Friday, April 30, 2010

Pitt African American Alumni Council Honors Provost James V. Maher and 2010 Graduates During 6th Annual Interfaith Baccalaureate Service May 1

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg to deliver special greetings during the service

PITTSBURGH-The leadership of the University of Pittsburgh African American Alumni Council (AAAC) will honor Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher during the council's 6th Annual Interfaith Baccalaureate Service at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, May 1, in the Lower Lounge of the University's William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The free public service celebrates academic achievement and honors graduating seniors and their families.

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg will deliver greetings and special remarks on behalf of the University; he also will greet students and their families after the ceremony. Dr. Maher, who announced in November that he would leave his current position and return to the Pitt faculty at the beginning of the next academic year or as soon after that as his successor can be in place, will be present to receive the AAAC's special recognition. Pitt Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Robert Hill will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the event.

The baccalaureate message, titled “A Time of Change: Challenges and Opportunities,” will be delivered by Ryan Parker, director of health sciences diversity for Pitt's schools of the health sciences.

Provost Maher is widely credited with helping to lead the University through a period of unparalleled progress. He has been Pitt's chief academic officer since 1994. During his years as provost, the University has made significant strides on wide-ranging fronts, including dramatically increasing applications for admission; elevating the academic credentials of admitted students and boosting enrollments; promoting instructional innovation and supporting the creative use of new teaching technologies; adding substantially to on-campus housing capacity and enriching the quality of student life; enhancing overall research strength while moving into critical new areas of inquiry and creating programs for the commercialization of technology; designing and implementing plans for the development of facilities and infrastructure that would support academic ambitions while maintaining fiscal discipline; and reaching out to alumni, donors, and other friends in markedly more effective ways.

The word baccalaureate is steeped in academic tradition. In use since at least the eighth century, baccalaureate has come to refer not only to the degree that is awarded at Commencement, but also to the spirituality that is part of achievement and aspiration. Following this year's celebration, the AAAC's Annual Senior Recognition Dinner will be held for graduates and their families.

For additional information about Baccalaureate, contact Valerie Njie at 412-779-2866 or

News From Pitt FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 30, 2010 Contact: Robert Hill
412-624-8891 (office); 412-736-9532 (cell)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jimi Hendrix's Personal Items Arrive at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian

Personal items belonging to Jimi Hendrix arrived today accompanied by his sister, Janie Hendrix. The items include a colorful patchwork full-length leather coat, a leather necklace and a leather pouch. These are among the very few of the rock legend’s possessions sent home to his family from his apartment in New York after he died on Sept. 18, 1970. Though Hendrix’s father asked that all of his son’s belongings be sent home to Seattle, including a hundred guitars, scant few arrived. The coat was an obvious favorite of Hendrix’s, as seen from the deep creases around the elbows, dark demarcation sweat lines and well-worn hem; until today, the coat has never been displayed nor have photos of it been published.

The coat is the signature piece in the upcoming exhibition, “Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture,” which opens Thursday, July 1.

Jimi Hendrix's Long Coat

Photo Credit: Katherine Fogden, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
This exhibition examines Native people who have been active participants in contemporary music for nearly a century. Hendrix’s grandmother was Cherokee and his family continues to recognize and honor this heritage to this day. The exhibition will show how his identity contributed to his artistry and how he in turn influenced a whole generation of musicians—including some of the biggest acts in rock and roll. Other original items, and a Fender Stratocaster guitar reproduction of the one he played at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 and a Gibson Flying V guitar reproduction that features artwork that appeared on the original, may also be highlighted in the exhibition.

# # # SI-195-2010

Media Only Eileen Maxwell (202) 633-6615 Leonda Levchuk (202) 633-6613

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Appoints Veteran Development Executive as New Vice President for Institute Advancement

Currently Serving as CEO of Washington State University Foundation, Brenda Wilson-Hale Will Join Rensselaer on July 1

Brenda Wilson-Hale, currently chief executive officer of the Washington State University Foundation and vice president for university development, will join Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as vice president for institute advancement on July 1, Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson announced today.

In her new role, Wilson-Hale will direct all of the Institute’s fundraising and alumni relations activities.

Brenda Wilson-Hale“We are fortunate to have someone with Ms. Wilson-Hale’s background, experience, and successful track record join our leadership team,” said President Jackson. “For more than two decades, she has demonstrated strong leadership, creativity, and tremendous business acumen in helping to raise funds and direct campaigns at a broad spectrum of organizations.

“Her expertise in higher education fundraising and alumni relations is impressive. We look forward to her leadership in advancement as we pursue the resources to continue the transformation of Rensselaer as a world-leading technological research university.”
“I am privileged to join Rensselaer in this pivotal role leading private fundraising in concert with President Jackson,” Wilson-Hale said. “The potential for tremendous success in team building and fundraising is particularly exciting in supporting the critical work of The Rensselaer Plan.”

In her role at Washington State University, Wilson-Hale oversaw a strategic reorganization of the development function and directed efforts to raise some $250 million during the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years – the two most successful fundraising years ever there. Prior to joining Washington State University in March 2007, Wilson-Hale served as senior director of development at the Eli Broad School of Business at Michigan State University. While there, she helped the university complete the remaining $125 million goal of an overall $1.2 billion campaign.

Wilson-Hale has also served in senior development positions at DePaul University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College, the National Black Arts Festival, the Museum of African-American History in Detroit, and the University Cultural Center Association in Detroit. Earlier in her career, she served in positions at AAA Michigan, Grace Hospital in Detroit, and Michigan Bell Telephone/AT&T.

Wilson-Hale earned her bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Wayne State University in 1973. She went on to earn her juris doctor degree from Wayne State in 1992.

Among her professional affiliations, Wilson-Hale is a member of Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Published April 27, 2010. Contact: Mark Marchand Phone: (518) 276-6098 E-mail:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Retired J.C. Penney executive Edward Howard to deliver keynote speech at Marshall’s Donning of Kente

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University alumnus Edward Howard, retired Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of J.C. Penney Company, Inc.’s West Region, will be the keynote speaker at the annual Donning of Kente Celebration of Achievement Thursday, April 29 at Marshall University.

The traditional and historical event, presented by Marshall’s Center for African American Students’ Programs, begins at 4 p.m. on Buskirk Field on MU’s Huntington campus. The celebration and cap-and-gown ceremony will commence with a processional that will include graduating students, university deans and Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp.

Edward HowardThe ceremony takes place each spring for African and African American students who graduated from Marshall University during the winter and those slated for graduation in May or during the coming summer school term.

The Kente cloth, which resembles a stole and is worn with the academic regalia, is a symbol of accomplishment that has its roots in a long tradition of weaving in West African countries. Marshall instituted the tradition of presenting Kente cloths to graduating African American students several years ago, and approximately 60 students are expected to participate Thursday along with university deans, faculty and staff.
Maurice Cooley, director of the Center for African American Students’ Programs, said the Donning of the Kente Celebration of Achievement is one of the most prestigious and culturally significant events in which Marshall’s African and African American students can participate. Having Howard as this year’s featured speaker, he said, highlights even more an already special ceremony.

“Since graduating from Marshall University in 1965, Mr. Howard has climbed the ladder of success in the corporate world,” Cooley said of the Beckley, W.Va., native. “It has been an incredible journey for this son of a coal miner, who started his professional career in 1965 as a trainee at J.C. Penney in Huntington and in 1990, became the first African-American to enter the company’s officer ranks when he was elected Vice President and Director of Investor Relations. I am certain Mr. Howard will deliver an inspirational message that our graduates will remember the rest of their lives.”

Howard currently lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is a member of the Marshall University Board of Governors and is former president of Marshall’s Society of Yeager Scholars Board of Directors. He received an honorary doctoral degree from Marshall in 2002 and is a member of the Elizabeth McDowell Lewis College of Business Hall of Fame. Howard also was a founding member and president of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity at Marshall.

The following woven cloths will be awarded during the Donning of Kente celebration: Owia Repue for associate degrees; Babadua for bachelor’s degrees; Kyemfere for master’s degrees; and Akyem Shield for post-master’s degrees.

African music will be provided by the Marshall University African Dance and Drum ensemble. A reception will follow on the Memorial Student Center plaza for all participants and those in attendance.

In the event of rain, the ceremony will take place in the Don Morris Room in the Memorial Student Center.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, April 26, 2010 Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications (304) 696-7153

For further information, contact: Office of University Communications Marshall University | 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090 Fax: (304) 696-3197

Sunday, April 25, 2010

African-American Babies and Boys Least Likely to Be Adopted, Study Shows

Chance of adoption also drops after baby’s birth, say economists from Caltech, NYU, and the London School of Economics.

