John Urschell Named Recipient of the 84th James E. Sullivan Award

April 11, 2014

John Urschell was named the recipient of the 84th James E. Sullivan Award, presented by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to America’s top amateur athlete.  Urschel was announced as the winner of the prestigious award during an awards ceremony at the AAU National Headquarters in Orlando, FL.  Urschel was selected from a pool of 19 semifinalists vying for the honor in 2014. First presented in 1930, the Sullivan Award honors an athlete who demonstrates the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship and the ideals of amateurism.

Ed Ruth Becomes First Three-Time NCAA Champ

March 22, 2014

Nittany Lion wrestler (184 lbs), Ed Ruth, becomes Penn State’s first three-time NCAA champ.  In the finals Ruth beat previously undefeated Maryland senior Jimmy Sheptock 7-2.  Ruth had a record of 136 wins to just 3 defeats in his 4 year career at Penn State.  The victory also helped lead the Nittany Lions to their fourth straight NCAA team championship.

Black Student Union Launches “WE ARE BLACK” Campaign

February 3, 2014

The Black Student Union, hoping to battle different stereotypes facing African Americans, launched the “WE ARE BLACK” campaign.  Secretary of BSU Chantelle Beachum said they painted the exposed skin of different volunteers with common stereotypes and photographed them for the campaign.  “We hope to combat these stereotypes by presenting them to the Penn State community and creating a more accurate, untold perception of African Americans that we all strive to be,” Beachum told the Daily Collegian.

James Franklin Hired as Head Football Coach

January 11, 2014

James Franklin hired as Penn State’s sixteenth head football coach, succeeding Bill O’Brien.  Franklin, 41, a native of Langhorne, Bucks County, had led Vanderbilt to three successful season prior to becoming Penn State’s first African American head football coach.

John Urschel Wins William V. Campbell Trophy

December 10, 2013

John Urschel, Nittany Lion offensive lineman, wins the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy, given to college football’s top scholar-athlete. Sometimes called the “Academic Heisman,” the award specifically recognizes “an individual as the absolute best in the country for his academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership,”
With the award, Urschel received $25,000 to go toward his post-graduate work. Urschel graduated in three years with a degree in math, later earned his master’s degree in math, and continued to work toward a second master’s in math education. The lineman plans to pursue a Ph.D. upon completion of his football career. Urschel was Penn State’s first recipient of the award.

Rhonda Bates Elected 2013 Homecoming Queen

October 12, 2013

Rhonda Bates is elected 2013 Homecoming Queen. Originally from Philadelphia, Rhonda was majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. She served as president of the Student Minority Advisory and Recruitment Team (SMART) and as co-director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Day of Service.  Rhonda became the second straight African American to be elected Homecoming Queen at Penn State, and the fifth overall to wear the crown.

Miles Chamley-Watson Wins Senior World Fencing Championship

August, 2013

Miles Chamley-Watson, (2013), made history by becoming the first man from the U.S. to win a Senior World Fencing Championship title.  The 2013 world championships were held in Budapest, Hungary.  Chamley-Watson had represented the U.S. during the 2012 Olympics, and was an All-American fencer at Penn State. 

Jalon Alexander Elected President of the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments

April 14, 2013

Jalon Alexander elected president of the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSC).  Alexander, a student in Letters, Arts, and Sciences had served as president of the Penn State Mount Alto Student Government Association, and was tapped in January 2013 to serve as the student representative on the University Presidential Search and Screen Committee.  Alexander would expectantly resign the CCSC presidency on January 27, 2014

Tracy Edouard Elected Homecoming Queen

October 5, 2012

Tracey Edouard, a senior – public relations and advertising major, is elected 2012 Homecoming Queen.  The Huntington, NY native becomes only the fourth African American woman to hold the crown.  A violinist and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society member, Edouard was involved in a wide range of campus activities including orchestra, a resident assistant, and head of the women’s volleyball student section

David Alston Bust Unveiled

April 21, 2012

A bust of alumnus David Alston was unveiled at the Nittany Lion Inn.  Penn State’s first African-American football player, Alston played on the 1941 freshman team, along with his younger brother, Harry. Alston died from complications following minor surgery on Aug. 15, 1942, six weeks before the varsity season began.  The bust, sculpted and donated by Penn State Professor of Art Blake Ketchum, is on displayed at the Penn State All-Sports Museum

