Black Students Are Dropping Out of High School at a Rate More Than Twice as High as White Students

New data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that in 2008 there were 159,407 black students who dropped out of public high schools in the United States. This was 6.7 percent of all black students who were enrolled in public high schools that year. There were 234,121 white students who dropped out of public high schools. They made up 2.8 percent of all white students enrolled in public high schools. Therefore, the black high school dropout rate is 2.4 times that of white high school students.

The highest black student dropout rates occurred in Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio, where more than one of every 10 black high school students dropped out.

One of the lowest dropout rates was in Alabama, where only 2.2 percent of the black students left high school.


Spelman College Joins the Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program

Spelman College, the highly selective historically black college for women in Atlanta, has joined the Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program. Three Rwandan students will join the entering class at Spelman this fall. Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Morehouse College in Atlanta are the only other historically black educational institutions participating in the program.

Under the program, the top mathematics and science students in Rwanda compete for places at 16 participating American colleges throughout the South. Each Rwandan student selected to participate in the program receives a full tuition scholarship at the participating college. The students also receive living expenses, travel costs, a book allowance, and a stipend, all of which are paid for by the Rwandan government.

This fall 30 new scholars from Rwanda will join the program. These students will be spending the summer at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, where they will be involved in a 10-week program that will include intensive study of the English language and American culture.


A Food Kitchen for Needy Students Is Established at UCLA

Students at the University of California at Los Angeles have opened a “food closet” on campus for low-income students on campus. The food kitchen is open 24 hours a day. Items such as cereal, soups, macaroni and cheese, canned beans, and instant noodles are available. Food is donated by several campus organizations and founders are asking local businesses to contribute. Students contribute to the cause by donating unused meals from their campus dining plans.

Microwave ovens, plates, and utensils are available in a student lounge across the hallway from the food closet. About 40 to 50 students take advantage of the service each day.

African Americans Named to University Boards of Trustees

Several colleges and universities recently have named African Americans to their boards of trustees:

Princeton University: Danielle Allen, UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Professor Allen is a graduate of Princeton University and holds Ph.D.s from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University.

Delaware State University: Barry M. Granger, vice president for government marketing and government affairs at Dupont. Granger holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and an MBA from Indiana University.

Kentucky State University: Charles Whitehead, former president of the Ashland Inc. Foundation, a charity established by the large chemical and energy company.

Winston-Salem State University: Chuck Wallington, vice president of public affairs and communications for American Express in Greensboro, North Carolina. Wallington, who was formerly a reporter for the Dallas Times Herald, is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

HBCU Establishes New Master’s Degree Program in Psychology

The historically black University of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix will be offering a new master’s degree program in psychology. University officials estimate that there will be 30 students in the program this fall. The new program will necessitate the hiring of two new faculty members.


1,443,100  Number of single-offender violent incidents in the nation’s K-12 schools during the 2003-2005 period.

22.5%  Percentage of these incidents in which the offender was African American.

source: U.S. Department of Education


Florida A&M Students Build Most Fuel-Efficient Electric Car at International Competition

Students from the joint engineering program at historically black Florida A&M University and Florida State University won the first place award for fuel efficiency and seventh place overall in the all-electric vehicle category at the Formula Hybrid International Challenge at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The students built an open-wheel, single-seat, plug-in race car. The car cost the students $12,000 to build, and donations from several companies were critical in providing necessary funding. One of FAMU/FSU’s competitors in the Challenge had a car that cost $500,000.


Honors and Awards

• James E. McLeod, vice chancellor for students and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, received the Eliot Society’s Search Award for his outstanding service to the university community.

• Ingrid Nembhard, an assistant professor in the division of health policy and administration at the Yale School of Public Health, was named teacher of the year by graduating students at the school.

• Barbara W. White, dean of the School of Social Work and Centennial Professor in Leadership for Community, Professional, and Corporate Excellence at the University of Texas, received the Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award from the Council on Social Work Education.

Dr. White is a graduate of Florida A&M University. She holds a second bachelor’s degree, a master of social work degree, and a Ph.D. from Florida State University.

• Antoine Alston, professor of agricultural education at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, received the Annual Award for Excellence in Teaching from the North Carolina Board of Governors.

Professor Alston earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at North Carolina A&T and a Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

• Patricia Joseph, professor of sociology and anthropology at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, received the university’s Henry G. Cornwell Distinguished Teaching Award.

Professor Joseph is a graduate of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. She holds a master of social work degree and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College.

• Dwyane Smith, vice president for academic affairs at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, received the 2010 Exemplary Leader award from the Chair Academy, an organization devoted to leadership training for academics.

Dr. Smith holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Truman State University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri.


Grants and Gifts

• Paul Quinn College, the historically black educational institution in Dallas, Texas, received a $1 million donation from investor Trammell Crow Jr. The money will be used to demolish 13 abandoned buildings near the main entrance to the college. The buildings have been vacant for 20 years and were part of the campus of Bishop College, a black college that closed its doors in 1988. Paul Quinn College moved to the Bishop College site in 1990 from its campus in Waco, Texas.

The space created by the demolition of the abandoned buildings will be used for athletic fields and garden areas.

• Winston-Salem State University, the historically black educational institution in North Carolina, received a $100,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The money will be used to fund a scholarship program for nursing students.

The College of Business at Bowie State University, the historically black educational institution in Maryland, received a two-year, $170,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The money will be used to enhance the school’s international business curriculum.

