Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Black Milestones in Higher Education: Scarlet Knight Edition

November 28th, 2008 by Ajuan Mance

History and Overview: Rutgers University is the 8th oldest college or university in the United States. First chartered in 1766 as Queens College, Rutgers began offering class in 1771, at its campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey. One of only 9 U.S. colleges and universities established before the American Revolution, Rutgers is one of only two of these institutions to eventually become public (the other is the College of William and Mary). Rutgers graduated its first African American student in 1892.

This fall, Rutgers enrolled 26,966 undergraduates at it’s flagship campus in New Brunswick. Of those students, 2,333 or 9% are African American (1,396 Black women and 937 Black men).

Black Milestones at Rutgers University:

  • 1892 — James Dickson Carr becomes the first African American to graduate from Rutgers University. A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, Carr would go on to complete his law degree at Columbia University in New York.
  • 1919 — Paul Robeson, the first African American football player at Rutgers, becomes the third African American to graduate from the University. He is class valedictorian.
  • 1938 — Julia Baxter Bates becomes the first African American to graduate from Douglass College, Rutgers University’s women-only residential campus.
  • 1943 — Dr. Walter Gilbert Alexander, II becomes the first African American to graduate from the Rutgers University College of Engineering.
  • 1968 — The Douglass College Black Students’ Congress is founded as the first African American women’s organization at Rutgers.
  • 1969 — Black students at Rutgers-Newark take over and occupy¬† Conklin Hall, a key administration building, for three days. This is done to protest the low numbers of Black faculty and students.
  • 1970 — The Africana Studies Department is founded at Rutgers-New Brunswick (the flagship campus).
  • 1975 — Dr. Leonard Bethel graduates with an Ed.D. from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. Dr. Bethel would go on to become the first African American faculty member to advance to tenure from the assistant professor level.
  • 1985 — The James Dickson Carr Scholarship Program is established at Rutgers.
  • 2000 — Rutger’s women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer becomes the first African American woman coach to achieve 600 career victories. Stringer is also the first coach in NCAA history to lead 4 different women’s teams to the NCAA Final Four. She is the third winningest coach in women’s basketball history.
  • 2002 — Dr. Samuel Dewitt Proctor becomes the first African American faculty member at Rutgers to have an endowed professorship named for him.

James Dickson Carr, Rutgers class of 1892

Posted by Ajuan MAnce


Posted in African Americans, Black History, Higher Education, Rutgers

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