Milestones

The Youngest Woman Recipient of a Ph.D. in Africa

The Youngest Woman Recipient of a Ph.D. in Africa

Muswenkosi Donia Saurombe is on track to receive Ph.D. in industrial psychology from the North West University in Mafikeng, South Africa, this October. At the age of 23, she will be the youngest women in African history to earn a Ph.D.

An Educational Milestone for April Gillens at Clemson University

An Educational Milestone for April Gillens at Clemson University

Earlier this month, April Gillens became the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and earth sciences at Clemson University in South Carolina.

The First Black Leader of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

The First Black Leader of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Billy C. Hawkins, president of Talladega College in Alabama, has been chosen to chair the board of directors of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He is the first African American to chair the association’s board.

A Black Woman's Half-Century Journey to a Bachelor's Degree

A Black Woman’s Half-Century Journey to a Bachelor’s Degree

Delores Ojunga-Andrew is a Black woman who is a member of the Class of 2018 at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. At age 72, she is the oldest student enrolled at the women’s college.

The First Black Woman Chair of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees

The First Black Woman Chair of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees

Dr. Harris is the former director of health services for Fulton County, Georgia, and the former medical director for the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

Hampton University Professor Competed for Miss USA Title, Another HBCU Alumna Wins It

Hampton University Professor Competed for Miss USA Title, Another HBCU Alumna Wins It

Desiree Williams, an assistant professor of physical therapy at Hampton University finished in the top 10 at the Miss USA pageant. The winner is an Army commander and an alumna of historically Black Virginia State University.

Black Identical Twins Each Had the Highest GPA at FIU's College of Engineering and Computing

Black Identical Twins Each Had the Highest GPA at FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing

Shalisha and Shonda Witherspoon are identical twins. They recently graduated from the College of Engineering and Computing at Florida International University in Miami with identical 3.95 grade point averages, the best in the college.

The First African American to Earn a Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh

The First African American to Earn a Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh

Adrienne Washington of Morgantown, West Virginia, is a graduate of Hampton University in Virginia. She received a master’s degree in linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Paula Johnson Will Be the First African American President of Wellesley College

Paula Johnson Will Be the First African American President of Wellesley College

Dr. Johnson is a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. She is the founder and executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The Youngest Ph.D. Recipient in the History of Delaware State University

The Youngest Ph.D. Recipient in the History of Delaware State University

Jalaal A. Hayes recently was awarded a Ph.D. in applied chemistry at Delaware State University at the age of 22. Dr. Hayes graduated from high school at the age of 15 and earned a bachelor’s degree at the age of 18.

The First Black Student to Earn a Ph.D. in History at the University of Southern Mississippi

The First Black Student to Earn a Ph.D. in History at the University of Southern Mississippi

A half century after the racial integration of the University of Southern Mississippi, Tonya De’Nee Blair is the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in history at the university.

Black Teenager in Indiana Aces the SAT, the ACT and All Her AP Tests

Black Teenager in Indiana Aces the SAT, the ACT and All Her AP Tests

Love Osunnuga is a 15-year-old girl who is a senior at St. Joseph High School in South Bend, Indiana. She skipped both the first and fifth grades so will graduate from high school this coming spring at the age of 16.

The First Black Professor at an Israeli University

The First Black Professor at an Israeli University

Anbessa Teferra was appointed to the position of senior lecturer of Semitic languages at Tel Aviv University in Israel. He is the first immigrant from Ethiopia to be granted status as a tenured senior lecturer at an Israeli University.

The First African American President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The First African American President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Evelyn F. Crayton, professor emerita at Auburn University in Alabama, is the new president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The academy, with over 76,000 members, is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

Deborah Johnson Is the First African American to Win the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

Deborah Johnson Is the First African American to Win the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

The Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction is administered by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Johnson is the first woman and the first African American to win the prize.

Florida A&M University Confers Ph.D.s in Physics to Two Black Women

Florida A&M University Confers Ph.D.s in Physics to Two Black Women

According to the National Science Foundation, 1,902 people earned Ph.D.s in physics at American universities in 2013. Only 18.8 percent were women and only 19 were Black. Now two Black women have earned Ph.D.s in physics at the same university in the same year.

The First Black Faculty Member in the 650-Year History of the University of Vienna

The First Black Faculty Member in the 650-Year History of the University of Vienna

Adams Bodomo, from Ghana, was appointed professor and chair of the department of African languages and literatures at the University of Vienna in Austria. He is the former director of the African studies program at the University of Hong Kong and earlier taught at Stanford University.

Four Black Men Earn Doctoral Degrees From One Department at Ohio State

Four Black Men Earn Doctoral Degrees From One Department at Ohio State

Four Black men earned doctorates this spring in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State under the mentorship of Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, the youngest full professor in the university’s history.