State College Historical Marker Dedicated at “Lincoln Hall”

April 20, 2012

A State College Historical Marker is dedicated at “Lincoln Hall,” the former boarding home for colored male students from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.  Lincoln Hall served as an unofficial colored dormitory and sanctuary for early African American Penn State students. The ceremony was held at the119 North Barnard Street location, and included two of the three surviving former Lincoln Hall residents, Clayton Wilson III ‘49 and Wally Triplett ‘49

State College Borough Council Renames Fraser Plaza to “Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza”

April 17, 2012

The State College Borough Council voted 5 to 2 in favor of renaming Fraser Plaza to “Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza”. Borough Council president Don Hahn expressed his full support, saying that the more diverse population of Penn State and State College were a reflection of King’s success.

Department of African and African American Studies renamed

March 16, 2012

Penn State’s Board of Trustees approved a name change and reorganization for the Department of African and African American Studies (AAAS) in the College of the Liberal Arts. The renamed Department of African American Studies reflects a focus on African American topics. The African Studies Program will be created as a separate entity.

The Southern African Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association is launched

December, 2011

The Southern Africa Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association was launched in Soweto, South Africa.  This is the first chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Shartaya Mollett announced as Penn State’s 2006 Homecoming Queen

October 20, 2006

Shartaya Mollett, a Pittsburgh resident and a human development and family studies major, becomes the third African American to hold the crown. 

Beverly McIver

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Guion S. Bluford

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Adam Taliaferro

Penn State freshman cornerback Adam Taliaferro (BS Lib 2005) was seriously injured in a nationally televised football game against Ohio State on September 23, 2000. Despite being told he might not walk again, within a year Taliaferro completed a determined and courageous recovery. Though he would never again play college football, on September 1, 2001, Taliaferro miraculously led the Nittany Lions onto the field to start a new season.

On November 8, 2011, Taliaferro won a seat on the Gloucester County (NJ) Board of Freeholders.


Edward N. Thompson, Penn State director of development for the Office of Educational Equity, dies

October 23, 2011

Edward N. Thompson, Penn State director of development for Office of Educational Equity, died from a heart attack while running the Tussey Mountainback Relay in Rothrock State Forest (PA). Thompson, 58, had bypass surgery 13 years earlier, but was a lifelong athlete.  The former president of the Forum on Black Affairs spent most of his Penn State career raising funds to allow more minorities, veterans and disabled students to attend the university. Thompson was a very proud member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

Roland Fryer is recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Genius Award

September 20, 2011

Roland Fryer (PhD Bus 2002), professor of economics, Harvard University, is named as a recipient of the 2011 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award.  MacArthur Fellows each receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over a five year period.  The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Fryer is an economist illuminating the causes and consequences of economic disparity due to race and inequality in American society. Through innovative empirical and theoretical investigations, Fryer has opened up a range of topics to quantitative analysis, offering new insights on such issues as the cognitive underpinnings of racial discrimination, labor market inequalities, and, in particular, the educational trajectory of minority children.  In January 2008, at age 30, he became the youngest African American to receive tenure at Harvard University.  He has been the recipient of a number of honors, including a Sloan Fellowship, the Calvó-Armengol International Prize, and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He was listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009.

Source: The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Photo courtesy of The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

2.8% of the faculty and 2.7% of the staff at Penn State are African American

September, 2011

2.8% (171) of the faculty and 2.7% (342) of the staff at Penn State are African American.

5,781 African American students enrolled at Penn State.

September, 2011

5,781 (6.0%) African American students are enrolled at Penn State.

New Black Student Union is established

August 15, 2011

A new Black Student Union, founded by Jasmine Rushum, was official established.  The primary goal of the organization is to promote unity among Black students.  “The organization will also work towards reducing a gap between students and careers by providing information on scholarships, encouraging further education and organizing student friendly events,” indicated Rushum.

Cary Fraser appointed president of the University of Belize

August 1, 2011

Cary Fraser, an associate professor of African and African American Studies and former interim director of the Africana Research Center, was appointed president of the University of Belize in Central America. 

