Black Milestones in Higher Education: Columbia Lions Edition April 18, 2008Posted by twilightandreason in Higher Education.
Tags: African American Professors, African American Students, Barack Obama, Black History, Black Professors, Black Students, Columbia University, Higher Education, Kellis E. Parker, M. Moran Weston, Pixley ka Ikasa Seme, race
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 wasWellesley College, the alma mater of Democratic presidential hopeful. I am ending with Columbia University, the undergraduate alma mater of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
History and Overview: Columbia University was founded and began offering classes in 1754, called King’s College at the time, it was founded, “by royal charter of King George II of England” (Source: Columbia University Website). At the time, the enrollment consisted of eight students, all of whom were male. The College was forced to shut down in 1776, as a result of the upheaval of the Revolutionary War in the colonies. When it reopened in 1784, the institution had a new name, Columbia.
In 1983, Columbia became the last of the Ivy League schools to enroll women. Today woman make up a full 49.3 percent of the student body. As of the fall of 2007, University’s undergraduate programs enrolled 7,377 students, of whom 435 were Black.
Black Milestones at Columbia University:
- 1908 — Pixley ka Ikasa Seme of South African becomes the first black student to earn a B.A. from Columbia. In 1928 he would go on to earn an LLD from Columbia, and would eventually become the founder of the African National Congress (ANC).
- 1928 — Louis Wilson, Jr. becomes the first African American graduate of Columbia’s architecture school.
- 1968 — Armed with guns, Black students take over Hamilton Hall to protest both the building of a gym whose entrance policies were considered racist and the University’s involvement in weapon’s reserach.
- 1969 — M. Moran Weston (CC’30, GSAS’40, GSAS’69) becomes the first African American to serve on the Columbia University Board of Trustees.
- 1972 — Kellis E. Parker becomes the first full-time African American professor at Columbia Law School.
- 1976 — The Black Students’ Organization (BSO) is founded.
- 1983 — The Institute for Research in African American Studies is established at Columbia University.
- 1999 — The Winter 1999/2000 issue of the Journal of Black in Higher Education reports that Columbia has the higher percentage of Black faculty (7.2 percent) “among the nation’s 27 highest ranked universities.
- 2004 — On October 26th of this year, Columbia University a plaza on its Morningside campus in the name of it’s first Black trustee, the late Rev. Dr. M. Moran Weston, a graduate of the class of 1930.
Posted by Ajuan Mance