Clark Atlanta University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Virginia Tech.



Louisiana Governor Proposes Merging Historically Black Southern University of New Orleans With a Predominantly White University

Bobby Jindal, the popular GOP governor of Louisiana, has ordered a study that will consider the feasibility of merging the historically black Southern University of New Orleans with the predominantly white University of New Orleans. Both institutions have seen a drop in enrollments since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.

Governor Jindal suggested that the new combined university become part of the University of Louisiana system. Currently, Southern University of New Orleans is one of three members of the Southern University system. The University of New Orleans is under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana State University system.

Ronald Mason Jr., president of the Southern University system, stated that he was “shocked” by the governor’s proposal. In 2010, Mason had suggested that the University of New Orleans should be absorbed into the Southern University system.

A similar proposal made by Mississippi governor Haley Barbour in 2009 to merge historically black universities with nearby predominantly white institutions was met with a major uproar on the black campuses.


Lafayette College Updates the Concept of Civil Rights

Last fall, Lafayette College, the highly regarded liberal arts college in Easton, Pennsylvania, rededicated its Kirby Hall of Civil Rights 80 years after it first opened. The building, designed by Whitney Warren, the architect of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, houses the college’s department of government and law.

When the Hall of Civil Rights was first dedicated, Fred Morgan Kirby, cofounder of F.W. Woolworth Company, unveiled a plaque that championed the “Anglo-Saxon ideals of the true principles of constitutional freedom.” Kirby’s “civil rights” of the 1930s referred to individual rights as opposed to the idea of state control, which was taking hold in the Soviet Union. At the time, there were no black students at Lafayette College.

But now, Lafayette College has unveiled a second plaque in the building explaining Kirby’s remarks. Also, an exhibit showing a timeline of the civil rights movement was erected in the lobby to make the Hall of Civil Rights more relevant to students of today.


Western Illinois University Names a New President

Jack Thomas was named the 11th president of Western Illinois University in Macomb. He will assume his new position on July 1. He is currently serving as provost and academic vice president at the university.

Prior to joining the administration at Western Illinois University in 2008, Thomas was senior vice provost for academic affairs and a professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. He has also held faculty positions at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, South Carolina State University, and Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Thomas is a graduate of Alabama A&M University. He holds a master’s degree from Virginia State University and a Ph.D. in English literature and criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Blacks make up about 9 percent of the 10,500 undergraduate students at Western Illinois University.

Austin Peay State University Receives a Donation of Sculptures Created by Legendary Black Folk Artist William Edmondson

In 1937 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City exhibited the works of Nashville sculptor William Edmondson. It was the first time in the museum’s history that a black artist was featured in a solo exhibit.

Soon afterward, Edmondson contracted cancer and was unable to work. He died in 1951 in relative obscurity and was buried in an unmarked grave.

But in recent years Edmondson’s folk art sculptures have enjoyed a renaissance in the artistic community. Over the years, Edmondson sculpted hundreds of small statues out of limestone and made elaborate headstones with carvings of animals, biblical images, and people. These sculptures are now coveted collectors’ items, fetching six-figure prices at public auctions.

Recently, Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, received a donation of two Edmondson sculptures from Joe Trahern, the son of a former professor at the university. The professor had donated another Edmondson piece to the university a half-century ago.

The three Edmondson sculptures will now be on permanent display in the university’s Mable Larson Gallery on the first floor of Harned Hall on the APSU campus.


Emory University Issues an Official Apology for Its Ties to Slavery

The board of trustees of Emory University in Atlanta has issued a formal statement apologizing for its role in the institution of slavery. The college was founded in 1836 by a group of Methodists who named the college after a Maryland bishop who was a slaveowner. The university admitted that its founders and early leaders were all supporters of slavery and worked to divide the Methodist Church into northern and southern branches. Archival records show that slaves, rented from their white owners, participated in some construction projects on campus. All of Emory’s presidents before the Civil War owned slaves, as did many faculty.

It wasn’t until 1967 that the first black student earned a bachelor’s degree at Emory University. Today the university’s undergraduate student body is 10 percent black.



Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Marie Sutton was named a media specialist in the office of public relations and marketing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. A graduate of Stillman College, Sutton was a reporter for the Birmingham News.

• Pamela Haney was promoted to dean of science, business, and computer technology at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois. She was assistant dean of academic initiatives and accountability at the college.

Dr. Haney holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Norfolk State University. She earned a doctorate in interpersonal communication from Bowling Green State University.

• Ramona M. Hill was appointed vice president for enrollment management at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. She has been serving as associate provost for graduate and continuing studies at the college.

Hill holds bachelor’s degrees from Spelman College and the Georgia Institute of Technology. She earned a master’s degree in human resources management from the Keller Graduate School of Management.

• Allison Blakely, the George and Joyce Wein Professor of African American Studies at Boston University, was appointed to the National Council on the Humanities by President Obama. After teaching at Howard University for 30 years, Dr. Blakely joined the faculty at BU in 2001.

Professor Blakely is a graduate of the University of Oregon. He earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

• K. Michael Francois was appointed director of the Office of Student Financial Services at Prairie View A&M University in Texas. He was director of financial aid and scholarships at the Shreveport campus of Southern University.

• Chanta A. Haywood was named associate vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies at North Carolina Central University in Durham. She was dean of graduate studies at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

Dr. Haywood is a graduate of Florida A&M University. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American literature from the University of California at San Diego.

• Ronnie Harrison was appointed director of the Southern University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was principal of the Dalton Elementary Charter School in Baton Rouge.

Dr. Harrison is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He holds a master’s degree and an educational doctorate from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.


Grants and Gifts

Historically black Delaware State University received a five-year, $350,000 grant from the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service to develop a conservation plan for sand tiger sharks in Delaware Bay. The shark is now listed by the federal government as a “species of concern.”

• Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, received a grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation for a program designed to bring more minority students into the field of accounting.

• Virginia State University, the historically black educational institution in Petersburg, received a $1 million gift from the charitable arm of Thomson Hospitality Inc. The parents of the founders of the company both earned degrees from Virginia State.

The University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville received a $100,000 grant from the law firm Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis to establish the Diversity Endowed Scholarship program.

Historically black North Carolina Central University in Durham received a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for research to develop drugs for treating type 2 diabetes. African Americans are significantly more likely to contract type 2 diabetes than whites.


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