Yvonne Carter Williams receives the Paul Robeson and Zora Neal Hurston Celebrated Elder Award

March 20, 2010

Yvonne Carter Williams (BA Lib 1953), longtime professor and administrator at The College of Wooster (OH), received the Paul Robeson and Zora Neal Hurston Celebrated Elder Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service in the Promotion of Black Studies. The award, which is presented annually by the National Council for Black Studies, recognized her contributions to the development and promotion of Africana Studies at The College of Wooster, DePauw University and the Great Lakes Colleges Association Black Studies Conference. On October 7, 2003 she was honored by being inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame. Carter was also a founding member of the Penn State chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority in 1953.

Black Caucus hosts the first annual Ashe Awards

December 6, 2009

The Black Caucus hosts the first annual Ashe Awards. Over 300 students packed the Paul Robeson Cultural Center’s Heritage Hall for the event.  Black Caucus vice president Travis Salters said the award show was named the Ashe Awards because of the word’s positive meaning,“in agreement with.”  Students were given the opportunity to vote for other students and organizations online. The categories ranged from fun nominations such as the Smooth Award, Classy Award and Fly Girl, to Service to the Community, Best Greek Program of the Semester, and Best Sorority and Best Fraternity. The idea for the awards originated from similar programs held at a few commonwealth campuses.

Helen Darling presented with the WNBA Community Assist Award

May 31, 2003

Helen Darling (BS H&HD 2001) was presented with the 2003 WNBA Community Assist Award in recognition for the passion that she demonstrated in serving her community.  Darling, a guard for the Cleveland Rockers and mother of infant triplets, had served as a national spokesperson for the March of Dimes, and touched many young lives in the Cleveland area through her numerous local school lectures and basketball clinics. 

Darrell Flood becomes the head coach of the cheerleading squad

July, 1994

Darrell Flood, assistant manager for the Office of Housing and Food Service Operations, is named as the first African American head coach of the University’s cheerleading squad.  Flood, a Little Rock, Arkansas native and Grambling State graduate, had been hired by the university in 1992.

Penn State NAACP Chapter Approved

July, 1987

The Penn State University NAACP college chapter charter was approved during the 78th annual NAACP convention.  This reestablished the organization that had been on campus, on and off, since 1948.  A formal presentation occurred on October 9, 1987 at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center.  Barton A. Fields (BA Lib 1954), NAACP Central Pennsylvania section director and Pennsylvania secretary of revenue, presented the charter. 
The first officers of the organization were: Seprinia Coleman, president, Yvette Dudley, vice-president,  Leslie Jones, secretary, Karl Romain, assistant vice-president, Wendy Washing, treasurer, and John Barnes, advisor.

Charles Janerette, Jr.

Charles Janerette, Jr., a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, became the first Negro to play against the all-white Alabama squad when the Penn State football team met the Crimson Tide in the inaugural Liberty Bowl, held in Philadelphia.  The Nittany Lions won the game 7-0. 

On October 26, 1984, Janerette was fatally shot by Philadelphia police, who accused him of attempting to steal a squad car.  Janerette, who had suffered from a mental illness for the twelve previous years, had played for four NFL teams in six seasons in the early 1960s. 

Barton A. Fields becomes Pennsylvania’s secretary of the Commonwealth

October, 1977

Philadelphia native Barton A. Fields (BA Lib 1954) graduated from Penn State University in 1954, then moved to Harrisburg to begin a career in state government. He started as the director of municipal pension and fire relief audits in the Department of the Auditor General in 1957 and rose to deputy secretary of the Department of State in 1971. Governor Milton Shapp appointed him secretary of the Commonwealth six years later, and Fields was reappointed by Governor Richard Thornburgh in 1979.

In 1987,  Fields was appointed as secretary of revenue by Governor Robert Casey, while serving as chairman of the Commission on Charitable Organizations.  Fields has served as president and board chairman of the Harristown Development Corporation and president of the NAACP’s Greater Harrisburg Branch.  In the latter capacity he helped to re-launch and charter the Penn State chapter of the NAACP in 1987.  While a student at Penn State, Fields was a founding member and a major driving force behind the chartering of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity on campus in 1952.