PASADENA, Calif.— Parents pursuing adoption within the United States have strong preferences regarding the types of babies they will apply for, tending to choose non-African-American girls, and favoring babies who are close to being born as opposed to those who have already been born or who are early in gestation. These preferences are significant, according to the findings of a team of economists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the London School of Economics, and New York University (NYU), and can be quantified in terms of the amount of money the potential adoptive parents are willing to pay in finalizing their adoption.

While the data are intriguing, the real value of the study, the researchers say, is that it can give policymakers a more rational, evidence-driven base from which to consider the implications of policies and laws, such as those that restrict adoption by single-sex and foreign couples.

The key to these findings, the research team says, was the data set they were able to put together. "These data are unique," says Leeat Yariv, associate professor of economics at Caltech.

What makes them so unusual? Detailed data on adoption generally are difficult to come by. The researchers, however, were able to gather information—from a website run by an adoption intermediary—over a five-year period (between 2004 and 2009). The intermediary works to bring together—to match—potential adoptive parents with birth mothers seeking to relinquish their children for adoption.

Achieving such a match is not an easy task, says Leonardo Felli, professor of economics at the London School of Economics. He notes that adoption in the United States has "been characterized, for years, by two conflicting imbalances: On the one hand, a considerable number of potential adoptive parents are left unmatched. On the other hand, the number of children who are not adopted and end up in the foster-care system is disproportionately high."

Hence the need for adoption facilitators, says Yariv. "The website operates somewhat like an online real estate site," she explains. "We could see the attributes of the children—race, gender, age—and even the finalization costs, or the amount of money the adoptive parent would need to pay to finalize the adoption. In addition, we could see which children the potential adoptive parents applied for."

In other words, the team could see which babies attracted interest from potential adoptive parents, and determine which traits were most likely to lead to a successful adoption. This revealed three main patterns.

First, the researchers found that a non-African-American baby is seven times more likely to "attract the interest and attention of potential adoptive parents than an African-American baby," says Felli. This difference, he adds, is not seen when comparing parents' preferences for Caucasian versus Hispanic babies—a finding that is somewhat surprising, given that the adoptive parents in the sample are all Caucasian.

The second pattern shown was the gender preference. "A girl has a higher—by slightly more than one-third—chance of attracting the attention of potential adoptive parents than a boy," says Felli.

The preference for girls is arguably unexpected. "With biological children, the literature shows that there's a slight but significant preference for boys over girls," says Yariv. "But, in adoption, there's a very strong preference for girls over boys."

These preferences come with what is essentially a price tag, the researchers note. The data showed that parents are willing to pay an average of $16,000 more in finalization costs for a girl as opposed to a boy, says Yariv—and $38,000 more for a non-African-American baby than for an African-American baby.

Mariagiovanna Baccara, assistant professor at NYU's Stern School of Business, says these results are especially interesting because "the same race and gender biases persist across all categories of adoptive parents that we identified." In fact, she says, "the gender bias in favor of girls is somewhat stronger for both gay men and lesbian couples."

The researchers also found that the interest of potential adoptive parents in a particular baby depends on the stage of gestation. "While unborn children become increasingly attractive over the birth mother's pregnancy, probably because the match involves less uncertainty from the adoptive parents' perspective," says Baccara, "we find that the desirability of a child decreases dramatically right after birth." This means, Baccara adds, that “bureaucratic obstacles disrupting an adoption plan at the time of birth are extremely detrimental to the future prospects of the child.”

The economists feel their data should be used to address some of the existing political debates concerning the U.S. domestic adoption process.

The first involves the restrictions some states impose on same-sex and single-parent adoptions; the second involves the 2008 Hague treaty, which placed significant roadblocks in the path of potential parents from other countries who want to adopt children from the United States.

To assess the impact these restrictions have on the successful placement of children for adoption, the researchers turned to the data they had collected.

In one analysis, the researchers dropped all same-sex parents from their data set. When they did this, the number of successful matches dropped too—by 6 percent. "This is a substantial amount," says Felli, "considering that only 18 percent of the birth mothers in our pool allow adoption by same-sex couples in the first place."

Excluding foreign parents from the pool had an even greater effect—producing a 33 percent decline in the number of babies successfully placed with an adoptive family.

Yariv thinks this remarkably steep decline may have to do with the fact that foreign parents have "more flexible" preferences.

"These data suggest that caution should be used in some of these political debates," says Felli. "When asking whether adopted children should find a home with a single-sex or foreign family as opposed to a U.S. heterosexual family, one should account for the considerable chance that the child in question may not be matched with a family at all and will end up in foster care instead."

"And statistically," Yariv adds, "long-term foster care leads to bad outcomes."

To see how such bad outcomes can be avoided the team will look at alternatives to the U.S. adoption system.

"In most European countries," Yariv explains, "there’s a more centralized system, where effectively a judge makes the matches. We'd like to see how much efficiency we'd gain or lose by looking at intermediate levels of this kind of centralization."

The paper, "Gender and Racial Biases: Evidence from Child Adoption," was also coauthored by Allan Collard-Wexler of NYU's Stern Business School.

An abstract of the paper, released by London's Centre for Economic Policy Research, can be found at The full, unpublished, text of the paper can be found at

04/20/10 Contact: Lori Oliwenstein (626) 395-3631

Caltech Media Relations 1200 E. California Blvd, MC 0-71, Pasadena, CA 91125 Tel: 626.395.3226 | Fax: 626.577.5492

Saturday, April 24, 2010

'Beyond Obama' panel to discuss black political leadership in America

A panel discussion titled "Beyond Obama: Rethinking Black Political Leadership in America" is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at 58 Prospect Ave., Room 105, on the Princeton University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The discussion will look at the state of black politics following the election of President Barack Obama, which has furthered the discourse concerning a generational shift among African American elected officials. The event is sponsored by Princeton's Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding.

Moderated by Andra Gillespie, a visiting fellow at Princeton's Center for African American Studies and an assistant professor of politics at Emory University, the forum will seek to answer many of the questions raised by the ascent of African American political leaders beginning in the mid-20th century.

Andra GillespieGillespie is the editor of a new book titled "Whose Black Politics? Cases in Postracial Black Leadership," which addresses questions such as: How have black political leaders' differences in material resources, constituencies and historical perspectives shaped political strategy and the articulation of black political agendas? Does the rise of this cohort usher in greater intraracial political cohesion or contestation?
Eddie Glaude, Princeton's William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies and chair of the Center for African American Studies, will take part in the panel, as will three of the book's contributors: Tyson King-Meadows, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Charlton McIlwain, an associate professor of communications at New York University; and Katrina Gamble, an assistant professor of political science at Brown University.

A book signing will follow the talk.

For immediate release: April 22, 2010 Media contact: Christie Agawu, (609) 258-5494,

News from PRINCETON UNIVERSITY Office of Communications 22 Chambers St. Princeton, New Jersey 08542 Telephone (609) 258-3601; Fax (609) 258-1301

UCLA book 'Black Los Angeles' chronicles city's African American history, issues

California's anti–gay marriage intitiative Proposition 8 ignited a debate within Los Angeles' African American gay and lesbian communities: Should black same-sex couples come out to family and friends to help garner support for gay marriage, or should they continue to take a "don't ask, don't tell" approach?

"Some in the community were becoming more supportive of gay sexuality as an identity status that could exist alongside a strong racial-group affinity. Others were holding fast to religious and cultural ideologies that reduced gay sexuality to an immoral behavior and thus not a valid identity status," says Mignon R. Moore, a UCLA sociologist and professor of African American studies whose research — along with the work of more than two dozen other scholars — appears a new book that sheds light on black Los Angeles.

Black Los Angeles"Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities" (NYU Press, April 2010), co-edited by Darnell Hunt, director of UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, and the center's assistant director, Ana-Christina Ramón, delves into the long and rich history of African Americans in Los Angeles and presents a snapshot of contemporary issues affecting the community.

"African Americans have played important and pivotal roles in Los Angeles' history," Hunt says. "As our book demonstrates, African Americans have had a powerful impact on the development of the city — from being part of the first settlers in 1781, through the period of the region's tremendous growth, to the present day."
"Black Los Angeles is and has always been a space of profound contradictions," Hunt writes in the book. "Just as Los Angeles has come to symbolize the complexities of the early twenty-first–century city, so too has Black Los Angeles come to embody the complex realities of race in so-called 'colorblind' times."

"Black Los Angeles" is the culmination of eight years of research the center conducted on African American communities in the region.

