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Charles Rosenberg

college president, activist for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). Born Mary Rice in Harrisonburg, Virginia, she was the acknowledged daughter of confederate general John R. Jones and Malinda Rice, who was hired as a servant in his household at the age of seventeen in 1873. There appears to have been some enduring affection between Jones and Rice. He acknowledged paternity of Mary and her brother William, and his first wife, Sarah, ill and often confined to bed, asked to see the children and gave them presents. Mary Rice was raised in part by John Rice, Malinda's brother, and his wife Dolly. She also spent time in Jones's household, and after Sarah Jones died in 1879 the general bought a house for Malinda and her children The immediate neighborhood was racially mixed ...

Article

Boyd Childress

white soldier, minister, educator, and administrator. Horace Bumstead was a pivotal figure in the education of African Americans at the turn of the twentieth century. Born in Boston to well-to-do parents, Bumstead was educated at Boston Latin School and Yale, from which he graduated in 1863. He was commissioned as a major during the Civil War and commanded black troops serving in the Richmond and Petersburg campaigns in 1864 and 1865. After the war Bumstead graduated from Andover (Massachusetts) Theological Seminary in 1870, studied in Europe, married in 1872, and served a Congregationalist church in Minneapolis. In 1875 he joined his Yale classmate Edmond Asa Ware at Atlanta University to teach natural science and Latin; he was named interim president in 1886 and president in 1888.

Bumstead an advocate of industrial instruction as well as of traditional higher education for blacks ...

Article

Lisa E. Rivo

anthropologist, educator, and college president, was born Johnnetta Betsch in Jacksonville, Florida, the second of three children to Mary Frances Lewis, an English teacher, and John Thomas Betsch Sr., an insurance executive. Johnnetta grew up in one of Florida's most prominent African American families; her great-grandfather, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, co-founded the Afro-American Life Insurance Company, Florida's first insurance company. An ambitious and civic-minded businessman, Lewis established several black institutions, including the colored branch of the public library, the Lincoln Golf and Country Club, and the seaside resort known as American Beach, the only beach allowing blacks in north Florida. Johnnetta's childhood was shaped by competing influences: her supportive family and community, and the racist attitudes and institutions of the Jim Crow South. Educated in segregated public and private schools, Johnnetta credits the influence of her teachers and her family friend Mary McLeod Bethune with encouraging her ...

Article

Rose C. Thevenin

college president and educator, was born in Augusta, Georgia, to Madison Jordan Collier and Frances (Tyler) Collier. He attended Georgia public schools and worked with his father as a brick mason. Graduating from Ware High School in 1887, he first found work as an apprentice at the Georgia Baptist Printing Office. In 1890 Collier enrolled at Atlanta University, where he met his lifelong friend and college roommate, James Weldon Johnson. Upon graduating from Atlanta University with honors in 1894, Collier was offered a summer teaching position at the Georgia State Industrial College. Instead, he accepted a position as principal and chair of ancient languages at Florida Baptist Academy. Rooted in the Baptist tradition, Florida Baptist was founded in 1892 by the Reverend Matthew Gilbert, the Reverend J. T. Brown, and Sarah Blocker in Jacksonville, Florida. By 1896 the academy s financial and administrative ...

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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 ...

Article

Melvin D. Kennedy

Crogman was born in Philipsburg on Saint Martin, Leeward Islands, on May 5, 1841. Little is known of his first few years except that he was never a slave. He was orphaned at twelve and shortly thereafter was befriended by B. L. Boomer, of a New England shipowning family. Boomer took young Crogman to his home in Middleboro, Massachusetts. In 1855, at the age of fourteen, Crogman began an eleven-year career at sea on one of the Boomer ships. During this period he visited many ports in Europe, India, and South America. These experiences had a profound effect on the keenly observant young man.

With Boomer's encouragement Crogman began preparations in 1866 to secure an education Two years later he entered Pierce Academy in Middleboro He completed with distinction the four year course in English French and bookkeeping in half the time normally required His ...

Article

Twinette L. Ackerson

educator, activist, and lawyer, was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, one of five children. Francis's father, Joseph A. Francis, a barber who owned his own business, was known around town as “Mr. Joe the Barber.” Though his father and mother, a homemaker, provided the necessities for their children, they were considered poor for the times. In what could be considered a foreshadowing of Francis's lifelong career path, his parents believed strongly in the benefits and importance of education for their children. They expressed that belief by sending their children to Catholic schools and making sure they kept up with their studies.

Francis attended Saint Paul Catholic High School in Lafayette, Louisiana. He was the class president and valedictorian. After graduating from Saint Paul in 1948, Francis entered Xavier University of New Orleans. In 1952 he earned his BA degree from Xavier and enrolled in Loyola ...