Source: Harrisburg Living Legacy

Charles Janerette, Jr.

Charles Janerette, Jr., a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, became the first Negro to play against the all-white Alabama squad when the Penn State football team met the Crimson Tide in the inaugural Liberty Bowl, held in Philadelphia.  The Nittany Lions won the game 7-0. 

On October 26, 1984, Janerette was fatally shot by Philadelphia police, who accused him of attempting to steal a squad car.  Janerette, who had suffered from a mental illness for the twelve previous years, had played for four NFL teams in six seasons in the early 1960s. 

Robert Beale earns a PhD in Chemistry from Penn State

May, 1942

Robert Beale earned a PhD in Chemistry from Penn State and would serve as a teacher and administrator at eleven different colleges during his career – including North Carolina A&T, the University of Maryland and Virginia Union. Beale retired in 1986.  In 1990, Beale returned to teaching in the Prince George’s County School District (MD) upon hearing there was a shortage of black male teachers at their facilities.

Diversity in Aquatics Program founded by alums Shaun Anderson and Jayson Jackson

April, 2008

Prompted by concerns about the global rate of drowning and the racial disparities found within the drowning statistics, the Diversity in Aquatics Program (DAP) was founded by Shaun Anderson (BS H&HD 2001) and Jayson Jackson (BS Sci 1999), two former Penn State athletes.  DAP has created a number of events such as International Water Safety Day which encourages all children to learn to swim, and communicates both basic water safety and advanced aquatic activities. 

Yvonne Carter

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John Amaechi

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Walnut Building marker dedicated

April 15, 2011

A Penn State Alumni Association Historical Marker was dedicated at the site of the former Walnut Building.  The Walnut Building had been the center of minority student social, cultural and political life at Penn State from the opening of the Black Cultural Center in 1971 until the Paul Robeson Cultural Center moved to its current expanded facility in 1999.

Talor Battle breaks all time scoring record

March, 2011

In leading Penn State to a Big Ten Conference Basketball Tournament upset win over Wisconsin, Talor Battle eclipsed Jesse Arnelle’s 56-year old school career scoring record.  Battle would end the night with a career total of 2,141 points.

Omega Psi Phi earns highest grade point average

April 4, 1933

Omega Psi Phi fraternity is reported as achieving the highest grade point average of any social fraternity or sorority at Penn State during the 1932 fall semester.

John Settle

Retired veterinarian Dr. John Settle attended Penn State from 1957-1961, graduating with a degree in Animal Husbandry. Settle grew up in Petersburg, VA on the campus of Virginia State University, where both his parents were faculty members.

Settle attended veterinary school at Tuskegee University (formerly the Tuskegee Institute). He taught at Tuskegee University and Virginia State University and then went into private practice.

Settle ran his own veterinary practice for more than 30 years and retired in 2005. He currently serves on Penn State’s Educational Equity Advisory Board.

William 'Rick' Collins

William “Rick” Collins graduated from Penn State in 1969. Collins, who grew up in Philadelphia, was the first in his family to attend a University. Collins was actively involved politically while on campus and eventually became President of the Frederick Douglass Association. He runs a counseling center for veterans in California.

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Glen C.Moore

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President Obama visits Penn State to discuss energy innovation

February 3, 2011

President Barack Obama visited the University Park campus to meet with Penn State faculty and researchers regarding the University’s role as the lead partner of an Energy Innovation Hub. He also delivered remarks at Recreation Hall on the importance of investing in innovation and clean energy to increase employment and grow the economy.  This was the president’s first trip to Penn State since he was elected in November 2008.

Kenneth C. Frazier

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Francis K. Achampong is appointed chancellor of Penn State Fayette

November 1, 2010

Francis K. Achampong was appointed permanent chancellor of Penn State Fayette, after serving as interim chancellor since March 22, 2010.

2.85% of the faculty and 2.68% of the staff at Penn State are African American

September, 2010

2.85% (171) of the faculty and 2.68% (342) of the staff at Penn State were African American.

5.52% of students in the Penn State system are African American

September, 2010

The racial makeup of the 95,833 students in the Penn State system, including all campuses, special-mission colleges, and World Campus, was 78.71% White & unknown, 5.52% African American (5286), 4.14 % Asian American, 4.39% Hispanic/Latino, 0.13 % Native American, 5.44 % international students, and 1.62% two or more races. 