The University of Alabama received a grant totaling close to $1 million from the National Science Foundation. The funds will support a fellowship program created to increase the number of underrepresented minority students seeking graduate degrees in science, mathematics, engineering, or technology disciplines.

The Racial and Gender Gaps in Master’s Degree Attainments

Government statistics show that in 2009, 5.1 percent of all black women ages 25 to 29 held a master’s degree. For white women in this age group, 10.4 percent held a master’s degree.

In 2009, 3.2 percent of black men in the 25 to 29 age group held a master’s degree. The comparable figure for white men was 7.4 percent.


“The president has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race — on the side that favors the black person.”

Steve King, GOP congressman from Iowa, speaking on the G. Gordon Liddy radio program, 6-14-10


Howard University Partners With the District of Columbia to Operate a Juvenile Detention Center for Girls

For many years, the District of Columbia did not operate a juvenile detention center for girls. Young girls convicted in juvenile court were sent to facilities outside the District or were permitted to live at home under supervision of officers of the juvenile court system. In 2009 more than 300 youths from the District were housed in facilities in other states. About 25 of these offenders were girls.

Next month the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services in conjunction with Howard University will open the Lillian D. Worthington Residential Facility in Southeast Washington. Young female offenders will be housed and schooled at the facility with the goal of preparing them for college or vocational training. Howard University faculty will be actively involved in the operation of the new center.


South Carolina State University Trustees Decide Not to Renew the Contract of the Institution’s President

The trustees of South Carolina State University, the historically black educational institution in Orangeburg, voted not to renew the contract of George E. Cooper, who has served as head of the university for the past two years. The board’s vote was 7-4 against Cooper. The trustees who voted against Cooper did not comment on why he had lost their support. Cooper’s contract expires next week. John Smalls, senior vice president for finance and facilities, will take over management of the university’s operations until an official interim president is appointed.

Prior to being named president of South Carolina State, Dr. Cooper was the deputy administrator for science and education resources development at the U. S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. Prior to going to Washington, Cooper served on the faculty and in the administration at Alabama A&M University and Tuskegee University.

Dr. Cooper is a graduate of Florida A&M University. He holds a master’s degree in animal science from Tuskegee University and a Ph.D. in animal nutrition from the University of Illinois.

HBCU Opens New Satellite Campus in Houston

Prairie View A&M University, the historically black educational institution in Texas, has opened a new branch campus in northwest Houston. The new 52,000-square-foot facility includes space for classrooms, meeting space, and offices for student services.


The Higher Education of the Nation’s Latest Appeals Court Judge

President Obama has nominated James E. Graves Jr. to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Graves is currently the presiding judge and the only African American on the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Judge Graves is a native of Mississippi and graduated as valedictorian of his high school class. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. He holds a law degree and a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University. For 17 years Graves served as an adjunct professor of mass communications, political science, and public policy at historically black Jackson State University. He also taught at Tougaloo College and Millsaps College.

Graves began his legal career as a staff attorney for Central Mississippi Legal Services. From 1986 to 1990 he was a special assistant attorney general. In 1991 he was appointed to the Hinds County Circuit Court. In 2001 he was appointed to the Mississippi Supreme Court.


Organ Donor Education Program Founded at Howard University Has Been a Major Success

In 1978 a research program at Howard University in Washington, D.C., sought to determine why blacks and other minorities were less likely than whites to become organ donors. The result of the study showed that many blacks lacked awareness of the importance of organ donations. Others distrusted the medical establishment and many had misguided beliefs that organ donations were against the tenets of their religion.

The problem was of particular concern because minorities make up a disproportionate share of patients who need transplants. For example, 34 percent of all Americans awaiting kidney transplants are black. And organs donated by African Americans tend to be more compatible for black patients.

As a result of the findings of the 1978 study, Clive Callender, a transplant surgeon at Howard University School of Medicine, established the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP). Under a grant from the National Institutes of Health, MOTTEP reaches about 700,000 people each year in an effort to increase participation in organ donation programs.

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons documents that MOTTEP has been widely successful. According to the study, 35 percent of all adult members of minority groups in the United States are now registered organ donors. This is up from 15 percent in 1990.

Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Bertin M. Louis Jr. was promoted to assistant professor of anthropology and Africana studies at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He was a lecturer in the Africana studies program at the university.

Dr. Louis is a graduate of Syracuse University. He holds a master’s degree from the New School for Social Research and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis.

• Bevlee Watford, associate dean of academic affairs at the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, was named interim chair of the education department at the College of Engineering.

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

• Adebayo O. Oyekan, professor of pharmacology and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Diseases at Texas Southern University in Houston, was named interim associate provost/associate vice president for research at the university.

Dr. Oyekan is a graduate of Nigeria’s University of Ibadan and holds a Ph.D. in cardiovascular pharmacology from the University of London.

• Ann Creighton-Zollar, professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, has retired. Professor Creighton-Zollar joined the university faculty in 1981 and was instrumental in the formation of the university’s African-American studies department.

• Everette J. Freeman, president of Albany State University in Georgia, was appointed by Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research.

• Christon Arthur was appointed dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He was associate dean of the College of Education at Tennessee State University.

Dr. Arthur is a graduate of Caribbean Union College. He holds a master’s degree and an educational doctorate from Andrews University.

• Betty Overton-Adkins, currently vice president for academic affairs at Spring Arbor University in Michigan, was named chair of the board of trustees of the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati.

Dr. Overton-Adkins holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tennessee State University and an educational doctorate from Vanderbilt University.



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