Milestones

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.

The First Black Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Michigan

The First Black Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Michigan

With a background in chemistry, Dr. Sivels had not taken basic physic courses in high school or as an undergraduate at MIT. As a result, she he was not as well prepared for a graduate level program in nuclear engineering in comparison to her peers.

Olivette Otele Becomes First Black Woman History Professor in the United Kingdom

Olivette Otele Becomes First Black Woman History Professor in the United Kingdom

Olivette Otele has become the first Black woman history professor in the United Kingdom. She has been named a professor of history at Bath Spa University where she will lead history courses at the university’s Newton Park on Duchy of Cornwall campus.

The First Woman of Color to Serve as Dean of the St. Thomas University School of Law

The First Woman of Color to Serve as Dean of the St. Thomas University School of Law

Tamara F. Lawson has been named dean of St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami Gardens, Florida. Professor Lawson, who had been serving as interim dean since June 2018, earlier was associate dean for academic affairs from 2017 to June 2018.

The First Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Computer Science at North Carolina A&T State University

The First Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Computer Science at North Carolina A&T State University

Dr. Siobahn Day’s research focused on how to determine originating sources of statements made on social media outlets. The research aimed to determine the sources of fake news that have become rampant on social media platforms.

The First Black Woman Inducted Into the National Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame

The First Black Woman Inducted Into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame

Rene Revis Shingles, a professor in the School of Rehabilitation and Medical Sciences at Central Michigan University, was elected into the Hall of Fame of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. She is the first African American woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The First African American Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy

The First African American Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy

Darryl A. Williams is the 60th superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He is the first African American to serve in this role in the 216-year history of the academy.

Ernest J. Grant Will Be the First Man to Lead the American Nurses Association

Ernest J. Grant Will Be the First Man to Lead the American Nurses Association

Dr. Grant is an internationally recognized burn care and fire safety expert and oversees the nationally acclaimed North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill. He also teaches at the university’s School of Nursing.

The First Black Woman to Lead the American Medical Association

The First Black Woman to Lead the American Medical Association

Patrice Harris, a practicing psychiatrist and an adjunct assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, was chosen as president-elect of the American Medical Association. In June 2019, she will become the first Black woman to lead the organization.

11-Year-Old Child Prodigy Receives Full Tuition Scholarship to Southern University

11-Year-Old Child Prodigy Receives Full Tuition Scholarship to Southern University

Since the age of 8, Elijah Precciely has taken classes at the university. Due to his previously college credits, he will start at Southern University as a sophomore. He has authored a book, hosts a radio show, and has submitted five U.S. patents.

Darrell Cain Appointed President of Pierce College-Puyallup in Washington State

Darrell Cain Appointed President of Pierce College-Puyallup in Washington State

Dr. Cain has been serving as vice chancellor for student affairs for Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis. When he takes office, Dr. Cain will be the first African American to serve as permanent president of the Puyallup campus.

Morgan State University Signs Its First-Ever Technology Transfer License Agreement

Morgan State University Signs Its First-Ever Technology Transfer License Agreement

The technology, which was developed by the research staff in the Center for Advanced Energy Systems and Environmental Control Technologies in the School of Engineering at Morgan State, is an ultra-clean mobile combustor for waste biomass and poultry litter disposal.

Miles K. Davis Will Be the First African American President of Linfield College in Oregon

Miles K. Davis Will Be the First African American President of Linfield College in Oregon

Currently, Dr. Davis is dean of the Harry F. Byrd Jr. School of Business at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. He joined the faculty there is 2001 and was named dean of the business school in 2012. He will become president of Linfield College on July 1.