4,986 African American students are enrolled at Penn State

September, 2008

4,986 African American students are enrolled at Penn State (5.4 % of total enrollment).

Warren Washington is awarded the National Medal of Science

October 5, 2010

President Barack Obama named Warren Washington (Ph.D. EMS 1964) as one of 10 eminent researchers to be awarded the National Medal of Science. Washington received his award—the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists, engineers, and inventors—at a White House ceremony on November 17, 2010.

Washington is a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). He earned his Ph.D. from Penn State’s Department of Meteorology in 1964 and is a Penn State Alumni Fellow, a Distinguished Alumni, and the 2010 recipient of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Hosler Scholar Medal.

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Lance Collins is named dean of the College of Engineering at Cornell University

July 1, 2010

Lance Collins, a former professor of engineering at Penn State, was named dean of the college of engineering at Cornell University on July 1, 2010. Collins was Cornell’s first African American dean. During his more than 11 years at Penn State, Collins was noted for making a discovery in powder manufacturing that generated a new area of study and helped to refine climate models.

“Penn State University Pioneering African American Faculty & Staff” is released

February 26, 2010

The research document “Penn State University Pioneering African American Faculty & Staff (1956 – 1970)” was released on February 26, 2010. In conjunction with the Africana Research Center, and the Office of the Vice-Provost for Educational Equity, researcher Tiffanie Lewis (B.A. Com, B.A. Lib 2004) identifies and highlights the achievements of the earliest Black faculty and staff members at the University Park campus. 

Anthony T. Leach is named Penn State laureate

April 27, 2009

Anthony T. Leach, associate professor of music and music education in the College of Arts and Architecture, was named the University’s second Penn State laureate. His yearlong duties included raising awareness of the arts and enriching the public’s cultural experience. Leach, a tenor vocalist, pianist and music educator, is best known as the founder and conductor of the Essence of Joy choir.

Courtney Brown and LaVar Arrington are drafted by the NFL

April 15, 2000

Teammates Courtney Brown and LaVar Arrington were selected as the first two players in the 2000 National Football League (NFL) draft, making them the only Penn State players to be drafted number one and two in the same year. Brown was picked by the Cleveland Browns, while Arrington was selected by the Washington Redskins.

Alisia “Lisa” Salters joins ESPN as a general assignment reporter

March, 2000

Alisia “Lisa” Salters became a general assignment reporter for ESPN in March 2000. One of ESPN’s most versatile reporters, Salters can be seen on the sidelines of NBA and major college football games. She is a featured correspondent for the ESPN news magazine E:60, a role which earned her a Gracie Award from the Association for Women in Radio in Television for best feature in 2009. In 2008, she was nominated for a Sports Emmy Award for the story “Ray of Hope”.

Salters’ reports have been regularly featured on ESPN’s award-winning series, “Outside the Lines.” She led the network’s comprehensive coverage of the murder trial of Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver Rae Carruth from December 2000 through January 2001. During the build-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom through the commencement of the war, Salters covered sports-related stories in and around the U.S. Central Command in Qatar for Outside the Lines, SportsCenter, and ESPNEWS.

Prior to joining the ESPN team, Salters worked for ABC News as a bureau correspondent out of Los Angeles beginning in the spring of 1997.  While at ABC, she provided news coverage for World News Tonight and other ABC News telecasts on such stories as the Oklahoma City bombing trials, the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and the crash of TWA flight 800. 

A native of King of Prussia, PA, Salters graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and played for the women’s basketball team. In the early days of her career, Salters served as a general assignment reporter for WBAL-TV in Baltimore.

*Information courtesy of espnmediazone3.com

*Photo courtesy of espnmediazone3.com

Charles Townes earns a Ph.D. in physics from Penn State

May, 1942

Charles Townes, from Petersburg, VA, earned a Ph.D. in physics from Penn State. He had also earned a M.S. in physics from the University in 1938.

