Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Timeline: Black Firsts in Higher Education

November 5th, 2009 by Ajuan Mance

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1729 Anton Wilhelm Amo graduates from the University of Halle Germany (Law). In 1730 Amo enrolls in Wittenberg University, where he receives a Doctor of Philosophy degree (1734).

1758 Francis Williams graduates from Cambridge University (UK), becoming the first known Black person in the Americas to graduate from college. Williams was born in 1702, in Kingston, Jamaica.

1795 John Chavis enrolls at Liberty Hall Academy in Virginia (now Washington and Lee University).

1823 Alexander Lucius Twilight becomes the first African American to graduate from Middlebury College.

1826 John Brown Russwurm becomes the first African American to graduate from Bowdoin  College.

1828 Theodore Sedgewick Wright becomes the first African American to graduate from Princeton University.

1828 John Newton Templeton becomes the first African American to graduate form Ohio University.

1838 Andrew Harris becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Vermont.

1844 George Boyer Vashon becomes the first African American to graduate from Oberlin College. Vashon was the valedictorian of his graduating class, and he delivered the commencement address for that year.

1857 Dr. Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Creed becomes the first African American to graduate from Yale Medical School.

1862 Mary Jane Patterson becomes the first African American woman to earn a bachelor’s degree (B.A., Oberlin College).

1864 Rebecca Lee Crumpler becomes the first African American woman to earn an M.D. degree (New England Female Medical College).

1866 Edward Breathitte Sellers becomes the first African American to graduate from Wheaton College (Illinois).

1869 George Lewis Ruffin becomes the first African American to graduate from Harvard Law School.

1869 Robert Freeman Tanner becomes the first African American to earn a dental degree (Harvard University). In the same year, Howard University Law School becomes the United States’ first Black law school.

1870 Susan McKinney Steward graduates  as class valedictorian from the New York Medical College for Women, becoming the first Black woman in the state to earn a medical degree.

1870 Richard Theodore Greener becomes the first African American to earn a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.

1870 Gabriel F. Hargo becomes the first African American student to graduate from the University of Michigan. Hargo studied law and was a sargeant at arms in the Lincoln Debating Society. He earned a bachelor’s degree.

1872 William Henry Fitzbutler becomes the first African American to graduate from the U of M Medical School.

1874 Edward Alexander Bouchet becomes the first African American to receive a Bachelors Degree from Yale University. He ranks 6th in a class of 124 students.

1877 Inman Page and George Washington Milford become the first African Americans to earn bachelor’s degrees from Brown University.

1879 G. Alexander Clark becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Iowa Law School.

1880 Mary Henrietta Graham becomes the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Michigan (Bachelor’s of Philosophy, Literature).

1882 Nathan Francis Mossell becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

1882 Andrew Hilyer becomes the first African American student to graduate from the University of Minnesota.

1883 Hortense Parker becomes the first African American to graduate from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. In 1898 Martha Ralston would become the first African American to graduate from the newly reconfigured Mount Holyoke College.  Writes education historian Linda Perkins, (“the race of both Ralston and Parker was a surprise to the officials of the college when they first arrived”

1885 Blanche K. Bruce becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Kansas. Note: this is Blanche K(etene) Bruce, not to be confused with Blanche K(elso) Bruce, the former slave who went on to become the first Afircan American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate.

1885 Lizzie Ann Smith becomes the first African American student to enroll at the University of Kansas.

1887 Harriet Alleyne Rice becomes the first African American to graduate from Wellesley College.

1890 Ida Gray graduates from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, and in so doing becomes the United States’ first Black woman dental school graduate.

1891 John Wesley Gilbert becomes the first African American to receive a graduate degree from Brown University (M.A.).

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.

1892 Sherman Handlin becomes the first African American to graduate from Ohio State University (B.A., Liberal Arts).

1893 William Hunter Dammond becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh (civil engineering with honors).

1893 William Frederick Ebert becomes the first African American to graduate from Starling Loving Medical College, the predecessor to the OSU School of Medicine.

