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Carroll L. Miller

Ambrose Caliver was born in Saltsville, Virginia, on February 25, 1894, the son of Ambrose and Cora (Saunders) Caliver. His education in the public schools of Virginia and of Knoxville, Tennessee, was followed by collegiate work at Knoxville College, from which he received a B.A. degree in 1915. Five years later, the University of Wisconsin awarded him an M.A. degree, and in 1930 he received a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University.

His professional experience began in 1916, when he became a high school principal in Rockwood, Tennessee, and an assistant principal of Douglass High School in El Paso, Texas. His first appointment in higher education came in 1917 at Fisk University At Fisk Caliver was asked to develop a program of training in manual arts an area in which he had a special interest In his opinion the complete education of the individual involved ...

Article

Lee Jr. Williams

educator, college administrator, and civil servant, was born in Saltville, Virginia, the youngest child of Ambrose Caliver Sr. Little is known about his parents, but very early in his life he and his two siblings moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where they were raised by an aunt, Louisa Bolden. Bolden, a widowed cook who took in boarders to make ends meet, allowed Caliver to accept a job at a very young age. According to one account, the young Caliver was working in a coal mine by the time of his eighth birthday. Early employment, however, did not prevent him from attending school regularly. After receiving an education from Knoxville's public school system, he enrolled at Knoxville College, where he obtained his BA in 1915. He eventually earned an MA from the University of Wisconsin (1920) and a PhD from Columbia University (1930).

After graduating from ...

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Eric Gardner

educator and journalist, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, the son of William Corbin and Susan, both Virginia-born former slaves. Corbin's parents eventually settled in Cincinnati to raise their family of twelve children. Corbin attended school sporadically because of economic circumstances (one of his classmates was John Mercer Langston), though his family emphasized education. In the late 1840s Corbin and his older sister Elizabeth moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where their father had family. Both lived with the Reverend Henry Adams, the pastor of the black First Baptist Church. Though the 1850 census takers listed him as a cook, Corbin taught at least some of the time in a school supported by Adams.

Thirsty for further education, Corbin traveled north to Ohio University, where he earned a BA in 1853 and an MA in 1856 He settled in Cincinnati worked as a bank messenger and steward gained prominence ...

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Tom W. Dillard

Joseph Carter Corbin was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on March 26, 1833, of free parents, William and Susan Corbin. By attending several small schools he secured a basic education, and in 1850 he entered Ohio University, of Athens, Ohio. He received his bachelor's degree in 1853 and his master's in 1856. Before receiving his graduate degree, Corbin had accepted employment with a bank in Cincinnati, Ohio. Later, he taught at a school in Louisville, Kentucky. During the Civil War (1861–1865) Corbin edited a Cincinnati newspaper, the Colored Citizen. In 1866 he married Mary Jane Ward. The couple had six children, only two of whom survived their father.

Corbin and his family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1872, where he worked as a reporter for the Republican Party newspaper, the Daily Republican Like many other African Americans of that day ...

Article

Jerry Gershenhorn

educator, was born in Sandersville, Georgia, the son of Thomas J. Elder, an educator, and Lillian Phinizy. Thomas Elder founded and served as principal of Sandersville Industrial School (later Thomas J. Elder High and Industrial School) for fifty-three years; his wife served as his assistant. Alfonso's early education was at his father's school.

Elder earned an AB from Atlanta University in 1921, from which he graduated magna cum laude. A fellowship from the General Education Board helped him earn his MS from Teachers College at Columbia University in 1924, and he went on to graduate work at the University of Chicago in the summers of 1930 and 1931 and studied at Cambridge University in England. Elder earned an EdD from Teachers College in 1938.

Elder began his teaching career at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he taught mathematics from 1921 to 1922 ...

Article

Robert L. Harris

educator, diplomat, and administrator, was one of thirteen children born to Robert and Viola Bagsby Holland in Auburn, New York. Most of the children did not survive childhood. One of his younger siblings affectionately called him “Brudder,” later shortened to “Brud,” which he was called by relatives and friends throughout his life. His father was a gardener and handyman for several families in Auburn. “Brud” Holland began to work with his father at age eight to support their poor family. He determined early in life that education was the key to success.

Holland was a stellar basketball and football player. He played four years on the varsity football team for Auburn High School and twice earned statewide honors. His high school coach years later referred to him as the best all-around athlete ever to play for Auburn. Holland entered Cornell University's College of Agriculture in 1935 ...

Article

John Hope's mother, Mary Frances, was a freed slave and his father, James Hope, a Scot. He graduated with honors from Worcester Academy in June 1890, and received a scholarship to Brown University, where he graduated, also with honors, in 1894. He married Lugenia Burns, a social worker from Chicago; they became parents of two sons.