Ralph Brock

Ralph Brock was admitted to the Pennsylvania State Forest Academy in 1903 (now Penn State Mont Alto). Brock was the only colored student to graduate in the class of six students in 1906 and became the first colored forester in the nation. In 2003 the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission dedicated a formal marker to Brock at the entrance to the Penn State Mont Alto campus.


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Eugene Harris

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Francis K. Achampong is appointed interim chancellor of Penn State Fayette

March 22, 2010

Francis K. Achampong, director of academic affairs for the Mount Alto Campus, was appointed interim chancellor of Penn State Fayette on March 22, 2010, shortly after the unexpected death of Emanuel Osagie.

Kenneth C. Frazier

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Penn State is ranked 7th in African American student graduation rates

April, 2008

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education ranked Penn State seventh in African American student graduation rates among top state universities. Penn State’s 68% graduation rate was also significantly above the 44% national average of all colleges and universities

Emmanuel I. Osagie

Emmanuel I. Osagie, chancellor of Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, died unexpectedly from complications due to an illness on March 9, 2010. He was 58 years old. Osagie, a native of Nigeria, became chancellor of Penn State Fayette in February 2007.

African American Alumni Organization Scholarship Fund is established

August, 2003

The African American Alumni Organization Scholarship Fund was established in 2003. A major push by the 2008 and 2010 Black Alumni Reunions broadened the support.

Curtiss E. Porter

Curtiss E. Porter became chancellor at Penn State Greater Allegheny campus on June 24, 1999. He followed the retirement of Joanne E. Burley.

Beverly Lindsay

Beverly Lindsay was appointed Dean of the University Office of International Programs in 1997. The office serves as a catalyst to encourage Penn State to enhance its commitment to internationalization.  Lindsay served in the role until 2002.

Joanne E. Burley

Joanne E. Burley assumed the position of campus executive (chancellor) for Penn State McKeesport (now Penn State Greater Allegheny) on July 1, 1992. She became the first African American to lead a Penn State commonwealth campus. 

Pittsburgh newspapers report on African American student enrollment at Penn State

February 13, 1983

The Pittsburgh Press ran a “special report” that heavily criticized Penn State for its low number of African American students (2.5%) and faculty (1.2%). On February 25 1983, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette printed a similar report. Both papers, which were jointly operated, cited that the number of Blacks at Penn State had shown little gain over the previous ten year period. A March 1st editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette concluded that Penn State “cannot be considered a truly first-class university until it overcomes this shortcoming.”

Frederick E. Douglass Association

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Emmanuel I. Osagie

Emmanuel I. Osagie, chancellor of Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, died unexpectedly from complications due to an illness on March 9, 2010. He was 58 years old. Osagie, a native of Nigeria, became chancellor of Penn State Fayette in February 2007.

Jim Caldwell

Jim Caldwell, former Penn State assistant football coach, led the Indianapolis Colts into Super Bowl XLIV during his first year as head coach in 2010. Caldwell, Penn State assistant from 1986 - 1992, became only the fourth African American head coach in Super Bowl history. Despite an impressive 14 - 2 regular season, the Colts fell to the New Orleans Saints in the game.

James E. Walker

Southern Illinois University named James E. Walker (1972 graduate of Penn State and president of Middle Tennessee State University since 1991), as its new president on October 1, 2000. Walker, the first African American to serve as president of the two-campus, 35,000-student Southern Illinois University system, died in February 2006 after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Walnut Building is demolished

July, 2000

The Walnut Building was the powerful center of minority student social, academic, cultural, and political life at Penn State from the opening of the Black Cultural Center in 1971 until the Paul Robeson Cultural Center moved to its current expanded facility in 1999.

The former USO surplus building on an Army base in Lebanon, Pa, was transferred piece-by-piece in the fall of 1947 to the Shortlidge Road site at the University Park campus. The building later served as the Temporary Union Building, affectionately known as the TUB, for Penn State students in the 1940s and ‘50s. When the Hetzel Union Building (HUB), opened in 1955, it was renamed the Walnut Building and was used by the Division of Student Affairs and then the Department of Anthropology before becoming home to the student run Black Cultural Center (1971) and later the Paul Robeson Cultural Center (1972).