Hunt and Ramón were motivated to edit the book because they noticed a dearth of research that connected the dots between the past, present and future of black life in the Los Angeles. They met with scholars and community members to discuss what topics the book should include and then enlisted 23 experts to contribute chapters for the book.

"The chapters are interconnected by themes such as political participation, social justice, religious life, cultural production, and communities and neighborhoods, while individually featuring in-depth analyses of an issue or an episode in black Los Angeles," Ramón says. "We are proud to present a book that is both accessible and relevant to community members, students and scholars."

In the book's "Space" section, which deals with the history and geography of African Americans in Los Angeles, Paul Robinson, a geographer and assistant professor at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, notes that when El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de la Reina de Los Angeles — the Spanish town that would eventually become the city Los Angeles — was established in 1781, the majority of its original settlers (26 of 46) had African ancestry.

These original settlers came from areas that are now states in western Mexico, a region where the Spanish empire relied heavily on African and mulatto populations as soldiers and laborers in agriculture and mining. By 2008, nearly 950,000 African Americans lived in Los Angeles County, making it home to the second largest number of African Americans in the nation.

Although 6 percent of black residents left the county in the 1990s, many in search of more affordable housing and a safer environment for their families, the population grew by 1 percent between 2000 and 2008, Robinson notes. Black immigrants from the Caribbean, Africa and the Americas are spurring the growth.

"The African-origin population of Los Angeles has always been diverse, but never as diverse as it had become by the first decade of the 2000s," Robinson writes.

By 2008, there were an estimated 90,000 persons of sub-Saharan and/or Caribbean ancestry living in Los Angeles County, constituting nearly 10 percent of the county's total black population.

"As the county's non-native population grew throughout the decade, the diverse groups comprising it increasingly challenged common assumptions about the people and spaces comprising 'Black Los Angeles,'" Robinson writes.

Reginald Chapple, former president and CEO of the Dunbar Economic Development Corp. and a UCLA doctoral candidate in anthropology, recounts the development of Central Avenue from 1900 to 1950 as a center of African American culture and of Leimert Park Village, the current black enclave. And Andrew Deener, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, examines the rise and decline of Los Angeles' only black community by the sea, Oakwood, in the Venice area.

In the book's "People" section, Jooyoung Lee, a sociologist and postdoctoral fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health and Society Scholars program at the University of Pennsylvania, examines how some young black males in Los Angeles pursued careers in rapping as a means to economic opportunities that were otherwise absent in their communities.

Alex Alonso, a geographer and gang expert, writes about the influences that led to the rise of black gangs in Los Angeles. The ways in which black families cope with the incarceration of family members is explored by M. Belinda Tucker, a UCLA professor of psychiatry and biobehavorial sciences; Neva Pemberton, a UCLA doctoral candidate in education; Mary Weaver, executive director of Friends Outside in Los Angeles County; Gwendelyn Rivera, a UCLA doctoral student in education; and Carrie Petrucci, a senior research associate with EMT Associates Inc.

In the book's "Image" section, Nancy Wang Yuen, an assistant professor of sociology at Biola University, examines the lack of authentic roles for black actors in film and television; Paul Von Blum, a UCLA senior lecturer in African American studies and communication studies, writes about the rise of black art in Los Angeles after the Watts riots in 1965; and Scot Brown, a UCLA history professor, recounts the case of SOLAR, a black-owned record label that symbolized Los Angeles' rise as the media capital of black America in the latter decades of the 20th century.

The section also looks at the media attention focused on issues in the city's African American communities.

Hunt and Ramón, for example, examine Los Angeles Times' coverage of the controversial demise of Martin Luther King Jr./Charles Drew Medical Center. Dionne Bennett, an anthropologist and assistant professor of African American studies at Loyola Marymount University, writes about media misrepresentations of South Central Los Angeles and how certain films and television programs have contributed to stereotypical views of the area.

Interestingly, Bennett writes, residents had never referred to the area as South Central until the Watts riots of 1965. While there are various versions of how the term came to describe the area, it was officially used in the McCone Commission Report, a document that has been criticized for its superficial discussion of the complex events that shaped the riots, Bennett says.

"In the early twenty-first century, media images of South Central Los Angeles continued to label and limit African Americans," she writes. "These images usually omitted the educational, social and economic diversity of blacks not only in South Central, but throughout Black Los Angeles and ultimately Black America."

In the final section, "Action," Melina Abdullah, an associate professor of pan-African studies at California State University, Los Angeles, and Regina Freer, a professor of politics at Occidental College in Los Angeles, examine the rise of African American female leaders Charlotta Bass, a newspaper editor, publisher, activist and Progressive Party candidate for vice president in 1952, and former California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, the first African American woman to serve as speaker of a state legislative body.

Sonya Winton, a political scientist and UCLA adjunct professor in African American studies, writes about a movement by the Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles to halt construction of a municipal solid-waste incinerator plant in the 1980s. And Hunt and Ramón recount the efforts of the Alliance for Equal Opportunity in Education to spur UCLA to adopt a revised admissions policy after it was reported that fewer than 100 African Americans enrolled as freshmen in 2006.

The book also includes a chapter on labor issues authored by Edna Bonacich, a professor emeritus of sociology and ethnic studies at UC Riverside; Lola Smallwood-Cuevas and Lanita Morris, labor organizers and project directors with the UCLA Labor Center; Steven C. Pitts, a labor policy specialist with the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education; and Joshua Bloom, a UCLA doctoral candidate in sociology.

The authors discuss the lack of employment opportunities among Los Angeles' African American working-age population. In 2000, 43 percent were unemployed, while 29 percent were employed in low-wage, dead-end jobs that offered neither retirement nor health benefits.

"It must be noted here that immigrants were not to blame for the crisis in the African American community," the authors write.

While there was indeed job competition between working-class black Angelenos and immigrants, the authors explain that global restructuring, de-industrialization, flexible production and the contracting of services out to independent contractors, in addition to crack and criminalization, were more fundamental causes.

The authors call for a black worker center for Los Angeles, which would aim to increase union membership, participation and leadership among African American workers in the area.

"(The center) would serve as a place to develop ideas for building an alternative economic development plan for Black Los Angeles as a whole," the authors note.

For press copies of "Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities," please contact Letisia Marquez at UCLA Media Relations & Public Outreach at 310-206-3986 or

By Letisia Marquez April 21, 2010 Media Contacts Letisia Marquez, 310-206-3986

Thursday, April 22, 2010

WSU transplant team finds African-American kidney recipients develop non-skin cancers more frequently

African-American kidney transplant recipients develop non-skin cancers more frequently than Caucasian patients, Wayne State University School of Medicine researchers have found.

The findings, published in the April issue of Renal and Urology News, hold important implications for how black kidney transplant recipients are educated about their treatment and their post-operative protocols.

The team noted that physicians have known for quite some time that white kidney recipients demonstrate greater risk for developing skin cancer when compared against the general population. However, this is the first study to find that black patients develop more types of cancers and at significantly greater rates than white patients after receiving a kidney transplant.

The WSU study involved 495 adult black kidney recipients who received their transplants at Harper University Hospital between January 1984 and December 2007. The team compared their patients with 11,155 white kidney recipients in the Canadian Organ Replacement Registry. The incidence of prostate, kidney, pancreatic and esophageal cancers was significantly higher among black kidney recipients.

The research team included Scott Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., professor of surgery and chief of the Section of Transplant Surgery for the Wayne State University School of Medicine; Atul Singh, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine, Division of Nephrology; Kalyani Mehta, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine, Division of Nephrology; Miguel West, M.D., associate professor of surgery, Section of Transplant Surgery; Mona Doshi, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine; Division of Nephrology; and Katherina Morawski, R.N., Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology.

Dr. Gruber, the lead author who presented the team’s findings at the recent Central Surgical Association’s 66th annual meeting in Chicago, said this is the first study to detail the types of non-skin cancers that are more common in black transplant recipients. He served as program chair of the meeting and presented "Different patterns of cancer incidence among African-American and Caucasian renal allograft recipients."

Dr. Gruber , director of the Organ Transplant Program at Harper University Hospital, said it is not the kidney transplant that makes patients more susceptible to cancers, but the drugs that patients must take to suppress their immune systems to prevent rejection of the kidney weakens the body’s defenses.

The team’s findings can be partly attributed to geography, Dr. Gruber said. “At our transplant center, 84 percent of our kidney transplant recipients are African-American,” he said. “They stay here after the transplant and remain our patients, so we can follow them.”

In other areas of the United States, he said, patients may travel hundreds of miles to receive a kidney transplant, and then return home to be treated by their local nephrologist, losing their connection with the transplant center. In the southeast Michigan region, patients remain in the area and are seen continuously by physicians on the WSU transplant team, who can follow their patients for longer periods and record incidents of cancer development.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.