The First African American Dean at North Greenville University

The First African American Dean at North Greenville University

H. Paul Thompson was named dean of the College of Humanities at North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina. He is the first African American dean in the university’s history.

Rubin Jordan Is the First Recipient of a Fire Services Degree From Albany State University

Rubin Jordan Is the First Recipient of a Fire Services Degree From Albany State University

Rubin Jordan, who has served as a firefighter for 23 years with the fire department in Albany, Georgia, is the first person to earn a bachelor of applied science in fire services administration degree from Albany State University.

Talmadge King Jr. to Lead the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

Talmadge King Jr. to Lead the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

For the past nine years, Dr. King has been chair of the department of medicine at the university. He joined the faculty at the medical school in 1997 after teaching at the University of Colorado.

The Nation's Top-Ranked University Debater Is an African American

The Nation’s Top-Ranked University Debater Is an African American

Aaron Murphy, a senior at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, was named Speaker of the Year by the American Parliamentary Debate Association.

The New Dean of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the University of Michigan

The New Dean of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the University of Michigan

Aaron Dworkin is an internationally acclaimed violinist and serves as founder and president of the Sphinx Organization, a nonprofit organization based in Detroit that aims to increase diversity in the performing arts.

The First Black Woman Graduate of LSU's School of Architecture to Become a Licensed Architect

The First Black Woman Graduate of LSU’s School of Architecture to Become a Licensed Architect

Only 315 African American women have become licensed architects in the United States. Nicole Hilton is the first Black woman graduate of the School of Architecture at Louisiana State University to pass the Architect Registration Examination.

Emory University's Natasha Trethewey Is Now a Columnist for The New York Times Magazine

Emory University’s Natasha Trethewey Is Now a Columnist for The New York Times Magazine

Professor Trethewey, who served two terms as Poet Laureate of the United States, will select a poem for publication each week and write a short introduction to the work.

Alcorn State University Alumna Becomes the First Black Woman Orthodontist in Mississippi

Alcorn State University Alumna Becomes the First Black Woman Orthodontist in Mississippi

Chandra Minor recently opened Smile Design Orthodontics with offices in three cities. The Alcorn State University graduate is the first African American woman to practice orthodontics in the state of Mississippi.

Pomona College's Claudia Rankine Makes Literary History

Pomona College’s Claudia Rankine Makes Literary History

Professor Claudia Rankine of Pomona College in Claremont, California, is the first author to have a work nominated as a finalist in two categories in the 39-year history the National Book Critics Circle Awards.

Yale Scholar Named to University's First Endowed Chair in Poetry

Yale Scholar Named to University’s First Endowed Chair in Poetry

Elizabeth Alexander, who was selected to write a poem and read it at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, has been a member of the faculty at Yale since 2000.

The First African American Endowed Professor in the LSU School of Education

The First African American Endowed Professor in the LSU School of Education

Roland Mitchell was named the Jo Ellen Levy Yates Endowed Professor at Louisiana State University. He was also named interim associate dean of engagement research and graduate studies in the College of Human Sciences and Education.

The First African American to Win a Major Award in Aviation Education

The First African American to Win a Major Award in Aviation Education

I. Richmond Nettey is the associate dean of the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability, and Technology at Kent State University in Ohio. He is being honored by the University Aviaton Association.

African American Debate Team Makes History

African American Debate Team Makes History

Chris Randall and Elijah Smith, both rising seniors at Rutgers University-Newark, were ranked fifth in the nation for the 2013-14 debate season. This is the highest-ranked position ever obtained by a team of African American debaters.

The First African American Dean of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University

The First African American Dean of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Kenneth B. Chance Sr. has been serving as a professor and chief of endodontics at the University of Kentucky. He is the former dean of the School of Dentistry at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.

Terrell Lamont Strayhorn: The Youngest Full Professor at Ohio State University

Terrell Lamont Strayhorn: The Youngest Full Professor at Ohio State University

Dr. Strayhorn was promoted to full professor in the department of educational studies in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University. The appointment makes him the youngest full professor at the university.

African American Man Elected Student Body President at Texas Woman's University

African American Man Elected Student Body President at Texas Woman’s University

Landon Dickerson is a junior from Houston who is following a pre-med track and majoring in biology. He was a student at historically Black Xavier University in New Orleans but transferred to Texas Woman’s University in 2012.

Howard University Graduate to Lead the American Bar Association

Howard University Graduate to Lead the American Bar Association

Paulette Brown, a graduate of Howard University and the Seton Hall University School of Law, will become president of the American Bar Association in August 2015. She will be the first African American woman to lead the ABA.

The First Graduate of Indiana University's Ph.D. Program in African Diaspora Studies

The First Graduate of Indiana University’s Ph.D. Program in African Diaspora Studies

Maria Eliza Hamilton Abegunde will be first student to be awarded a Ph.D. in African Diaspora studies at Indiana University. After receiving her degree, she will serve as a summer scholar at the National Endowment for the Humanities.