The building underwent makeovers in 1974 and 1986, including construction of a small art gallery, a library, conference room, and meeting spaces. One constant was the auditorium, a multi-function space, where the center sponsored speakers, dances, performances, meetings and receptions, such as one for Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Alex Haley, Nikki Giovanni, Julian Bond, Jessie Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire and many others. The building hosted over 500 events a year during the 1980s and 1990s.

The Walnut Building was demolished in the summer of 2000 to make way for the current Chemistry Building.

Barbara Toomer

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Charles T. Davis

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Julie Cromitie

Julie Cromitie, a secondary education major from Philadelphia, was elected as the first Negro president for the Association of Women Students (AWS) in 1964. The AWS was the coordinating body for cultural, social, and educational activities for women at Penn State.

Cromitie, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, also became the first Negro selected as a Miss Penn State finalist later that same year. Judged on the basis of their activities, appearance, grades, personality, and poise, five finalists were chosen from among 38 entries.

In 1965, Cromitie was named recipient of the Ralph Dorn Hetzel Memorial Award, the most prestigious student award given by the university. Cromitie was the first Negro student to be honored with the award. Established in 1949, and named for Penn State’s tenth president, the Hetzel Award recognizes a combination of high scholastic attainment together with good citizenship and participation and leadership in student activities.


Charles T. Davis

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Roger Kenton Williams

Roger Kenton Williams earned a PhD in psychology from Penn State in 1946. Williams, a native of Harrisburg and a magna cum laude graduate in sociology from Claflin College in South Carolina, went on to become vice president of academic affairs at Morgan State University. Williams was also an accomplished pianist.

Betty Love Gibbs

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Dave Alston

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Blannie Bowen

Blannie Bowen is named Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Bowen assumed the post on July 1, 2004.  He had previously served as the head of the University’s Department of Agricultural and Extension Education in the College of Agricultural Sciences from 1998 to 2004.

Roy L. Austin

Roy L. Austin is sworn in as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.  Prior to his August 31, 2001 nomination, Ambassador Austin was an associate professor of sociology, justice, and African American studies at Penn State. From 1994 to 1998, he served as Director of the Crime, Law, and Justice Program, and in July 2001 became Director of the Penn State Africana Research Center.

Cynthia Baldwin

Cynthia Baldwin received her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in American literature from Penn State, and she earned her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law. At Duquesne she was a member of the law review and is now a board member emerita.

Baldwin served as the first African American president of the Penn State Alumni Association from 1989 to 1991. She was named a distinguished alumna of the University in 1995 and alumni fellow in 2000.

A 1995 gubernatorial appointee to the Penn State Board of Trustees, Baldwin was elected the first African American female chair of the board in January 2004 and served in that capacity until January 2007.

Baldwin was nominated by Governor Rendell to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2005 and retired from the position in 2008.

Baldwin has also been associated with several law firms and served as attorney-in-charge in the Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Office of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Allegheny Bar Association, Homer S. Brown Law Association, and the Women’s Bar Association.

In January 2010, Baldwin was appointed to serve as vice president and general counsel of Penn State University. She is the wife of Arthur L. Baldwin and the mother of two adult children.

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Blondell Reynolds Brown

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Mahogany Magazine unveiled in the Paul Robeson Cultural Center

November, 1987

Mahogany Magazine, a publication designed by the Black Caucus Communications Committee, is formally unveiled by Essence magazine editor-in-chief, Susan L. Taylor, to 200 people at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center.  The magazine was initiated by editor-in-chief, Roceania Williams, a senior marketing major and a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Black Student Coalition Against Racism

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Black Student Coalition Against Racism

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The Black Student Union articulates their grievances at halftime of a Penn State football game

November 1, 1969

The Black Student Union articulated their demands and grievances at halftime of a Penn State football game. “Since we cannot reach you at any other place, we find it necessary to come to a football game to ask you to think as members of an academic community. We wish to express an analysis of our situation, and we ask you to join us in these thoughts,” stated the group spokesperson.  At the end of the 8 minute speech the Blacks marched off the field single file, with fists held high.

Louis A. Ivey

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Frederick E. Douglass Association

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Emmett Smith, Jr.