1893 William Hunter Dammond becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh (civil engineering with honors).

1895 Ernest Houston Johnson becomes the first African American graduate of Stanford University (bachelor’s in Economics).

1895 Marcellus Neal becomes the first African American student to graduate from Indiana University (B.A. in Mathematics).

1895 Marcellus Neal becomes the first African American to graduate from Indiana University (bachelor’s in Math).

1896 W.E.B. DuBois becomes the first African American to earn a PhD from Harvard University (History).

1897 Augustus Nathaniel Lushington becomes the first African American to earn a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M., University of Pennsylvania).

1897 Anita Florence Hemmings becomes the first African American to graduate from Vassar College. While she was enrolled, however, Vassar officials were unaware that she was Black.

1898 Martha Ralston becomes the first African American to graduate from Mount Holyoke College (formerly Mount Holyoke Female Seminary).

1898 Alberta Scott becomes the first African American woman to graduate from Radcliffe College.

1899 Mary Annette Anderson graduates from Middlebury College. The valedictorian of her class, Anderson is also the first African American woman elected to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

1900 Otelia Cromwell becomes the first African American woman to graduate from Smith College. She would go on to earn a master’s degree from Columbia University (1910) and a Ph.D. from Yale (English).

1900 William Walter Smith becomes the first African American student to graduate from the U of I (bachelor’s in Literature and Arts). He would go on to earn two more degrees from Illinois, a second bachelor’s degree in 1907 (B.S. in Civil Engineering), and a master’s in Civil Engineering in 1913.

1904 In October of this year, Mary McLeod Bethune founds the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls. Eventually this institution would merge with the Cookman Institute for Men to become Bethune-Cookman College.

1904 William O. Thompson becomes the first African American graduate of Michigan Agricultural College (which would later become Michigan State University).

1905 Jessie Redmon Fauset becomes the second Black woman elected to Phi Beta Kappa and the first Black woman to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University.

1905 Jessie Frances Stevens becomes the first African American to graduate from Ohio State University (B.A.).

1906 Maudelle Tanner Brown becomes the first African American woman to graduate from the U of I, taking only 3 years to earn a bachelor’s in Mathematics, with honors.

1907 Myrtle Craig becomes the first African American woman to graduate from Michigan Agricultural College (which would later become Michigan State University).

1910 Jean Hamilton Walls becomes the first African American woman to earn a bachelor’s degree at the University of Pittsburg (mathematics and physics).

1911 Solomon and John Williamson become the first African Americans to graduate from Kalamazoo college in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies, the brothers enrolled and graduated together.

1916 Martha Jane Hunley Blackburn becomes the first African American woman to graduate from Ohio University.

1916 St. Elmo Brady becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry (University of Illinois).

1916 Brown University football stand out Frederick D. “Fritz” Pollard becomes the first African American to play in the Rose Bowl.

1919 Charles Hamilton Houston becomes the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review.

1919 Frances Elizabeth Marshall becomes the first African American woman to graduate from Indiana University (B.A. in English).

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.

1921 Three Black female scholars become the first African American women to earn Ph.D.s. They are Georgiana Simpson (German Language and Literature, University of Chicago), Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander (Economics, University of Pennsylvania), and Eva Beatrice Dykes (English Philology, Radcliffe College).

1922 Council of Negro College Women is founded to foster intellectual growth and camaraderie, and to build a support and friendship network among Black women at the University of Pittsburgh.

1925 Elbert Frank Cox becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics (Cornell University).

1925 Anna Julia Cooper becomes the fourth African American woman to earn a Ph.D. (Sorbonne).

1925 Aletha Hebron Washington becomes the first African American woman to earn a Master’s degree at Ohio State University (M.A.).

1926 Otelia Cromwell becomes the first African American woman to earn Ph.D. from Yale (English).

1930 Jean Hamilton Walls becomes the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh. Her dissertation is titled, A Study of Seventy-Eight Negro Graduates of the University of Pittsburgh from 1920-1936).

