Colleges and Universities With the Highest Black Student Graduation Rates

In 2009 Harvard University and Yale University reported black student graduation rates of 95 percent. This is the highest rate in the land.

Princeton University ranks third with a black student graduation rate of 94 percent. Amherst College and Williams College, the nation’s highest-ranked liberal arts colleges, both posted very strong black student graduation rates of 93 percent.

Stanford University recorded a black student graduation rate of 92 percent. Swarthmore College has a black student graduation rate of 91 percent. Trinity College, Rice University, the University of Pennsylvania, Wellesley College, and the University of Notre Dame all posted a black student graduation rate of 90 percent. Overall this year there are 12 high-ranking colleges and universities with an African-American student graduation rate of at least 90 percent.



The Racial Scoring Gap on SAT II Subject Tests

The SAT II subject tests are one-hour examinations that are offered in 21 specific academic disciplines. The most popular SAT II examination is the English literature test. Also popular are SAT II tests for mathematics, American history, and biology. SAT II tests are also offered in subjects such as Latin, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, Korean, chemistry, and physics.

SAT II tests are generally taken only by students applying to the nation’s highest-ranked colleges and universities. Therefore, only the highest-achieving students generally take these tests. Yet the racial scoring gap on most SAT II tests is about the same, in percentage terms, as on the regular SAT, which is taken by a far larger pool of test takers.

Of all the widely taken SAT II tests in 2009, the black-white racial scoring gap of 106 points, or approximately 18 percent, was the greatest on the American history test. There were also large racial gaps on the two mathematics tests and SAT II tests on English literature, biology, and world history.

College-bound black students generally fared well in comparison with the scores of white students on foreign-language examinations. The black-white scoring gap was 43 points on the French test and 44 points on the Latin test.


Blacks Making Gains in Head Coaching Jobs in College Football

During the 2009 season, there were seven black head coaches among the 120 colleges and universities in major college football. But in the space of the last two weeks, four additional African Americans were named to head coaching jobs. Also, Turner Gill was named head coach at the University of Kansas. He was head coach at the University of Buffalo.

The new black head coaches include Willie Taggart at Western Kentucky and Larry Porter at the University of Memphis.

Most significant was the hiring of Mike London as the head football coach at the University of Virginia and the appointment of Charlie Strong as head coach at the University of Louisville. London, Strong, and Gill are three of only four black head coaches at the 66 universities in the six athletic conferences that control the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) of major college football.


Princeton University Seeks to Strengthen Ties to Its Black Alumni

A new initiative at Princeton University is aimed at persuading black alumni to become more involved with the university. “Connect: A Black Alumni Leadership Initiative” was unveiled at a recent reunion at which 650 black alumni convened on the Princeton campus. It is estimated that there are now 3,300 black alumni of Princeton.

The initiative will seek to raise $4 million from black alumni and to encourage black graduates of Princeton to become more involved with the university and its alumni associations.

Connect will be under the direction of Brent Henry, a 1969 graduate and trustee emeritus, and Dennis Brownlee, a 1974 alumnus and current member of the board of trustees.


Meharry Opens New Dental Clinic for Patients Who Cannot Afford Care

Meharry Medical College, the historically black educational institution in Nashville, recently opened a new dental clinic for low-income patients. The clinic was funded in part by a grant from Delta Dental insurance. Free dental care for low-income patients is funded through a grant by the Harry R. Kendall Fund. Dental students provide the care under the supervision of a licensed practitioner.

The first patient at the new dental clinic was a 105-year-old man who was fitted for new dentures.


45%  Graduation rate for black students as a whole at colleges and universities in the United States.

63%  Graduation rate for black students on athletic scholarships at NCAA Division I colleges and universities in the United States.

source: U.S. Department of Education


John Hope Franklin’s Work Lives On

The late John Hope Franklin published his seminal work, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans in 1947. It was revised eight times and has sold more than 3 million copies.