Hope was a teacher in Nashville at Roger Williams College, where he taught Greek, Latin, and the natural sciences from 1894 to 1898. His career reflected his belief that African Americans could achieve equality through higher learning. In 1898 Hope moved to Atlanta Baptist College, which in 1913 was renamed Morehouse College, where he was professor of classics.

In 1906 Hope became Morehouse's president. He was the only university president to join W. E. B. Du Bois's militant Niagara Movement in 1906 During his ...

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Sholomo B. Levy

educator, was born in Augusta, Georgia, the son of James Hope, a wealthy white Scotsman who came to America in 1817, and Mary Frances Butts, who was born a slave in 1839. John's great-grandmother, Mary, had been raped by a Georgia planter at the age of sixteen and gave birth to John's grandmother, Lethea. She in turn had seven children by a neighboring slave owner, including John's mother, Mary “Fanny” Frances. As a young woman, Fanny became a housekeeper in the home of a prominent white physician, Dr. George M. Newton. Shortly after joining the household, Fanny became pregnant with the first of two children she had with Dr. Newton before his death in 1859 James Hope a business associate of Dr Newton s then invited Fanny into his home They lived openly as husband and wife and had four children ...

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C. Ellen Connally

educator and civil rights leader. The monumental contributions of the eminent historian John Hope Franklin have caused many students of African American history to confuse the historian with Franklin's namesake, the educator and civil rights leader John Hope. In 1998 Franklin described Hope as the least-known and least-understood major figure in the annals of African American history between Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.

A contemporary of both Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois, Hope played a key role in the advancement of higher education for blacks during the early twentieth century. His career reflects the transition from white governance of black institutions of higher education to black governance of such institutions. In 1906 Hope became the first black president of the Atlanta Baptist College (later Morehouse College), and in 1929 he was unanimously selected president of the new Atlanta University Center when Morehouse and ...

Article

Lisa E. Rivo

physicist, chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and educator was born in Washington, D.C., the second of four children to George Jackson, a post office employee, and Beatrice Cosby, a social worker. In elementary school Shirley was bused from the Jacksons' largely white neighborhood in northwest Washington to a black school across town. After the 1954Brown v. Board of Education desegregation ruling and several years of “white flight” transformed the area into a predominantly black neighborhood, she attended the local Roosevelt High School, where she participated in an accelerated program in math and science. Jackson took college-level classes in her senior year, after completing the high school curriculum early, and she graduated as valedictorian in 1964 As I was growing up she recalled I became fascinated with the notion that the physical world around me was a world of secrets and that science as ...

Article

Robert Fay

Shirley Jackson grew up in Washington, D.C., where her parents, Beatrice and George Jackson, encouraged her interest in science by helping her to prepare school science projects. After graduating first in her class at Roosevelt High School, Jackson was one of only thirty women to enter the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1964. She earned a B.S. degree in 1968 and a Ph.D. in 1973 from MIT, making her the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics and the first black woman to earn a doctorate in any subject from MIT.

After graduating from MIT, Jackson joined the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, as a research associate (1973–1974, 1975–1976), and was a visiting scientist at the European Center for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland (1974–1975). From 1976 to 1991 Jackson researched theoretical physics ...

Article

Sowande' Mustakeem

At the young age of twenty-six, Shirley Ann Jackson became not only the first African American woman to receive a PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but also one of the first two women to receive a degree in theoretical physics from any university in the United States. In 1995, Jackson became both the first African American and first woman appointed to head the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees nuclear power plants in the United States. Additionally, in 1999, Jackson became the first African American president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in New York, the oldest university in the United States dedicated to research in science and engineering.

The second daughter of George and Beatrice Jackson, Jackson was born in Washington, DC She benefited greatly from the strong foundation her parents provided Her mother Beatrice a social worker regularly read to her often choosing the ...

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Daniel Donaghy

American physicist and president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Shirley Ann Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., to Beatrice and George Jackson, who instilled in her, as well as in her sister, Alicia, a strong interest in school, especially the study of science. Her parents encouraged Jackson to think for herself from an early age. As a result, she excelled academically throughout elementary and middle school and at Roosevelt High School, where she participated in accelerated math and science programs and from which she graduated in 1964 as valedictorian. She moved on that fall to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she was one of the few African American students and the only one pursuing a career in theoretical physics. She graduated in 1968 after completing her senior thesis on solid state physics and was accepted into many of the nation s most prestigious graduate programs ...