1931 Dorothy Porter Wesley becomes the first African American to earn a library degree from Columbia University (BLS). She would go on to earn a Master’s degree in the same department, in 1932.

1931 Jane Bolin becomes the first African American woman to receive a law degree from Yale.

1931 Enid Cook becomes the first African American to graduate from Bryn Mawr College.

1931 Belle Tobias becomes the first Black graduate of Barnard College. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate, Tobias would go on to earn a master’s degree from Wellesley College in 1932.

1932 Samuel M. Nabrit becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. at Brown University (Biology).

1932 Frederick Douglass Patterson completes his doctorate at Cornell, becoming the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in bacteriology.

1933 Ruth Ella Moore becomes OSU’s (and the United States’) first African American to earn a Ph.D. and the United States’ first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Bacteriology.

1934 Walter R. Talbot completes his doctorate and becomes the 4th Black person in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics.

1935 Jessie Jarue Mark becomes the first African American (male or female) to earn a Ph.D. in Botany (Iowa State University).

1936 Flemmie Pansy Kittrell completes her doctorate at Cornell, becoming the first African American in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in nutrition.

1936 John Woodruff, an African American runner on the University of Pittsburgh rack tream, wins a gold medal in the 800-meter run at the Berlin Olympic Games.

1936 Beverly Greene becomes the first African American woman to receive a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Illinois Schoool of Architecture. She would go on to receive a master’s degree in City Planning from the U of I.

1937 Clara Belle Williams becomes the first African American  graduate of New Mexico State University (B.A., English).

1938 Jean Hamilton Walls becomes the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburg (dissertation title: A Study of Seventy-Eight Negro Graduates of the University of Pittsburgh from 1920-1936).

1938 Julia Baxter Bates becomes the first African American to graduate form Douglass College, Rugers University’s women-only residential college.

1938 Marguerite Thomas Williams becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Geology (The Catholic University of America).

1941 Walter Thomas Daniel becomes the first African American ever to earn a Ph.D. in Engineering (Iowa State University).

1941 Edward Vernon Williams becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Kansas Medical School.

1942 Marguerite Thomas Williams becomes the first Black person in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in Geology (The Catholic University of America).

1943 Euphemia Lofton Haynes becomes the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics (The Catholic University of America).

1943 Walker Gilbert Alexander, II becomes the first African American to graduate from the Rutgers University College of Engineering.

1947 Clotilde Dent Bowen becomes the first African American woman to graduate from OSU School of Medicine. She would go on to become the first Black female Physician in the U.S. Army and the first Black womanto attain the rank of Colonel.

1948 Lawrence Pierce becomes the first African American to graduate from St. Joseph’s University.

1950 Frederick I. Scott becomes the first African American to graduate from Johns Hopkins University.

1950 Juanita Jackson Mitchell becomes the first African-American graduate of the University of Maryland Law School.

1951 Hiram Whittle becomes the first Black undergraduate to enroll at the University of Maryland.

1952 Manet Fowler becomes the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from a U.S. university (Cornell).

1953 Jack Hodge becomes the first African American to earn a degree at West Virginia University.

1953 Walter Nathaniel Ridley becomes the first African American to earn a degree from the University of Virginia (Ed.D).

1953 A. P. Tureaud, Jr. enrolls in LSU under court order, becoming the first African American admitted to the school. The order is overturned by a higher court, however, and he is forced to withdraw. Eventually the U.S. Supreme Court would reverse the higher court’s ruling; but Tureaud, Jr. would choose to continue his studies at Xavier University, a historically Black institution.

1953 Leonard Williams becomes the University of Delaware’s first African American football player.

1954 John Reuben Steeler becomes the first African American to earn a doctorate from West Virginia University.

1954 Ernest Nathan “Dutch” Morial becomes the first African American to earn a law degree at LSU. Morial would go on to become the first African American mayor of New Orleans (1977).