* Contact: Matt Lockwood
* Voice: (313) 577-9098
* Email:

“Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art” at National Museum of African Art

“Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art,” a traveling exhibition that tells the story of the beautiful coiled basket, will be on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art from June 23 through Nov. 28. “Grass Roots” demonstrates the enduring contribution of African people and culture to American life in the southeastern United States.

The exhibit features about 200 objects, including baskets made in Africa and the American South, African sculptures, paintings from the Charleston Renaissance, historic photography and videos. It traces the history of the coiled basket on two continents and shows how a simple farm tool once used for processing rice has become a work of art and an important symbol of African American identity.

“Visitors will be stopped in their tracks by the exceptional beauty and artistry evident in baskets from Africa and the American South,” said Johnnetta Betsch Cole, director of the museum.

“In addition, they will learn about the important and enduring connections between Africa and the African diaspora, and how the cultivation of rice and the horrors of enslavement played a role in transmitting the knowledge of particular basket-making traditions from the African continent to the American South. Finally, it is my fervent hope that visitors will come away from this exhibition with a deeper awareness of Africa’s global reach and with a genuine appreciation of the cultural contributions of Africans and people of African descent.”

“Grass Roots” traces the parallel histories of coiled basketry in Africa and the United States, starting from the domestication of rice in West Africa, through the transatlantic slave trade, to the migration of African rice culture to America. The exhibition, which addresses the history of the Carolina rice plantations and highlights technological innovations brought to American agriculture by people from Africa, tells the compelling story of the survival of African-American basketry over 300 years. While the need for agricultural forms has declined, coiled baskets continue to be made as objects of beauty. The exhibition focuses on the coastal town of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., across the Cooper River from Charleston, where basket makers have taken control of their craft as independent entrepreneurs.

On both sides of the Atlantic, the art of basketry continues to be passed down from generation to generation. In South Carolina and Georgia, as in many parts of Africa, virtuoso basket makers invent forms, experiment with new materials and perfect the techniques they have learned from their parents and grandparents. The exhibition features baskets made by contemporary American and African basket makers as well as historic examples, some dating to the early 19th century from Low Country rice plantations and African villages.

“Grass Roots” includes five short films that feature basket makers demonstrating their techniques and telling their stories. Botanists describe experiments in the cultivation of sweet grass and archival footage shows rice processing and basket making in Africa.

Programs and Catalog
Free activities that complement the exhibition include lectures, film screenings, a book signing, musical performances, a roundtable discussion with Gullah community leaders, a Gullah culinary demonstration and tasting and school art workshops. Visit for a complete schedule.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated full-color catalog with essays by scholars of African and American history and art. The publication will be available in the museum store.

Organizer and Sponsors
“Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art” is organized by the Museum for African Art in New York, in cooperation with Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston, McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina and the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association.

“Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art” has been supported, in part, by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the MetLife Foundation’s Museums and Community Connections Program. The National Endowment for the Humanities honored “Grass Roots” with a “We the People—America’s Historic Places” designation. Additional funding for the video components has been provided by the Henry and Sylvia Yaschik Foundation, the South Carolina Humanities Council and the South Carolina Arts Commission.

About the National Museum of African Art

The National Museum of African Art is America’s premier museum dedicated to the collection, conservation, study and exhibition of traditional and contemporary African art. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except Dec. 25. Admission is free. The museum is located at 950 Independence Avenue S.W., near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information about this exhibition, call (202) 633-4600 or visit the museum’s website at For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000 or TTY (202) 633-5285. # # #

Media Only Janice Kaplan (202) 277-5461 Kimberly Mayfield (202) 633-4649 Media Preview: Tuesday, June 22 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

National Museum of African American History and Culture Launches Landmark Exhibition Celebrating the Apollo Theater

Exhibition Explores the Theater’s Impact on American Entertainment.

The first exhibition to explore the Apollo Theater’s seminal impact on American entertainment premieres April 23 and continues through Aug. 29. Presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in collaboration with the Apollo Theater Foundation, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment” examines the rich history and cultural significance of the legendary Harlem theater, tracing the story from its origins as a segregated burlesque hall to its starring role at the epicenter of African American entertainment and American popular culture. The opening of the exhibition marks the 75th anniversary of the Apollo Theater.

Presented in the NMAAHC Gallery in the National Museum of American History, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” is one of several touring exhibitions presented by the museum in major cities across the country. The exhibition will travel to Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (Oct. 1 – Jan. 2, 2011) and the Museum of the City of New York (Jan. 20, 2011 – May 1, 2011). The exhibition tour will be organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).

Apollo Theater Exterior, 2008

"Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment" is on view at the National Museum of American History from April 23 to Aug. 29, 2010.

The exhibition is the first to explore the rich history and the cultural significance of Harlem’s Apollo Theater. It features photographs and artifacts to trace the story of the theater from its origins in 1913 as a whites-only burlesque hall to its starring role at the epicenter of African American entertainment. This exhibition is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Apollo Theater Foundation; Photo by Shahar Azran
“As a beacon of possibility and excellence, the Apollo is a perfect lens through which the museum can examine many of the country’s most important political, social and cultural developments,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of NMAAHC. “The story of the Apollo yields incredible insight into the flux of African American life in the 20th century—from the great migration to the urban north, through two world wars and into the civil rights movement.”

“Since 1934, the Apollo has been a driving force in shaping America’s musical and cultural landscape,” says Jonelle Procope, president and CEO of the Apollo Theater. “The Apollo has nurtured generations of artists and has been a source of entertainment and inspiration to millions of people throughout its 75 years. We are delighted to be partnering with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to present ‘Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,’ which will illuminate the role the Apollo has played in the creative life of our nation.”

Exhibition co-curators Tuliza Fleming of the museum and Guthrie Ramsey Jr., the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania, have assembled historic and contemporary costumes, playbills, music scores, graphic images and recorded music to document Apollo’s history, including memorable performances by the emerging artists and living legends who graced its stage. Moving chronologically through the theater’s development, exhibition panels provide context to the featured objects and are enhanced by an introductory film and video alcoves, which offer a multimedia experience for visitors. Among the one-of-a-kind and rarely displayed artifacts in the exhibition are:

James Brown’s cape and jumpsuit—Brown was an Apollo regular even after he reached superstar status.
Michael Jackson’s fedora—Jackson won Amateur Night in 1967 with the Jackson 5.
The Supremes’ dresses—The original trio first played the Apollo in 1962 as part of the dazzling Motown Revue.
Cab Calloway’s baton—Calloway was one of the most popular swing era band leaders.
Sammy Davis’ childhood tap shoes—Davis first appeared on the Apollo stage in 1947.

Peg Leg Bates’ peg leg—Despite losing his left leg in an accident at age 12, Bates pursued his dream of tap dancing. By the mid-1930s, he was an Apollo regular.
Duke Ellington’s score for Black and Tan Fantasy (1927)—The legendary jazz composer and bandleader wrote some of the best-known compositions in American music.
Ella Fitzgerald’s dress—Fitzgerald made her Amateur Night debut at the age of 17.
Miles Davis’ flugelhorn—Davis frequently headlined at the Apollo.
LL Cool J’s jacket and hat—LL Cool J remains one of today’s best-known rappers.
Celia Cruz’s dress—Known as the Queen of Salsa, Cruz was a symbol of Afro-Cuban music throughout the African diaspora.

Featured objects are drawn from a number of private and publicly held collections, including those at the African American Museum of Philadelphia, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, the Library of Congress, the Museum of the City of New York, the National Afro American Museum of Ohio, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2009-2010, the Apollo Theater, a non-profit institution, is one of Harlem’s, New York City’s and America’s most enduring cultural treasures. The Apollo was one of the first theaters in New York—and the country—to fully integrate, welcoming traditionally African American, Hispanic and local immigrant populations in the audience, as well as headlining uniquely talented entertainers who found it difficult to gain entrance to other venues of similar size and resources.

Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres, including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul and hip-hop. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis Jr., James Brown, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill and countless others began their careers on the Apollo’s stage. Based on its cultural significance and architecture, the Apollo Theater received state and city landmark designation in 1983 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

An exhibition companion book, with a foreword by Smokey Robinson, Motown singer, songwriter and producer, and an introduction by Bunch, features historic photographs and essays by 23 historians, musicologists and critics, including Princeton University scholar Kandia Crazy Horse, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Levering Lewis, author of W.E.B. DuBois: A Biography and Robert O’Meally, founder of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established in 2003 by an Act of Congress, making it the 19th Smithsonian Institution museum. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. The Smithsonian Board of Regents, the governing body of the Institution, voted in January 2006 to build the museum on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument on the National Mall. The building is scheduled to open in 2015. Until then, NMAAHC is presenting its touring exhibitions in major cities across the country and in its own gallery at the National Museum of American History.