Professor Franklin died this past March but his work will go on. Franklin entrusted future revisions of his work to Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and African and African-American Studies at Harvard University. Professor Higginbotham is rewriting and editing much of the text and has added new material on African slaves in Spanish Florida, the development of blues and soul music, African-American artists who settled in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, the black power movement, and hip-hop culture.

Professor Higginbotham was able to show Dr. Franklin 15 chapters of the revised work before his death.

The ninth edition of From Slavery to Freedom will be published next month.


African-American Woman Wins Mitchell Scholarship

The Mitchell Scholars program is a national competitive fellowship sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance. The Mitchell Scholars program, named to honor former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, provides tuition to an Irish university, plus housing and living expenses and an international travel stipend. Up to 12 scholars are chosen each year.

This year nine Mitchell Scholars were selected from nearly 300 applicants at 150 colleges and universities. One of the nine Mitchell Scholars is black.

Deirdre Mask is a native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College where she majored in the Classics and Latin. At Harvard she was the arts editor for the Harvard Crimson. After graduation she spent a year studying at Oxford University before returning to the United States to enroll at Harvard Law School. There she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and taught an undergraduate law course at Harvard College. After graduation she served as a law clerk for U.S. district and appeals court judges.

She will spend the next year at the National University of Ireland in Galway where she will study creative writing.




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Number of Blacks Earning Doctorates Reached an All-Time High in 2008

According to the National Science Foundation, in 2008 there were 2,030 African Americans who earned doctoral degrees from U.S. universities. This was the highest number of doctorates awarded to blacks in any single year. African Americans won 4.2 percent of all doctorates awarded in the United States. If we exclude foreign students, we find that African Americans made up 6.6 percent of all U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents who earned doctorates.

Blacks earned 824 Ph.D.s in scientific fields. Another 1,206 African Americans earned doctorates in non-scientific fields. Many of these doctorates were in the field of education.


“They’ve got to step up and hire the best man for the job regardless of what boosters or anyone else has to say.”

Tony Dungy, former head coach of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, speaking on NBC television about the small number of black head coaches in college football (See story below.)


Scholarships for Minority Students in Hotel and Hospitality Management

The Marriott Foundation is offering renewable $9,000 scholarships to black and Hispanic college students who are majoring in hospitality management, hotel management, or the culinary arts. Up to a total of $500,000 per year is offered under the Marriott Scholars program. Readers interested in more information about the Marriott Scholars program may click here.


Census Data Shows the Problem of Graduation Rates Among African-American College Students

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau illustrates the problem of low retention and graduation rates for African-American college students. The report shows that in October 2008 there were 1,690,000 African Americans enrolled in college. Of these, 522,000 were freshmen. There were 467,000 black students enrolled in their second year of college. There were 336,000 blacks enrolled as college juniors and only 172,000 blacks were seniors. Therefore, there are three times as many blacks enrolled as freshmen as there are enrolled as seniors.

It must be noted that not all the attrition is due to blacks who drop out of college. Many African-American students attend community college and leave after earning an associate’s degree, which usually can be obtained in two years.


UCLA Losing the Best Black Students to Private Universities

Chancellor Gene Block of the University of California at Los Angeles recently presented some revealing data showing how the budget crisis in California higher education and insufficient financial aid are inhibiting the university from attracting the best and brightest black students.

Under state law the university is prohibited from considering race in its admissions decisions. However, the university uses a holistic admissions procedure that takes into account a wide range of factors to evaluate candidates. The factors include not only grades and test scores but leadership, personal achievements, and a history of overcoming disadvantages. Each applicant is then assigned a “holistic rank.”

About 15 percent of all applicants to UCLA receive the highest holistic rank of “1.” In 2009 this group of applicants included 75 blacks who were offered admission. Only seven of these black students decided to enroll at UCLA. A follow-up survey of the academically gifted black students who were admitted to UCLA but went elsewhere found the main reason for not enrolling at UCLA was that these students received a more attractive financial aid package from private colleges and universities.

Chancellor Block warns that the proposed 32 percent hike in student fees at UCLA and other University of California campuses is going to drive more of these top black students to private colleges and universities that can offer better financial aid packages.