1954 Andrew Jackson Foster becomes the first African American to earn an undergraduate degree from Galludet University.

1954 Ernest Morial becomes the first African Amercan to graduate from Louisana State University Law School.

955 Elizabeth Lipford Kent becomes the first African American nurse to earn a Ph.D. (University of Michigan).

1955 Elaine Johnson becomes the first Black woman to enroll in UM’s undergraduate programs.

1956 Emmett Bassett becomes the first African American to earn a doctorate in Dairy Technology (Ohio State University).

1956 Bobby Grier, Pitt Panthers football standout, becomes the first African American to play in the Sugar Bowl (Georgia Tech vs. University of Pittsburgh.

1958 Willie Hobbs Moore became the first Black woman to complete an undergraduate degree in Engineering at UM.

1958 Charlie L. Yates becomes the first African American to graduate from Virginia Tech (B.S., Mechanical Engineering).

1958 Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. becomes the first African American to earn a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago.

1959 Nancy Street becomes the first African American “Miss Indiana University.”

1960 Tom Atkins becomes the first African American student body president at Indiana University.

1961 Harvey Gantt becomes the first African American applicant admitted to Clemson University (in South Carolina). In 1965 Gantt would graduate with honors, having earned a bachelors degree in Architecture.

1962 James Meredith (pictured above) becomes the first African American student at the University of Mississippi.

1963 Verdelle Bellamy and Allie Saxon enroll in nursing school, becoming the first full-time African American students at Emory University. Later that same year, both women become Emory’s first African American graduates.

1964 Maxine Crump becomes the first Black student (male or female) to live in a Louisiana State University residence hall.

1964 Dr. Frederick S. Humphries becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.

1964 Arlene Bennett becomes the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

1964 Freya Anderson Rivers becomes the first Black woman to enroll in LSU as an undergraduate. Maxine Crump becomes the first Black student (male or female) to live in a Louisiana State University residence hall.

1965 On May 30th of this year Vivian Malone Jones becomes the first African American graduate of the University of Alabama.

1965 M. Lucia James joins the faculty of the University of Maryland College of Education. She was the University’s the first African American full professor.

1966 On June 3rd of this year, Maxwell Scarlett becomes the first African American student to graduate from the University of Texas at Arlington (B.S. in Biology).

1966 Merle James Smith becomes the first African American cadet to graduate from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT.

1967 Percy A. Pierre becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (The Johns Hopkins University).

1967 Reuben V. Anderson becomes the frist African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi Law School.

1967 Reuben Anderson becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

1967 Patty Burnette becomes the first African American woman to be voted “Miss MSU” by the undergraduates of Michigan State University.

1967 Daphne Maxwell Reid become Northwestern University’s first African American Homecoming Queen.

1967 Miriam DeCosta-Willis becomes the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University (Romance Languages).

1967 Reuben V. Anderson becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi Law School. He would go on to become the first African American justice on the Mississippi Supreme Court and the first Black president of the Mississippi Bar.

1967 The Black Action Society is founded at the University of Pittsburgh.

1968 Welsh S. White joins the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh Law School. White would go on to become the first African American to become a tenured professor of law at Pitt.

1968 The Douglass College Black Students’ Congress is founded as the first African American women’s organization at Rutgers.

1968 The University of Mississippi Black Student Union is founded. That same year Robert Walker becomes the first Black teaching assistant at Ole Miss, as well as the first Black student to receive a master’s degree from the University (history).

1969 Clarence A. Ellis completes the University of Illinois doctoral program in Computer Science and becomes the first African American in the history of the U.S. to receive a Ph.D. in that field.

1969 Edgar Lee Caples becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi School of Engineering.

1969 In January of this year, Dr. Blanche Martin, a graduate of the class of 1959, becomes the first African American member of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees.

1969 Raymond Johnson (B.A., Mathematics, University of Texas) becomes the first African American to earn a degree from Rice University (Ph.D., Mathematics).

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.