The NMAAHC Gallery at the National Museum of American History is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. in Washington, D.C. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except Dec. 25. Admission is free. For more information, visit or call (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY). # # # SI-164-2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

IU Soul Revue's spring concert May 1 will show how 'soul speaks' to everyone

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The IU Soul Revue at Indiana University will present its annual spring concert on Saturday (May 1), 8 p.m., at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. in downtown Bloomington.

The theme of this year's concert is "Soul Speaks." This premise is based on the fact that black popular music always has provided commentary on the social conditions of African Americans. The IU Soul Revue is one of three student performance ensembles in IU African American Arts Institute, which turns 35 this year.

The concert will feature the Soul Revue performing music of various genres such as rhythm and blues, funk and other current popular songs, which are all under the heading of soul music.

Acting director Tyron Cooper said, "This show might prompt the audience participant to dance, clap, stomp, shout, laugh, cry and reflect on the myriad ways that soul music expresses a spectrum of meanings and definitions for African Americans and the broader society."

IU Soul Revue

IU Soul Revue Courtesy of Indiana University.
He said the Soul Revue will bridge the gap between entertainment and enlightenment, as the audience will enjoy and realize the grooves and deep implications of black popular music.

Ticket prices are $20 for adults and $10 for children and students with ID (limit two per student). They are available at the Sunrise Box Office, located adjacent to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 20, 2010 Media Contacts Olivia Hairston African American Arts Institute 812-855-5427

UGA College of Education honors Mary Frances Early with Distinguished Alumni Award

Alumni Service Award: Mary Frances Early, former department chair and associate professor of Clark Atlanta University’s department of music, received the 2010 Alumni Service Award for her outstanding and continued dedication in service and philanthropy to the college.

Early (M.M.Ed. ’62, Ed.S. ’71), an Atlanta native, is the first African-American graduate of UGA. She received the UGA Outstanding Alumna Award in 2000.

UGA officially recognized Early as the first African-American to receive a degree in 2000, and the Mary Frances Early Lecture was established in 2001 by UGA’s Graduate and Professional Scholars organization. Sponsored beginning this year by the Graduate School, the annual lecture is held in the spring.

In 2003, the Mary Frances Early Professorship in Teacher Education was established in the College of Education, with a $250,000 endowment from Georgia Power. The faculty search for the chaired professorship will soon get under way.

Mary Frances EarlyMary Frances Early in her Center-Meyers dorm room at the University of Georgia in the summer of 1961. Ms. Early was one of the first African Americans admitted to the University of Georgia.

Writer: Julie Sartor, 706/542-4693, Contact: Gabrielle Mason, 706/542-4558 , Apr 20, 2010, 13:57

Monday, April 19, 2010

Scholar, performer and composer Keyes to receive the Herman C. Hudson Alumni Award

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's African American Arts Institute is honoring Cheryl L. Keyes, an alumna who has gone on to become an accomplished ethnomusicologist, composer, arranger, vocalist, musician and record label founder.

Keyes will receive the institute's Herman C. Hudson Alumni Award at its annual banquet on Tuesday (April 20).

Each year, a distinguished alumnus or institute affiliate is honored with its achievement award. The event is not open to the public.

Previous winners have included the opera vocalists Janet Williams and Angela Brown, music legend Isaiah Sanders, Broadway performer Justin Johnson and the late dancer Gabriel Paige.

Cheryl KeyesThe award is named for Hudson, founder of the Office of Afro-American Affairs, the Minority Achievers Program (now the Hudson-Holland Scholars Program) at IU Bloomington and the Department of Afro-American Studies (today the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies). Hudson believed the institute should strive for the highest levels of excellence in performance,
and throughout its 35-year history, the institute has nurtured and developed the talents of students of diverse backgrounds who come to IU with varying artistic interests and experience.

Keyes, a native of southern Louisiana, was influenced at an early age by the region's rich musical heritage and attended Xavier University in New Orleans on a music scholarship. While in the "Crescent City," she performed with jazz clarinetist Alvin Batiste, trumpeter Clark Terry and legendary R&B singer Eddie Bo.

After graduation, she came to IU Bloomington to explore her other musical passions. As a graduate student in the Jacobs School of Music, she studied piano with Shigeo Neriki, flute with Harry Houdeshel and voice with Camilla Williams. She also served as a teaching assistant and music coach for the AAAI's acclaimed IU Soul Revue.

Upon receiving her master's in music education in 1982 from the Jacobs School, Keyes pursued a doctorate at IU in ethnomusicology and studied under scholars Portia Maultsby and William Wiggins. Her dissertation, "Rappin to the Beat: Rap Music as Street Culture among African Americans" stands among the first works published that exclusively examines rap music as a continuum of African American expressive culture, thus opening the doors for serious study of hip-hop culture in the academy.

After leaving IU in 1991, Keyes taught briefly at Western Kentucky University before leaving to conduct extensive fieldwork on rap and hip-hop culture in Mali, West Africa, New York City, Detroit, Los Angeles and London.

In 1992, she received a Ford Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship to continue her studies on hip-hop music in New York City, where she joined the faculty of New York University. Two years later, she joined the faculty of the Department of Ethnomusicology at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she today is an associate professor.

Keyes is the author of Rap Music and Street Consciousness, which received a CHOICE award for outstanding academic books in 2004, and numerous journal articles. She currently is researching the musical life of the legendary New Orleans piano player, Henry "Professor Longhair" Byrd and working on a documentary about contemporary female jazz instrumentalists in Los Angeles.

She was the first woman and the first African American to serve as U.S. chapter president of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music in 2007-2009. She also has served on the board of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

In the midst of all of her teaching, research duties and service, Keyes has continued to pursue her musical passion. In 2005 she performed as a vocalist, pianist, flutist and a composer-arranger in the Instrumental Women Project's Lady Jazz concert series held at the Ford Amphitheatre. The following year, she performed at the Playboy Jazz Festival and was invited to serve as musical-artistic director for the Lady Jazz: Blues in the Summertime concert at the Ford Amphitheatre.

In 2008, she launched her own record label, Keycan Records, which also houses her music publishing company, Cangom, an ASCAP-affiliate company, founded by Keyes in 2002. Last year, her debut CD, Let Me Take You There, won an award for "Outstanding World Music Album" at the 40th NAACP Image Awards.

She and her husband, Abdoulaye N'Gom, have twin sons, Idrissa and Issa.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 19, 2010 Media Contacts: George Vlahakis University Communications 812-855-0846 Olivia Hairston African American Arts Institute 812-855-5427

Renowned osteopaths to highlight National Osteopathic Medicine Week

Two widely known osteopaths will headline the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine's celebration of National Osteopathic Medicine Week, April 18-24.

Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, director of the American Osteopathic Association Health Policy Fellowship Program and vice president of health sciences and medical affairs at the New York Institute of Technology, will present two talks:

* Healthcare reform: Implications for Medication Education, 5:30 p.m., April 19, LIB 110 CBH-220
* Re-visioning for Osteopathic Medicine in an Evolving Healthcare System, noon-1 p.m., April 20, Everett Hall

Ross-Lee is former dean of the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine at the New York Institute of Technology and of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is the first African-American woman to lead a U.S. medical school. She is also the first osteopathic physician to participate in the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship, where she served as legislative assistant for health to former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley.

Alex Guevara Jr., DO, (TCOM '85), governor of the Texas chapter of the American College of Osteopathic Family Practitioners, will discuss:

* The Future of Osteopathic Medicine, noon-1 p.m., April 21, Luibel Hall

Medical students from around the country will take center stage at the final talk to address:

* Global Health: Ride for World Health, noon-1 p.m., April 23, EAD 719

For information, contact Christian Dean at

If you are with the media and need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact the Office of Marketing and Communications at 817-735-2446.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

MU assistant professor Dr. David J. Peavler to deliver keynote address at Woodson fundraising banquet

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Dr. David J. Peavler, an assistant professor in Marshall University’s Department of History since September 2009, will be the keynote speaker at the Carter G. Woodson Memorial Foundation, Inc. fundraising banquet Saturday, May 1.

The 18th annual banquet begins at 6 p.m. in Room BE5 on the lower level of the Memorial Student Center on Marshall’s Huntington campus.

Proceeds from the banquet will help fund a scholarship endowment to support outstanding Marshall University students, as well as the purchase of materials on black culture and history.