Article

Azhia Long

educator and politician, as born in Mobile, Alabama. She was the second-youngest of twelve children born to Leroy Kennedy Sr. and Thelma McMillian. Kennedy's paternal grandparents were instrumental in the founding of the Stewart Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church located in Mobile. This church played a large role in Kennedy's life; there she received her early education, was a committed worshipper, and was highly active. Kennedy went on to graduate in the top ten percent of her segregated Central High School class in Mobile in 1962.

That same year, Kennedy enrolled in college at Bishop State Junior College in Mobile, Alabama, where she received an associate's degree in 1964 Soon after Kennedy transferred to Alabama State University in Montgomery Alabama Within her second year at Alabama State she received the President s Award for her academic achievements As a junior Kennedy joined the Beta Eta chapter ...

Article

Ebenezer Ayesu

chief (traditional ruler), economist, business leader, university administrator, and philanthropist, was born Emmanuel Noi Omaboe on 29 October 1930 in Amanokrom, Akuapem in the eastern region of Ghana. His parents were Madam Mary Opibea Awuku of the royal Asona family of Amanokrom and Mr. Peter Nortey Omaboe, a prominent goldsmith resident at Mamfe and a citizen of Osu. He was enrolled in Mamfe Presbyterian Junior School from 1936 to 1942, completed his primary education at the Suhum Presbyterian Senior School in 1945, and from 1946 to 1950 studied at Accra Academy. There, he was a peer of several students who would be future leaders of Ghana, including Peter Ala Adjetey, who went on to a career as a noted lawyer and speaker of Ghana’s parliament (2000–2004). In 1951 he entered the University College of the Gold Coast now the University of Ghana to study economics ...

Article

Raymond Pierre Hylton

college administrator, entrepreneur, and first and sixth president of Liberia, was born either in Norfolk, Portsmouth, or Petersburg, Virginia, the son of James Roberts and Amelia (maiden name unknown). A persistent rumor that his father was an unidentified white man remains no more than mere speculation. James Roberts and his wife were freed people and had seven surviving children. The family ran a boat and trading business that plied the James River. The Robertses probably lived for a while in Norfolk and later moved to Petersburg, where Joseph alternately worked for his father and in a barbershop owned by the Reverend William Nelson Colson, an African American minister and businessman. The Colson business was located at Wythe and Sycamore streets—an historical marker indicates the actual site.

By 1829 James Roberts had died leaving considerable financial assets and property in Petersburg Joseph as the eldest child ...

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Yolanda L. Watson Spiva

educator, Africanist, and anthropologist, was born Gloria Albertha Marshall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; nothing is known of her parents. She attended Dillard Elementary School and Dillard High School. A student of high academic prowess and promise, she skipped grade levels because of her exceptional ability and mastery of her school work and was classified as a high school junior at the age of fourteen. At fifteen she was offered and accepted early admission to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, on a Ford Foundation Early Entrant Scholarship. In 1955, while a student at Fisk, Gloria attended Oberlin College as part of an academic exchange program and was exposed to an educational setting that she perceived to be a better fit for her academic interests. Consequently she transferred from Fisk to Oberlin to complete her undergraduate degree.

Sudarkasa received her bachelor s degree in Anthropology and English ...

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Michele Valerie Ronnick

university president, register of the U.S. Treasury, and bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, began life in Lebanon, Missouri. He was the first of two children born to Margaret Hooker Vernon (d. 1931) and Adam Vernon (1835–1916), a former slave. His sister, Essie Jean Vernon Landor (1882–1935), born more than a decade later, was a late addition to the family. His father, Adam Vernon, was born in Tennessee and had been brought by his owner, James W. Vernon, to Laclede County, Missouri. After the Civil War, Adam Vernon settled in Lebanon and worked for the Wallace Brothers Mercantile Company, which had been established by the brothers W. I., J. C., and D. C. Wallace. Adam also worked at the private home of J. C. Wallace. William matriculated at the Lincoln Institute in Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1886 and graduated in 1890 After ...

Article

David Rego

psychologist, educator, government official, and university president, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the eldest son of William and Margaret Evelyn (Ferguson) Wright. Howard Emery Wright was among the first African Americans to receive a doctorate in psychology. His research interests were social psychology and attitudinal testing.

Wright attended elementary school in Washington, DC, where his father worked as a hotel waiter and his mother as a cook in a private home. In Washington Wright and his parents lived with his maternal grandparents Robert Ferguson, an insurance salesman, and Eleanor Ferguson, a laundry worker. Following the birth of Wright's sister Lydia, the family moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where his father worked as a railroad watchman. The Wrights purchased a home in Atlantic City, supplementing their income by taking in boarders.

Following graduation from Atlantic City High School, Wright enrolled at Pennsylvania's Lincoln University in 1929 ...