1969 Virginia Commonwealth University offers its first courses in African American Studies.

1970 Charles D. Forster becomes the first African American to graduate from The Citadel.

1970 Jim Elam is elected as the first African American president of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Student Government Association. Raymond Gavins becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia (History).

1970 Elaine Jones becomes the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Virginia’s Law School.

1970 Nathaniel Owens becomes the first African American to graduate from Sewanee, The University of the South. Owens graduated with honors in English. Drafted right out of college by the Cincinnati Bengals, Owens decided to forgo a professional football career, choosing instead to enroll in Sewanee’s law school.

1970 Kathryn Morgan becomes the first African American faculty member at Swarthmore College.

1970 The Africana Studies Department is founded at Rutgers-New Brunswick (the flagship campus).

1970 Leonard Bethel is hired to teach in Rutgers University’s newly established Africana Studies Department. In 1975 he would complete his Ed.D. at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. Dr. Bethel would go on to become the first African American faculty member at Rutgers to advance to tenure from the assistant professor level.

1970 African American students at the University of Mississippi create the Black Law Students’ Association. In the same year, the University establishes the Afro-American Studies Program; and Jeanette Jennings becomes the first Black faculty member at Ole Miss (Social Work).

1971 James Reed and Robert “Ben” Williams become the first African Americans to sign football scholarships with Ole Miss.

1972 Willie Hobbs Moore completes her Ph.D. in Physics at UM - Ann Arbor, becoming the first Black woman in the U.S. to earn a doctorate in that field. In 1958 Willie Hobbs Moore became the first Black woman to complete an undergraduate degree in Engineering at UM.

1972 Kerry Pourciau becomes the first African American to serve as student body president of LSU.

1972 Marian Wright Edelman becomes the first African American female elected to the Yale Corporation.

1973 Shirley Ann Jackson becomes the first African American female to receive a Ph.D. in MIT (theoretical solid state physics).

1973 Omega Psi Phi becomes the first Black fraternity at the University of Mississippi.

1974 Alpha Kappa Alpha becomes the first Black sorority at the University of Mississippi.

1975 Thom Gossom, Jr. becomes the first African American athlete to graduate from Auburn University.

1975 Ben Williams becomes the first African American elected by the student body as Colonel Rebel, the University of Mississippi’s highest elected award.

1976 Peggie Gillom becomes the University of Mississippi’s first Black female basketball player.

1976 Dr. Lucius Williams becomes the first African American administrator at the University of Mississippi (Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs).

1976 Eileen Southern becomes the first African American woman appointed full professor with tenure at Harvard University (Afro-American Studies and Music).

1976 Mary Frances Berry becomes the first African-American and first woman to serve as Chancellor of the University of Colorado.

1977 Renowned opera singer Camilla Williams joins the Indiana School of Music faculty and becomes the first Black professor hired to teach voice.

1978 Barbara Christian becomes the first Black woman to be granted tenure at the University of California, Berkeley.

1979 Henry Louis Gates, Jr. becomes the first African American to get a Ph.D. at Cambridge University (English).

1981 Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb is appointed to the presidency of the University of California, Fullerton, becoming the first African American female president of a major West Coast University.

1981 Mae Jemison graduates from Cornell Medical School. She would go on to become the first African American woman astronaut and the first Black woman in space.

1982 Dr. Grace Harris becomes the first African American Dean at Virginia Commonwealth University. She becomes dean of the School of Social Work, which had previously denied her admission on the basis of her race (in 1954).

1983 Dr. Marsha Williams becomes the first African American engineering professor at the University of Mississippi.

1982 John Hawkins becomes the first African American cheerleader at the University of Mississippi.

1983 Dr. Marsha Williams (Ph.D., Vanderbilt) becomes the first African American engineering professor at the University of Mississippi.

1985 The James Dickson Carr Scholarship Program is established at Rutgers. The program is named for the first African American to graduate from Rutgers.

1987 Nelson Townsend becomes the first African American to hold the post of Athletic Director at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

1990 Barack Obama becomes the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review.

1991 Renée Boutte becomes LSU’s first African American homecoming queen. Minority Services office is established (in 1993 it would become the Office of Multicultural Affairs).