Dr. David J. Peavler

Dr. David J. Peavler
Peavler is the director of African and African American Studies at Marshall University. He came to Marshall from Baltimore, where he taught at Towson University upon completion of his Ph.D. at the University of Kansas.

He is the author of several award-winning articles in leading academic publications such as the Journal of African American History. Among his current projects are the publication of a book on African American pioneers in the American west following reconstruction, and a second book titled Jim Crow in the Land of John Brown which details the origins of segregation and the Black freedom struggle in America’s heartland.

In addition to his service to the community in higher education, Peavler is an Air Force veteran and former instructor of fire/rescue personnel in Iraq.
His speech is titled “Cast Down Your Bucket Where You Are: West Virginia and the Black Freedom Struggle,” which details some aspects of local black history and the importance of collecting and preserving this history for future generations.

Music for the evening will be provided by Andrea Bowman, Kevin E. Johnson, Charles Johnson and David Barton, III.

Tickets for the banquet are available for a donation of $30. Corporate tables also are available. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Newatha Myers, foundation president, at 740-894-5772; Loretta Hagler, banquet chairwoman, at 304-525-5651; or Karen Nance, secretary, at 304-736-1655.

The Carter G. Woodson Memorial Foundation is named in honor of Carter G. Woodson, who was a graduate of Douglass High School in Huntington and went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. Woodson, who is widely known as the “father of African American history,” founded the Association for the study of Negro Life and History in 1915. He also started the influential “Journal of Negro History” in 1916. ###

For further information, contact: Office of University Communications Marshall University | 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090 Voice: (304) 696-NEWS Fax: (304) 696-3197.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, April 15, 2010 Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications (304) 696-7153.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Alumnus, standout Suh donates $2.6 million to UNL

Lincoln, Neb., April 17th, 2010 — The 2009 Associated Press Player of the Year and winner of the Lombardi, Outland, Bednarik and Nagurski football awards -- Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh -- announced today he will donate $2 million for use in the Nebraska Athletics for Strength and Conditioning Program and an additional $600,000 to the UNL College of Engineering to endow a scholarship.

A near sellout crowd cheered this unprecedented gift he announced today at the Husker Spring Game. A defensive tackle who completed his career at Nebraska, Suh graduated with a bachelor's degree in construction management from the College of Engineering at UNL in December. He is projected to be one of the top picks in the 2010 NFL draft after totaling 215 tackles in his career with 57 tackles for loss, 24 sacks, six blocked kicks, 15 pass breakups and 38 quarterback hurries.

Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh
Suh completed his career at Nebraska as the most decorated defensive player ever to don the Husker uniform, finishing fourth in the 2009 Heisman race. He is also the first former Husker player and the first African-American letter winner to commit a generous gift back to the University in advance of the draft and NFL career.

After he signs his NFL contract, Suh has pledged to give $2 million to athletics for renovations and updates in the north stadium strength and conditioning center, where he spent so many hours training to become the very best player he could be.

"I had a fantastic football career at Nebraska and thanks to my coaches and support staff, I have learned the value of hard work, teamwork and life skills," Suh said.
"These skills will help me tremendously as I prepare for my career in the NFL. As a thank-you to everyone in Nebraska who has assisted me on my collegiate journey, I want to donate $2 million to the Athletic Department.

"When speaking with Guy Rozier, Coach Bo Pelini and Tom Osborne about the gift, I specifically asked that this gift be used to help other future Huskers as they train in the strength and conditioning center. This incredible facility helped me earn all the honors I was so privileged to receive this past season, and I believe this gift can help make this facility the very best in the country. This is my way to honor my teammates, coaches and fans by giving back to a program and a university that has given so much to me."

"This donation from Ndamukong Suh is the largest single gift we have received from a former player," Athletic Director Tom Osborne said. "We appreciate Ndamukong's generosity to the athletic department, and we also appreciate his commitment to education, as he earned an Engineering degree, and appreciate the type of leadership he provided for our football team this past year. He is truly a credit to the football program and the university as a whole."

"Gifts from our former student-athletes send an important message," said Paul Meyers, Associate Athletic Director for Development. "It re-enforces our hope that what we are doing here at Nebraska is making a difference in their lives beyond athletics."

Suh also plans to donate an additional $600,000 to the University of Nebraska Foundation to benefit students enrolled in UNL's College of Engineering. Suh is a graduate of the engineering college's Charles Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction. Suh asked that students from his high school, Grant High School in Portland, Ore., be given first preference for the scholarship he is creating. He said he wanted to help out-of-state students, who pay considerably more than in-state students for tuition to attend the University of Nebraska. Suh's gift will be endowed, which means the principal will be invested and the net income used to create scholarships. By making the gift endowed, the Ndamukong Suh Scholarship will exist in perpetuity.

"It says so much about Ndamukong Suh that one of his first acts as a graduate is one of giving back, and helping students who are in need of a scholarship to the University of Nebraska," said Clarence Castner, president of the University of Nebraska Foundation. "He is an inspiration and a role model. It may be that his biggest impact will occur off the field."

"The balance between athletics and academics is one-of-a-kind at Nebraska," Suh said. "That's the reason I came here, and that's the reason why I wanted to support the College of Engineering. I wanted to make sure that other out-of-state students would have the same opportunities that I did at Nebraska. This is a great school and will hold a special place in my heart forever."

Academics have always been important to Suh's family. His father, Michael, is an engineer and his mother, Bernadette, a teacher. Bernadette insisted her son maintain at least a 3.0 average before he could join his high school football team. One of the primary reasons Suh said he chose the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was its highly regarded engineering program, and the athletic department's strong focus on academics. The Nebraska Cornhuskers have more academic All-Americans than any other football team in the country and the best exhausted eligibility graduation rate in the Big 12 Conference at 94 percent.

Originally from Portland, Ore., Suh's mother, Bernadette, is from Jamaica, while his father, Michael, hails from Cameroon.

WRITER: Christine Anderson, Released on 04/17/2010, at 2:00 PM Office of University Communications University of Nebraska–Lincoln. News Release Contacts: Christine Anderson, Associate Athletics Director/Community Relations phone: (402) 472-7111

Friday, April 16, 2010

UGA announces the endowment of the Donald L. Hollowell Professorship of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies

Atlanta, Ga. – At the April 15 premiere of the documentary Donald L. Hollowell: Foot Soldier for Equal Justice , the University of Georgia School of Social Work announced that the Donald L. Hollowell Professorship of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies has been fully endowed.

The professorship, the first distinguished professorship named for an African American at UGA, has been endowed through the UGA faculty-hiring initiative, donations and ticket sales from the documentary premiere.

“The person chosen for this distinguished professorship will advocate for social and economic justice for individuals, families and communities and collaborate with the Foot Soldier Project to advance civil rights scholarship,” said Maurice Daniels, dean of the School of Social Work and director of the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies.

Donald L. Hollowell Professorship

Caption:. Louise Hollowell (center, seated) is congratulated on the endowment of the Donald L. Hollowell Professorship of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies in the School of Social Work at the University of Georgia. (Left to right) Derrick Alridge, Jasmine Guy, Vernon Jordan, Mary France Early, Horace Ward, Glenda Hatchett and Maurice Daniels. (4/15/2010, Cliff Robinson/ University of Georgia/Special).
Vernon E. Jordan Jr., chair of the Hollowell Professorship endowment committee, made the endowment announcement following the film’s premiere and a panel discussion in which he participated moderated by Judge Glenda Hatchett, star of the television courtroom series Judge Hatchett. In addition to Jordan, other panelists included Mary Frances Early, the first African-American UGA graduate and Federal Judge Horace T. Ward, a member of the law team that sought to desegregate UGA.

“It was my special honor to work with the University of Georgia, School of Social Work, and the university community while serving as chairman of the Donald L. Hollowell Professorship Endowment Committee,” said Jordan.
“Mr. Hollowell was one of the most prominent attorneys and social justice advocates during the Civil Rights era. It is a fitting tribute that the University of Georgia establishes the first distinguished professorship named for an African American in his honor.”

Donald L. Hollowell: Foot Soldier for Equal Justice is a production of the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies, an interdisciplinary documentary and research program at UGA dedicated to chronicling Georgia’s history in the civil rights movement.

The documentary chronicles the life of Hollowell, one of the movement’s legendary advocates for social justice. Georgia Public Broadcasting will air the documentary on April 18 at 7 p.m.

Born and raised in Wichita, Kan., Hollowell did not encounter the Jim Crow restrictions of the South. But he did face racial discrimination while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. Hollowell’s experiences with segregation and his involvement with the Southern Negro Youth Congress after the war inspired him to study law, which ultimately became his weapon of choice in the fight for social justice in the South and across the nation, according to Daniels.