Article

Russell W. Irvine

educator and emigrationist, was born in bucolic Rutland, Vermont. Freeman's life can be divided into two periods: his thirty-seven-year residence in America and his twenty-five-year stay in Liberia, Africa. In Rutland, he attended the predominantly white East Parish Congregational Church, whose pastor recognized Freeman's precocity and volunteered to prepare him for college. Freeman was accepted into Middlebury College and graduated class salutatorian in 1849. He taught briefly in Boston before accepting an invitation to join the faculty of the newly established Allegheny Institute and Mission Church (later Avery College) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1850. Freeman's appointment at the first state-chartered degree-granting institution for blacks distinguished him as the first college-educated black professor in America. In recognition of his advanced study in mathematics and natural philosophy, Middlebury College voted to award him an M.A. degree in 1852. In 1856 when Avery College s first white president ...

Article

Crystal A. deGregory

president of Morehouse College, was born in the small West Tennessee community of Brownsville, the eldest of four children born to John R. and Dora Gloster. Both parents were teachers by profession, and his father attended Roger Williams University, one of four Nashville colleges established for the education of freedmen after the Civil War. However, the family found life in Brownsville plagued by intolerable lynching and relocated to Memphis in 1915. While the age difference between Gloster and his siblings made his childhood experiences akin to that of an only child, his parents stressed the value of education for all their children. After studying at the Howe Institute, Gloster received a junior diploma from LeMoyne College (later LeMoyne-Owen College), also in Memphis. As had his older brothers, Gloster attended Morehouse College, where he received a BA in 1931 in English Two years later he was awarded an ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Cameroonian academic and politician, was born on 26 June 1943 in Buea, a town on the southwestern side of Mount Cameroon that was then under British control. Her father was a postal worker who had married four wives. Njeuma’s mother was a teacher who impressed upon her daughter the importance of education. She had ten brothers and sisters. Since there were no secondary schools for girls in her home region, Njeuma moved to Nigeria to study. She graduated from the Queen’s School in Enugu, Nigeria. Fortunately for Njeuma, she won a scholarship to study at Pembroke College in the United States in 1962, which later merged with Brown University. She excelled at tennis, and became the captain of the Pembroke tennis team in 1965 After Njeuma graduated she continued to follow her tennis career and played on the Cameroonian national women s tennis team in the 1970s However ...

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

Donna Tyler Hollie

educator, was born in Washington, D.C., the youngest of six children of William Ross Patterson and Mamie Brooks Patterson, educators. Like countless other African Americans, the couple had migrated North in search of an improved educational, cultural, social, and racial climate for their children. Patterson's birthplace was within three blocks of the home of Frederick Douglass, for whom he was named. Patterson was only two when his parents died of tuberculosis. In a detailed will, each child was assigned to a relative or family friend. Although the will stipulated that Patterson was to be raised by “Aunt” Julia Dorsey, he was moved several times and ultimately his oldest sister, Wilhemina assumed responsibility for him From her meager earnings as a schoolteacher she financed his tuition and room and board at the elementary school operated by what is now Huston Tillotson College in Austin Texas In ...

Article

Sholomo B. Levy

minister, educator, and humanitarian, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of Hughes Proctor, who worked at the Norfolk Navy Yard, and Velma Gladys. His parents had met as students at Norfolk Mission College, the same college attended by Velma's parents; Hughes's mother had attended Hampton Institute during Reconstruction. It was unusual for a black family to have such educated parents and grandparents so soon after slavery, and Samuel and his six siblings were raised to believe that educational attainment was natural and expected. Music and religious devotion also helped shape Samuel's childhood. His father played the violin, he played the clarinet, and the other children were each encouraged to learn an instrument. They entertained themselves at home, and they all sang in the choir of the Baptist church founded by his great-grandfather Zechariah Hughes.

As a boy Samuel shined shoes at local barbershops one ...

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Crystal Renée Sanders

college administrator, educator, and clinical psychologist, was born Beverly Daniel in Tallahassee, Florida, to Robert Daniel, who taught art at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and Catherine Maxwell Daniel. Raised in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Tatum is a fourth-generation college professor following in the footsteps of her paternal great-grandfather William Hazel, who was the first dean of Howard University's school of architecture; her paternal grandparents Victor and Constance Daniel, who led Maryland's Cardinal Gibbons Institute; and her father. Tatum earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Wesleyan University in 1975, graduating magna cum laude. She also received a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Michigan in 1976 and 1984, respectively. In 2000 Tatum earned a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary. While at the University of Michigan, she married Travis James Tatum ...

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Adriel A. Hilton

educator, was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Adelia Leonard Smith, an elementary school teacher, and Frank David Smith. Wheelan graduated from St. Gerard Catholic High School of San Antonio, Texas, in 1968. In 1968 Wheelan entered Trinity University of San Antonio, Texas, and graduated in 1972 with a double major in psychology and sociology. She became the first African American at Trinity to be included in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. It was to be the first of many milestones in a career that covered more than three decades. She went on to study at Louisiana State University and received a Master of Arts degree in Developmental/Educational Psychology in 1974. That same year, Wheelan became an associate professor at Alamo Community College District at San Antonio College. Recognizing the importance of advanced education, she left that position in 1984 to enroll in ...