Milestones

The First African American President of Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland

The First African American President of Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland

Dr. Daria Willis currently serves as president of Everett Community College in Washington. Earlier, Dr. Willis was the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Onondaga Community College of the State University of New York and dean of academic studies at Lee College in Baytown, Texas.

The First African Woman to Win the African Studies Association's Distinguished Africanist Award

The First African Woman to Win the African Studies Association’s Distinguished Africanist Award

Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyěwùmí is a professor of sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook University in New York. In the 38-year history of the honor, she is the first African woman to win the Distinguished Africanist Award. More than half the recipients have been White men.

Reginald DesRoches Will Be the Eighth President of Rice University in Houston

Reginald DesRoches Will Be the Eighth President of Rice University in Houston

The will of oil tycoon William Marsh Rice stipulated that only White students would be allowed to enroll at the university bearing his name. From its founding in 1912 to 1965, no Black student was permitted to enroll at Rice University. Next summer, the university will install its first Black president.

The Higher Education of the Next Lieutenant Governor of Virginia

The Higher Education of the Next Lieutenant Governor of Virginia

On Tuesday, November 2, voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia elected Winsome Sears to the position of lieutenant governor. She will be the first woman and the first African American to hold the office in the 400-year history of the Commonwealth.

The First Black Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Judicial Studies in the United States

The First Black Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Judicial Studies in the United States

Dr. Tobi-Aiyemo currently resides in New York City. She retired from the Lagos State Judiciary bench in Nigeria in 2019. She began the Ph.D. program six years ago and completed her studies with a dissertation entitled “The Role of the Nigerian Judiciary in a Democracy: A Judge’s Dilemma.”

Alcorn State University in Mississippi Graduates Its First Class of Doctoral Students

Alcorn State University in Mississippi Graduates Its First Class of Doctoral Students

Six family nurse practitioners recently became the inaugural Doctor of Nursing Practice class at the Cora S. Balmat School of Nursing at Alcorn State University in Mississippi. All six of the graduates had earlier received a master’s degree in nursing from the university.

The First Black Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review at Georgia State University

The First Black Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review at Georgia State University

Jeannine Holmes is a 2008 graduate of the University of Virginia, where she majored in English. After studying design in New York City, She moved to Atlanta in 2016 to work in the healthcare field. Later she enrolled in law school part-time at Georgia State University.

The First African American Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review

The First African American Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review

When she assumes her duties for Volume 72 (2021-22), Hilda Frimpong will be the first Black student to lead the Syracuse Law Review since it began publishing in 1949.

Laurie A. Carter Will Be the First Black President of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin

Laurie A. Carter Will Be the First Black President of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin

Since 2017, Carter has been president of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. She spent 25 years in leadership positions at The Juilliard School and later was executive vice president and university counsel at Eastern Kentucky University. She will begin her new duties on July 1.

The First Black Editor-in-Chief of the Minnesota Law Review

The First Black Editor-in-Chief of the Minnesota Law Review

Brandie Burris is a second-year student at the University of Minnesota Law School. She is the first Black student to lead the Minnesota Law Review in the publication’s 104-year history. Burris is a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

African American Student at the University of Mississippi Wins Miss USA Crown

African American Student at the University of Mississippi Wins Miss USA Crown

Asya Branch, a senior at the University of Mississippi majoring in integrated marketing communications, was the winner of the Miss USA pageant recently held in Memphis, Tennessee. She was the first African American to win the title of Miss Mississippi and the first woman from Mississippi to wear the Miss USA crown.

The First African American Female Brigade Commander at the U.S. Naval Academy

The First African American Female Brigade Commander at the U.S. Naval Academy

Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber, of Lake Forest, Illinois, is a mechanical engineering major and aspires to a commission as a Marine Corps ground officer.

The First African American to Be Promoted to Full Professor at Ithaca College

The First African American to Be Promoted to Full Professor at Ithaca College

Dr. Cynthia Henderson joined the faculty at Ithaca College in 2000. In 2007, she was the first African-American woman to earn tenure at the college. Now she is the first African American who has been promoted to the rank of full professor in the 128-year history of Ithaca College.

The First African American Woman to Chair a Department at Johns Hopkins Medical School

The First African American Woman to Chair a Department at Johns Hopkins Medical School

Namandjé Bumpus was appointed chair of the department of pharmacology and molecular sciences. She is the first African American woman to chair an academic department at the medical school and the only African American woman currently chairing a pharmacology department at any medical school in the nation.

The First Black Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Rochester

The First Black Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Rochester

Dr. Mendes, who is from Jamaica and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Florida, successfully defended her thesis, titled “The Kinetics of Microglial Ontogeny and Maturation in the Adult Brain.”

The First Black Woman to Serve as Student Body President at MIT

The First Black Woman to Serve as Student Body President at MIT

Danielle Geathers who is completing her sophomore year in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was elected president of the student body. Geathers is from Miami, Florida.

Black Man to Become Dean of the Nation's Oldest Law School

Black Man to Become Dean of the Nation’s Oldest Law School

A. Benjamin Spencer will be the next dean of the William and Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia. When he takes office on July 1, Professor Spencer will be William & Mary’s first African-American dean. Since 2014 he has been on the law school faculty at the University of Virginia.