In 1959, Hollowell was among a group of black Atlanta leaders who tapped Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter to apply for admission to the then segregated University of Georgia. Over the next two years, Hollowell and Constance Baker Motley, assisted by Ward and Jordan, fought numerous courtroom battles that ended with a federal judge ordering UGA to admit Holmes and Hunter in 1961.

“His dedication and sacrifice for the ideals of equal opportunity and social justice changed the course of our nation’s history and will continue to open doors of opportunity for generations to come,” said Daniels.

Hollowell died of heart failure on Dec. 27, 2004, at the age of 87.

Writer: Wendy Jones, 706/542-6927, Contact: Maurice Daniels, 706/542-5424, Apr 16, 2010, 11:34

Pacific to Host Forum on Race, Religion and Sexuality: Forum part of Local Efforts to Combat HIV in Black Community

University of the Pacific will host “Toward Harmony: A Discussion on Race, Religion and Sexuality” on Sunday, April 25, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Pacific’s Janet Leigh Theatre on the Stockton campus. The event brings together local leaders and Pacific faculty, staff and students to find common ground in the efforts to combat the alarmingly high rates of HIV/AIDS in the local African American community. The event is free and open to public.

The forum, possibly the first of its kind in the Central Valley, will facilitate open dialogue about the intersections of religious faith and beliefs and the struggle for a community that can be inclusive of its diverse members. In San Joaquin County, where African Americans comprise 7% of the county’s total population and 22% of the county’s cases of AIDS/HIV, and where the majority of the faith community supported Proposition 8, the ban against gay marriage in California, can faith and community leaders and LGBT advocates find common ground through dialogue? This forum seeks to provide an affirmative answer to that question.

Sharon GrovesThe event’s keynote speaker is Sharon Groves, deputy director of the Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a Washington, D.C.-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocacy group and political action committee.

In addition to a keynote address by a nationally-known expert, the event features statements by local community and faith leaders such as the Honorable Susan Eggman of the Stockton City Council; the Honorable Gloria Allen, Stockton Unified School District Trustee; Reverend Terri Miller of Valley Ministries MCC and the Reverend Elena Kelly; as well as a panel discussion with a distinguished group of panelists including Brother Tommie Muhammad, Muslim community leader and Angel Picon, Latino community and labor activist.
The event is co-sponsored by the Pride Pacific Alumni Club, Black Alumni Pacific Club, Pride Alliance and Black Student Union of Pacific, and the Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, Stonewall Democrats and the Human Rights Campaign.

For more information contact Lisa Cooper, assistant vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement, at 209.946.2361 or

Thursday, April 15, 2010

DePaul Law School Remembers Alumnus And Former NAACP Head, Benjamin Hooks

Benjamin L. Hooks, who graduated from theDePaul University College of Law in 1948, grew up in an America marked by racism and injustice. Determined to change it, he spent his life fighting for equality. A highly respected champion of civil rights and one of the College of Law’s outstanding alumni, Hooks died April 15 in Memphis, Tenn.

Though his work would take him back to Tennessee and later to Washington, D.C., Hooks remained connected to the College of Law throughout his lifetime. The law school honored his outstanding service to the field of public interest law in 2003, and he earned an honorary degree at the law school’s 1977 commencement ceremony. Recognition for a career and achievements that defied the odds.

Benjamin HooksAccording to his official biography provided by the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis, Hooks first began his study of jurisprudence by enrolling in a pre-law course at LeMyone College in Memphis. He joined the United States Army before completing his studies and was stationed overseas. This experience made him determined to champion the cause of civil rights when he found himself charged with guarding Italian prisoners who were allowed to eat in restaurants that would deny him service. He rose to the rank of staff sergeant before his tour of duty ended and returned state side to complete his undergraduate studies at Howard University.
With a desire to become an attorney, Hooks returned to Tennessee. However, what he experienced upon moving back to Memphis was the true meaning of bigotry in the South. No law school in his native state of Tennessee would admit him. So Hooks moved north to attend law school at DePaul University.

“DePaul gave him an opportunity to go to law school when others would not admit him because of his race,” said College of Law Professor Bruce Ottley. Ottley knew Hooks and had the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with him over dinner during one of Hooks’ visits to Chicago and the College of Law. “He was qualified and his G.I. Bill would pay his tuition so his race really did not matter to DePaul.”

After earning his law degree in 1948, Hooks went back to Memphis and embarked on a storied legal career that would earn him a place among of our nation’s most celebrated civil rights advocates.

He first opened a law practice where, according to his biography, he met with prejudice at every turn. This only made him more determined to work to ensure all people are treated equally. He became an ordained minister in 1956 and joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was headed by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. His work in civil rights intensified as he helped pioneer National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)-sponsored sit-ins at restaurants and boycotts of consumer services and merchandise.

While becoming a stronger and more vocal advocate for racial justice, Hooks also began to explore the world of politics, where he would shatter racial barriers. In 1965, he was appointed to fill a judicial vacancy in the Shelby County criminal court, becoming Tennessee’s first African American criminal court judge. In 1976, he became the first African American appointed to the Federal Communications Commission. While there, he was outspoken about such issues as the lack of minority ownership of radio and television stations and the image of minorities in mass media.

In 1976, he was elected executive director of the NAACP, one of this nation’s most respected civil rights organizations. In an interview with Ebony Magazine shortly after assuming leadership of the NAACP, Hooks proclaimed, “The civil rights movement is not dead. If anyone thinks that we are going to stop agitating, they had better think again. If anyone thinks we are going to stop litigating, they had better close the courts.”

Even after his retirement from the NAACP, following 15 years at its helm, Hooks continued to be a formidable champion of civil rights. He trained his sights on contemporary issues impacting minorities and the disadvantaged. To progress this goal, he helped create the Hooks Institute.

One of his final national honors was being awarded the Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2007. But, no matter where his accomplished life took him, Hooks always remained one of the College of Law’s most sterling examples of what it means to persevere.

“Benjamin Hooks was a true role model who lived a life that illustrates for our students what they can accomplish no matter what obstacles try and stop them,” said Ottley. “People can look at graduates like Hooks and know that no matter what your background, you can still achieve whatever you want if you get a good education.”

Media Contact: Valerie Phillips (312) 362-5039

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Students from IU, correctional facility to celebrate completion of Inside-Out Prison Exchange course

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Two dozen college classmates -- half of them from Indiana University Bloomington and half from the Putnamville Correctional Facility -- will present research findings and receive certificates April 30 in the closing ceremony of an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program course.

The course is the first involving IU Bloomington in the Inside-Out program, which brings together students and prison inmates -- "outside" students and "inside" students -- for a college-level course in which people from different backgrounds learn together as peers.

"Inside-Out allows students and others outside of prison to go behind the walls to reconsider what they have learned about crime and justice, while those on the inside are encouraged to place their life experiences in a larger framework," said Micol Seigel, IU Bloomington assistant professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies, who teaches the course at Putnamville.

Putnamville Correctional Facility

Putnamville Correctional Facility Courtesy of Indiana University
"In the group discussions, countless life lessons and realizations surface about how we as human beings operate in the world, beyond the myths and stereotypes that imprison us all," Seigel said. "The program demonstrates the potential for dynamic collaborations between institutions of higher learning and correctional institutions."
Students in the course have discussed issues relating to crime and justice, read materials in history, sociology, political science and literature, and written papers. Their final assignment is a collective research project to recommend ways to reduce incarceration. They will present results from the project during the closing ceremony, which will take place from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Friday, April 30, in the library at the Putnamville Correctional Facility.

Inside-Out was founded in 1997 by Lori Pompa, a criminal justice faculty member at Temple University, who began classes with Temple students at prisons in the Philadelphia area. Since 2004, it has become a national program, with courses taught in 37 states and involving more than 7,500 inside and outside students. For more information, see

Seigel completed Inside-Out Instructor Training in the summer of 2009 and launched the first IU Bloomington Inside-Out course this spring with the help of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis faculty members Susan Hyatt and Roger Jarjoura. Hyatt and Jarjoura, professors in IUPUI's School of Liberal Arts and School of Public and Environmental Affairs, respectively, completed the Inside-Out training previously and have taught Inside-Out courses at the Indiana Women's Prison and the Plainfield Re-Entry Educational Facility.

The Putnamville Correctional Facility is a medium-security facility operated by the Indiana Department of Correction. It is located at 1946 W. U.S. 40, Greencastle.