1992 Derrick Bell leaves Harvard Law School to protest the institution failure to tenure a Black woman professor.

1993 Dr. Grace Harris becomes the first African American appointed to the position of Academic Provost at Virginia Commonwealth University.

1994 Nima Warfield becomes the first African American Rhodes scholar to graduate from a historically black college or university (Morehouse College).

1994 Dr. Louis Westerfield becomes the first African American dean at the University of Mississippi (Dean of the School of Law). In the same year, Dr. Erskine Smith is appointed the first Black department chair at the University (Home Economics, now called Family and Consumer Sciences).

1997 Carissa Alana Wells becomes the first African American “Miss University” at the University of Mississippi.

1998 Lani Guinier joins the faculty of Harvard Law School, and in so doing becomes the first tenured Black woman professor in its history.

1999 Andrew B. Williams becomes the first African American to graduate from KU with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering.

2000 Rutgers 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.

2001 Ruth Simmons becomes the first African American president of an Ivy League university.

2002 Toshika Hudson, Lesjanusar “Sha” Peterson, Geneive Hardney, Renee Hypolite, Natosha Mitchell, Jamey McCloud and Adrienne Watson become the first African American women to graduate from The Citadel as members of the Corps of Cadets.

2002 Daphne LaSalle becomes the first Black female Corps Commander for the LSU Corps of Cadets.

2002 Ebony Spikes becomes the first Black student to be awarded a Marshall Scholarship.

2002 Dr. Richard King becomes to first African American graduate of the Baylor University M.D./Ph.D. program (Neuroscience). King is also the recipient of the program’s first Richard R. Dickason, Jr. M.D./Ph.D. Outstanding Physician Scientist Award.

2002 Dr. Samuel Dewitt Proctor becomes the first African American faculty member at Rutgers to have an endowed professorship named for him.

2004 Dr. Brandy Rutledge becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Biostatistics from Virginia Commonwealth University.

2005 New Mexico State University names its English building Clara Belle Williams Hall, in honor of the University’s first African American graduate.

2006 Paulette McCrae becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Yale University.

2006 Natasha U. Francis becomes the first Black student to complete the LSU joint MBA/JD program.

2007 Karen Morris (pictured top left) becomes the first grandmother to graduate from Yale University Medical School.

2008 Inger Meredith Daniels becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Virginia.

2008 Evelyn Hammonds becomes the first African American and the first woman appointed to the post of Dean of Harvard College.

2008 The University of Pittsburgh annual Black History month is officially named the “University of Pittsburgh K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program,” in honor of the history-making Pitt alum and trustee emeritus. Irvis was the first African American to serve as speaker of any state legislature since Reconstruction.

2008 The United States Naval Academy (Annapolis, MD) dedicates the Wesley Brown fieldhouse, named for its first African American graduate, Retired Lt. Commander Wesley A. Brown, class of 1949.

2008 Emilie M. Townes becomes the first African American and the first woman appointed to serve as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Yale Divinity School. In the same year, Dr. Townes also becomes the first African American woman to serve as president of the American Academy of Religion.

2009 Rev. Brian K. Blount is inaugurated as the first African American president of Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education.

2009 Mary Hopkins before the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from Florida Atlantic University.

2009 Tom Williams becomes the first African American head college in the 137-year history of the Yale University football team, as well as the first African American college or university football connecticut in the history of the state of Connecticut.

2009 Phoebe Haddon becomes the first African American dean in the 185-year history of the University of Maryland Law School.

2009 Michelle Moody-Adams becomes the first Black woman appointed dean of Columbia College, Columbia University.

2009 Annette Gordon-Reed becomes the first Black American to win the Pulitzer Prize in History (for The Hemingses of Monticello). Reed is a professor at New York University Law School.

2009 Peter Blair Henry becomes the first Black American appointed dean of New York University’s Stern School of Business.

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