Emmett Smith, Jr. suited up as the first known Black member of the Penn State Marching Blue Band. From Pittsburgh, Smith, was selected as a tuba player, and would perform with the band for two years.  Andrew Jackson would follow in 1970 on the Bass Drum and Silks.  Both were members of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

Grace Hampton

Grace Hampton was appointed University vice-provost. She was the first African American female to hold the position. Before her appointment, Hampton served as director of the University’s visual arts program. Hampton previously served as assistant director of the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., from 1983 to 1985.

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Eugene Richardson

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Robert H. Davage

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Frederick E. Douglass Association

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Marie Dutton Brown

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Frederick B. Phillips

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Darryl Daisey

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Cynthia Baldwin

Cynthia Baldwin received her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in American literature from Penn State, and she earned her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law. At Duquesne she was a member of the law review and is now a board member emerita.

Baldwin served as the first African American president of the Penn State Alumni Association from 1989 to 1991. She was named a distinguished alumna of the University in 1995 and alumni fellow in 2000.

A 1995 gubernatorial appointee to the Penn State Board of Trustees, Baldwin was elected the first African American female chair of the board in January 2004 and served in that capacity until January 2007.

Baldwin was nominated by Governor Rendell to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2005 and retired from the position in 2008.

Baldwin has also been associated with several law firms and served as attorney-in-charge in the Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Office of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Allegheny Bar Association, Homer S. Brown Law Association, and the Women’s Bar Association.

In January 2010, Baldwin was appointed to serve as vice president and general counsel of Penn State University. She is the wife of Arthur L. Baldwin and the mother of two adult children.

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Cynthia Baldwin

Cynthia Baldwin received her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in American literature from Penn State, and she earned her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law. At Duquesne she was a member of the law review and is now a board member emerita.

Baldwin served as the first African American president of the Penn State Alumni Association from 1989 to 1991. She was named a distinguished alumna of the University in 1995 and alumni fellow in 2000.

A 1995 gubernatorial appointee to the Penn State Board of Trustees, Baldwin was elected the first African American female chair of the board in January 2004 and served in that capacity until January 2007.

Baldwin was nominated by Governor Rendell to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2005 and retired from the position in 2008.

Baldwin has also been associated with several law firms and served as attorney-in-charge in the Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Office of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Allegheny Bar Association, Homer S. Brown Law Association, and the Women’s Bar Association.

In January 2010, Baldwin was appointed to serve as vice president and general counsel of Penn State University. She is the wife of Arthur L. Baldwin and the mother of two adult children.

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Cynthia Baldwin

Cynthia Baldwin received her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in American literature from Penn State, and she earned her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law. At Duquesne she was a member of the law review and is now a board member emerita.

Baldwin served as the first African American president of the Penn State Alumni Association from 1989 to 1991. She was named a distinguished alumna of the University in 1995 and alumni fellow in 2000.

A 1995 gubernatorial appointee to the Penn State Board of Trustees, Baldwin was elected the first African American female chair of the board in January 2004 and served in that capacity until January 2007.

Baldwin was nominated by Governor Rendell to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2005 and retired from the position in 2008.

Baldwin has also been associated with several law firms and served as attorney-in-charge in the Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Office of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Allegheny Bar Association, Homer S. Brown Law Association, and the Women’s Bar Association.

In January 2010, Baldwin was appointed to serve as vice president and general counsel of Penn State University. She is the wife of Arthur L. Baldwin and the mother of two adult children.

imagesimages

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Cynthia Baldwin

Cynthia Baldwin received her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in American literature from Penn State, and she earned her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law. At Duquesne she was a member of the law review and is now a board member emerita.

Baldwin served as the first African American president of the Penn State Alumni Association from 1989 to 1991. She was named a distinguished alumna of the University in 1995 and alumni fellow in 2000.

A 1995 gubernatorial appointee to the Penn State Board of Trustees, Baldwin was elected the first African American female chair of the board in January 2004 and served in that capacity until January 2007.

Baldwin was nominated by Governor Rendell to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2005 and retired from the position in 2008.

Baldwin has also been associated with several law firms and served as attorney-in-charge in the Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Office of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Allegheny Bar Association, Homer S. Brown Law Association, and the Women’s Bar Association.

In January 2010, Baldwin was appointed to serve as vice president and general counsel of Penn State University. She is the wife of Arthur L. Baldwin and the mother of two adult children.

imagesimages

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