Note: News media who wish to attend the Inside-Out closing ceremony must contact Micol Seigel by Monday, April 19, at 812-855-6327 or, to make arrangements.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pat Eliet Lecture Series Features Harryette Mullen, Acclaimed Poet and Scholar of African American Literature

(Carson, CA) – The Department of English at California State University, Dominguez Hills welcomes Harryette Mullen, distinguished poet and scholar of African American literature, as its guest speaker for the 2010 Pat Eliet Memorial Lecture on Thursday, April 22 at 7 p.m. in the Loker Student Union.

Mullen is the author of six volumes of poetry, including “Sleeping with the Dictionary” (2002), which was nominated for the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her most recent collection, “Recyclopedia” (2006), won a PEN Beyond Margins Award in 2007. Mullen is a professor of English at UCLA, where she teaches creative writing and African American literature.

Harryette Mullen

Harryette Mullen
Discussing the importance of the spoken word in an interview for the African American Review in 2000, she said: "It was through the poetry-[reading] circuit that I began to realize that poetry is not just something on the page, but a community of readers and writers."

The lecture is free and open to the public, with a book signing immediately following. Copies of Mullen’s books will be available for purchase before and after the lecture.

The lecture series honors former professor of English Patricia Eliet, who taught at the university from 1969 to 1990.
The lecture is sponsored by the Department of English, Associated Students Incorporated, College of Arts and Humanities, and the University Honors Program.

California State University, Dominguez Hill is located at 1000 E. Victoria Street in Carson. The Loker Student Union is at the center of campus. A map of the campus is available online at

Convenient on-campus parking is available near Loker Student Union. Enter from Toro Center Drive off University Drive, or from Tamcliff Street or Birchknoll Drive off Victoria Street. Daily permits are $4 and can be purchased at kiosk machines located at each lot.

For more information, contact the Department of English at (310) 243-3322. ###

About CSU Dominguez Hills -- California State University, Dominguez Hills is a highly diverse, urban university located in the South Bay, primarily serving the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The university prides itself on its outstanding faculty and friendly, student-centered environment. Known for excellence in teacher education, nursing, psychology, business administration, and digital media arts, new degree programs include computer science, criminal justice, recreation and leisure studies, social work, and communication disorders. On campus is the Home Depot Center, a multi-purpose sports complex that hosts world-class soccer, tennis, track and field, lacrosse, and cycling.

Media Contact: Laura Perdew (310)243-3264

Monday, April 12, 2010

Director Says Documentary a Story of African American Resolve

(Worcester, Mass.) -- David A. Wilson, writer and co-director of the documentary “Meeting David Wilson,” said he worked on this project not only to tell a story about America’s post-slavery history, but also to show generations of African Americans that they “come from a history of victors, not victims.”

“If they could have the same reaction as I did (to this story), then it would be worthwhile,” Wilson said. Wilson spoke on Wednesday, April 7 in the Student Center’s Blue Lounge as part of the Diversity Lecture Series.

As a 28-year-old African American journalist, Wilson traveled deep into his family’s past to find the answers to America’s racial divide.

David A. Wilson

David A. Wilson
His journey resulted in “Meeting David Wilson.” In researching his family’s ancestry, Wilson learned of a plantation in North Carolina where his family was once enslaved, and subsequently discovered that the plantation is owned today by a 62-year-old white man—also named David Wilson—who is a direct descendant of his family’s slave master.

Discovering the other David Wilson led to a momentous encounter between two men whose ancestors were on the opposite sides of freedom. Their conversation about slavery, segregation in Caswell County, N.C., and race relations today is captured in-depth in the documentary.
But it developed out of what David A. Wilson described as “one of the strangest conversations” two people could ever have and ended with the two men agreeing to meet one day. Today, they talk on the phone once a month.

Wilson told the audience he also learned that he is only three generations removed from slavery, although he believes its affects still linger in predominantly black communities such as his home city of Newark, N.J. In addition, he found out that, after the Emancipation Proclamation, his great, great grandfather founded the first black church in North Carolina. “This did so much for my self-esteem,” he said.

From slavery to the end of the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans have “had to deal with far worse things than we do today” and persevered in face of incredible challenges, Wilson said. The hardest part of the film for him “was waking up at 4 o’clock in the morning and going to pull tobacco,” he said, half joking. “To think of doing it from sunup to sundown, and to think that this was just a fraction of what they went through, you can’t help but get a little bit angry after you realize what they went through.”

Wilson finds inspiration in someone else he interviewed for the documentary, Daisy Blackwell, who is 100. In the film, she encourages him to focus on today’s problems in African American society. He hopes that “Meeting David Wilson” shows how frank and friendly dialogue can help.

In his interactive, multimedia lecture, Wilson showed pivotal moments from the film, including his conversations with the white David Wilson, clips from a DOLL test session he conducted, and comments by ordinary people about the state of race relations today.

The lecture was sponsored by the Student Center/Student Activities Office and the Disability Services Office. ###

For Immediate Release Contact: Lea Ann Scales Assistant Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing Phone: 508-929-8018 April 12, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Family of Emory Athletics Icon Gives Archive to University Libraries

The late W. Clyde "Doc" Partin was a beloved Emory University icon for more than 50 years-a teacher, coach, athletics director and historian known for his remarkable contributions to the athletics program. Now that his family has given his personal papers, books and sports memorabilia to Emory's Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL), he will have a permanent place within the University.

Partin's son Clyde Partin Jr., an Emory alumnus, physician and professor who has been a member of the MARBL Literary Collections board for the past 10 years, was instrumental in arranging the gift. He and his mother, Betty Partin, and his two siblings, Keith Partin of Charlotte, N.C., and Betsy Partin Vinson of Gainesville, Fla., are making the gift as a family.

W. Clyde 'Doc' Partin

W. Clyde 'Doc' Partin
Partin said the family has been touched by Emory's welcoming response. "We are incredibly pleased that Emory has shown an interest in preserving the sports collections of my father. He was a keen competitor who was devoted to Emory University, the study of baseball and the history of athletics."

The archive includes essays Doc Partin wrote about baseball Hall of Famers such as Babe Ruth, Earle Combs and Frank Robinson, as well as drafts and research notes for those essays. It also includes posters, documents, and baseballs signed by Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, Buck O'Neil and many other legendary players, along with a substantial collection of books related to African American athletes.
These materials will form the nucleus of what the Partin family hopes will evolve into a major collection exploring the role of African Americans in sports and the role of athletics in the struggle for human and civil rights.

"Doc Partin had a hand in nearly every major athletic development in Atlanta for years, from the Atlanta Braves to the Olympics," said Randall K. Burkett, curator of MARBL's African American collections. "One of the lesser known but profoundly important aspects of Partin's career was his eagerness to break down barriers to the success of African American athletes in sports at every level."

Rick Luce, Emory's vice provost and director of libraries, said the family's gift will strengthen MARBL as a resource for the University and the larger community. "The acquisition of the Partin collection adds a new dimension to our holdings addressing the importance of athletics in our culture generally and in the freedom struggle for racial equality," he said. "We are grateful to Mrs. Betty Partin and her family."

The Partin archive also includes extensive records related to the Atlanta Chiefs, the soccer team from the late 1960s that was the brainchild of Partin's close friend Richard A. Cecil, a former executive with the Atlanta Braves. Cecil played a key role in conceiving the idea of a sports archive at Emory.

Partin earned a bachelor's degree from Emory in 1950 and a master's in education in 1951. During his tenure as athletics director from 1966 until 1983, Emory athletics saw unprecedented growth that culminated in the construction of the Woodruff P.E. Center, which opened in 1983. He expanded the number of intercollegiate sports, particularly for female students, with women's tennis being added in 1975 followed by women's cross-country and track and field in the early 1980s. Partin also founded the Emory Sports Fitness Camp, now in its 45th year.

From 1986 until his retirement in 2002, Partin was a professor of physical education. Over the course of his career, he mentored hundreds of young student athletes. Even after his retirement, he kept an office on campus and often manned the press box, announcing during Emory baseball games. Partin's book on the history of Emory athletics, "Athletics for All: The History of Sports at Emory," was released in 2006. He passed away in June 2009.

Betty Partin said the family discovered the treasure trove of materials in the attic of her Decatur home, and she is glad to entrust the archive to Emory. 

"Clyde loved Emory, he loved his collection, and I think he would like very much to have his work at the Emory library," she said.

The Partins' gift is part of Campaign Emory, a $1.6 billion fund-raising endeavor that combines private support and the university's people, places and programs to make a powerful contribution to the world. Investments through Campaign Emory fuel efforts to address fundamental challenges: improving health, gaining ground in science and technology, resolving conflict, harnessing the power of the arts, and educating the heart and mind. ###

  1. Beverly Clark: 404.712.8780