Florida A&M University Gets New Recruiting Tools

Florida A&M University, the historically black educational institution in Tallahassee, recently purchased two buses for $450,000 that will be used for recruiting trips. The buses enable students to visit high schools throughout the South in an effort to encourage more students to come to Florida A&M. When not in use for recruiting trips, the buses will be made available to student groups and athletic teams at low rental rates.


New School of Social Work Founded at Historically Black Morgan State University

Morgan State University, the historically black educational institution in Baltimore, has established a new School of Social Work. The university previously had a department of social work in its School of Education and Urban Studies. The new dean of the School of Social Work is Dr. Anna McPhatter.


In Memoriam

Leo Osgood Jr. (1946-2009)

Leo Osgood Jr., former dean, professor, and coach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, died recently at a Boston hospital after a long illness. He was 63 years old.

Osgood was a native of Charleston, South Carolina. He was a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, where he was a star basketball player. After a brief career as a professional basketball player, Osgood worked as director of social services for the Suffolk County Jail in Boston and as a probation officer for the city’s court system. During this period he earned a master’s degree at Northeastern University.

In 1977 he was hired as the assistant basketball coach at MIT. He served as head coach from 1986 to 1995. In 1986 he was also hired to the faculty as an assistant professor of athletics. Osgood also served as assistant dean of counseling services and as director of the MIT Office of Minority Education.


Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• ValaRay Irvin, director of the Counseling Center at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was elected president of the International Association of Counseling Services Board of Accreditation.

Dr. Irvin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern University and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

• Terri Moore-Brown, chair of the department of social work at Fayetteville State University, was chosen for the 2009 Leadership Academy on Aging. The academy is a yearlong executive training program for administrators of social work programs.

• Antonio D. Tillis is a new associate professor of African and African-American studies at Dartmouth College. He was an associate professor of Spanish and African-American studies at Purdue University.

Dr. Tillis is a graduate of Vanderbilt University. He holds a master’s degree from Howard University and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.

• Beryl McEwen, chair of the department of business administration at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, was installed for a two-year term as president of Delta Pi Epsilon, an organization promoting research and scholarship in business education.

• Chiron Graves was appointed assistant professor of biology at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. He previously taught at the high school level. Graves holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Xavier University of Louisiana.


Honors and Awards

• Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, received the university’s 2009 Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence.

• E.C. Osondu, a Nigerian author and former Syracuse University fellow, received the Caine Prize from Georgetown University. The literary award recognizes promising African writers.

• Fay Bradley, a retired physician living in Independence, Kansas, received the Meritorious Achievement Award from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Dr. Bradley had a long career as a physician with the U.S. Public Health Service. A marathon runner, he was named the 1998 Runner of the Year for his age group by the U.S. Track and Field Association.

Bradley is a 1960 graduate of Pittsburg State University. He holds both law and medical degrees from Howard University.

• John Mayes, director of sports medicine at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, received a Proclamation Certificate of Commendation from Texas Governor Rick Perry. Mayes, who has been at the university for 20 years, was honored for his work with the National Athletics Trainers’ Association Research Educational Foundation.


Grants and Gifts

• Southern University, the historically black educational institution in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The funds will be used to design and operate a program to help students with disabilities succeed in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology disciplines.

• Fort Valley State University, the historically black educational institution in Georgia, received a $597,929 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant will fund scholarships for social work students who will pursue careers in child welfare.

Historically black Florida A&M University is the recipient of a three-year, $750,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The grant will fund the Jacksonville Racial and Ethnic Environmental Approaches to Community Health program.

• Howard University, the historically black educational institution in Washington, D.C., received a $150,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to establish the Initiative on Democracy, Markets, Communication and Technology. The program will hold symposia on critical issues such as health care, education, and international affairs.

Historically black Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, Missouri, received an $85,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The money will be used for substance abuse, HIV, and hepatitis prevention programs.

Copyright © 2009. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.