Black Milestones in Higher Education: Wellesley Blue Edition* April 14, 2008Posted by twilightandreason in Higher Education.
Tags: Black Enrollment, Black History, Black Students, Higher Education, History, race, Seven Sisters Colleges, Wellesley College
*Wellesley College does not have a mascot. Wellesley refers to its athletic teams as “the Blue.”
In honor of primary season I’ve decided — at least momentarily — to focus my Black Milestones in Higher Education series on the undergraduate alma maters of the major presidential candidates up for nomination.
I began the series with the U.S. Naval Academy, alma mater of Republican front-runner John McCain. Next up in the series is Wellesley College, the alma mater of Democratic presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton.
History and Overview: Wellesley College was founded in 1870 by Henry and Pauline Durant. The first students arrived in 1875. Wellesley graduated its first Black student in 1887.
Between 1980 and 1993 Black enrollment at Wellesley remained stable at 6.9% of the student body. Since that time Black student enrollment has slipped. In 1999, Black students comprised only 4.3% of entering first-year students. Today Wellesley enrolls 2,283 students, of whom 132 — or roughly 5.8% — are Black.
Wellesley College is among that handful of highly selective U.S. colleges and universities at which the Black graduation rate is higher than the graduation rate for white students. While the white graduation rate at Wellesley is 91%, the Black graduation rate is an 94%, far above the national average for both Black and white students.
“Long-Term Black Student Enrollment Trends at the Nation’s Highest-Ranked Colleges and Universities.”The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, No. 8 (Summer, 1995), pp. 12-14
“The Progress of Black Student Matriculations at the Nation’s Highest- Ranked Colleges and Universities.”The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, No. 25 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 8-16
Ella Elbert Smith, class of 1888,
and the second African American woman to graduate from Wellesley College.
Black Milestones at Wellesley College
- 1887 — Harriet Alleyne Rice becomes the first African American student to graduate from Wellesley.
- 1888 — Ella Lavinia Smith becomes the second African American student to graduate from Wellesley.
- 1923 — Harlem Renaissance poet Clarissa M. Scott Delaney graduates Phi Beta Kappa from Wellesley College. At Wellesley, Delaney was a varsity athlete known for her additional talents a singer, and a pianist.
- 1990 — Adrian Piper joins the faculty of Wellesley College, becoming the first African American female full tenured professor of philosophy in the United States.
Posted by Ajuan Mance