Campus Celebrates Legacy of
African American Scholars with Exhibit, Reception
Kristin Luciani | Feb. 28, 2011
The Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society hosted a special reception Thursday at Geisel Library to celebrate the Black History Month exhibit “Edward A. Bouchet: A History of Scholarly Achievement.” Named for the first African-American doctoral recipient in the United States, the society honors graduate students who exemplify a commitment to promoting diversity in doctoral education and supporting groups that are traditionally underrepresented in academia.
The exhibit was a tribute to the life and legacy of Bouchet and other pioneering African-American men and women who were the first to receive doctoral degrees in various fields. The display also recognized African Americans who have earned doctoral degrees from UC San Diego and have made a significant impact in the local community, including recent graduates Richard Lawrence, Ed.D., education studies and Terrell Green, Ph.D., bioengineering, as well as former faculty member and activist Angela Davis, Ph.D., philosophy.
“We are thrilled and honored to have this opportunity to share this display with the campus community,” said Sujata Emani, doctoral candidate in chemistry and biochemistry and one of the inaugural members of the UC San Diego chapter of the Bouchet Society. “We hope that from history will come a legacy of scholarly achievement and leadership for Black Americans.”
Fifty guests from the campus community attended the reception, including two of the national society’s founders: Orlando Taylor, Ph.D., president and interim vice president of Academic Affairs at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Curtis L. Patton, Ph.D., professor emeritus of epidemiology at Yale University. The reception was also an opportunity to welcome and congratulate the new members of the UC San Diego chapter of the Bouchet Society.
At the reception, guests discussed issues of diversity in education and the society’s role in campus diversity efforts. Patton and Taylor told inspiring stories of Bouchet as a young high school graduate, and encouraged the students to persevere in their own projects and community leadership.
“Edward Bouchet overcame so much adversity and humbly served his community, with little regard to deserved status or position,” added Emani. “Bouchet’s life has become a call to action for us in the society.”
A national honor society with chapters at Yale University , Howard University, University of Michigan, George Washington University, Cornell University, Washington University in St. Louis and UC San Diego, the Bouchet Society was established in 2005 to develop a network of preeminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in higher education. The UC San Diego chapter of the Bouchet Society was created in 2008.