The First Black Valedictorian in the 274-Year History of Princeton University

The First Black Valedictorian in the 274-Year History of Princeton University

Nicholas Johnson is a graduate of Selwyn House School in Westmount, Quebec. He has majored in operations research and financial engineering. He will begin doctoral studies in operations research this fall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Lori White Will Be the First African American President of DePauw University in Indiana

Lori White Will Be the First African American President of DePauw University in Indiana

Dr. White has been serving as vice chancellor for student affairs at Washington University in St. Louis. Earlier, she worked as vice president for student affairs and clinical professor of education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Dr. White will become president of DePauw University on July 1.

Erika James to Lead the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

Erika James to Lead the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

When she takes office on July 1, Erika James will be the first woman and the first African American to lead the prestigious business school since its founding in 1881. Since 2014, Dr. James has been serving as dean of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta.

Lynn Perry Wooten Will Be the First African American President of Simmons University

Lynn Perry Wooten Will Be the First African American President of Simmons University

Most recently, Dr. Wooten has been serving as the David J. Nolan Dean and Professor of Management and Organizations at Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Prior to her position at Cornell, Dr. Wooten served on the faculty at the University of Michigan for nearly two decades.

The First Black Woman to Lead a College at Oxford University in England

The First Black Woman to Lead a College at Oxford University in England

Since 2015, Baroness Valerie Amos has served as director of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. From 2010 to 2015, Amos served as undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the United Nations.

The First African American Woman to Serve as Athletic Director in the Southeastern Conference

The First African American Woman to Serve as Athletic Director in the Southeastern Conference

Dr. Lee has been serving as associate vice chancellor and deputy athletic director. She has been the department’s senior woman administrator for the athletics program since 2004. Dr. Lee was a four-year varsity letter winner in basketball and holds three degrees from Vanderbilt University.

The Higher Education of Delaware's First Black Supreme Court Justice

The Higher Education of Delaware’s First Black Supreme Court Justice

African Americans make up 21 percent of the population in the state of Delaware. Yet until now, the state has never had an African Americans on its highest court. Tamika Montgomery-Reeves recently began her tenure as a justice on the the Delaware Supreme Court.

The First African American Woman Dean at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio

The First African American Woman Dean at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio

Alyncia Bowen was appointed dean of doctoral studies and the School of Nursing at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Bowen joined Franklin University 14 years ago. She has served as department chair, director of doctoral studies and director of the Global Center for Healthcare Education.

African American Makes History as the First Woman Leprechaun Mascot at Notre Dame

African American Makes History as the First Woman Leprechaun Mascot at Notre Dame

Wukie is a junior majoring in film, television and theatre at Notre Dame. She and Samuel Jackson will be the second and third African Americans to serve as Leprechaun mascots. The first, Mike Brown, is a 2001 graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

The First Black Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics at Florida State University

The First Black Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics at Florida State University

A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Kalisa Villafana decided at the age of 12 that she would be a physicist.

University of Glasgow Agrees to Pay £20 Million in Reparations to the University of the West Indies

University of Glasgow Agrees to Pay £20 Million in Reparations to the University of the West Indies

The sum of £20 million was the amount paid to slave owners as reparations by the British government when it abolished slavery in 1834. 

Wanda Brown Takes Over as President of the American Library Association

Wanda Brown Takes Over as President of the American Library Association

Brown, the director of library services at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, is the first president of the American Library Association who is currently a librarian at a historically Black university. She is the sixth African American to hold the presidency of the ALA.

LaToya Webb is the First Black Woman Invited to the U.S. Army Band Conductors Workshop

LaToya Webb is the First Black Woman Invited to the U.S. Army Band Conductors Workshop

LaToya Webb, a graduate teaching assistant in the department of music in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University in Alabama, has been selected to attend the U.S. Army Band Conductors Workshop this summer. Her selection makes her the first African American woman to be chosen for this prestigious event.

Kenesha Starling is the First African American Editor-in-Chief of the South Texas Law Review

Kenesha Starling is the First African American Editor-in-Chief of the South Texas Law Review

Starling, the first Black editor-in-chief in of the law review in the 96-year history of the law school, is currently completing her final year of law school at South Texas. During her time in law school, she has had to balance a full-time job at a federal agency, her educational pursuits, and motherhood.

The First African American President of Everett Community College in Washington State

The First African American President of Everett Community College in Washington State

Dr. Willis has been serving as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York. Earlier in her career, Dr. Willis was an assistant professor of history, faculty senate president, department chair, and dean of academic studies at Lee College in Baytown, Texas.

The First African American Student Body President in the 318-Year History of Yale University

The First African American Student Body President in the 318-Year History of Yale University

Recently Kahlil Greene was elected president of the Yale College Council. Greene is a rising junior and an economics major. He spent the summer of 2018 at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

A Milestone Achievement for Marsha Jean-Charles at Cornell University

A Milestone Achievement for Marsha Jean-Charles at Cornell University

In 2013, Cornell University initiated a doctoral degree program in Africana studies. Last month, Marsha Jean-Charles was the first person to earn a Ph.D. in the field at the university.

Liselle Joseph's Milestone Achievement at Virginia Tech

Liselle Joseph’s Milestone Achievement at Virginia Tech

Liselle Joseph was awarded a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg. She is the first woman from an Eastern Caribbean nation to earn a Ph.D. in the field.

The First Black Master of a College at the University of Cambridge in England

The First Black Master of a College at the University of Cambridge in England

Sonita Alleyne was recently appointed as master of Jesus College at the University of Cambridge in England. The title of master is the equivalent of dean in the United States. Alleyne will be the first woman and the first Black person to lead the college, which was established in 1496.