Friday, July 2, 2010

First African–American Graduate of College of Education Deceased at 95

COLLEGE PARK, MD (June 2010) – On July 9, 1951, Rose Shockley Wiseman earned her M.Ed. One of the first three African–American students to receive a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, that commencement day marked her first visit to the then segregated campus.

Wiseman was part of a new UM program that offered African–Americans the opportunity to enroll in off–campus, in–service education studies to earn a master’s degree. Professor Daniel Prescott, who founded the Institute for Child Study in 1947 in the then School of Education, coordinated efforts to offer classes to students at various levels in the child study program.

"The professors were shuttled from the university each day—one arrived to teach his or her scheduled class as the other completed his hours and returned to College Park," Wiseman recalled in a 2003 interview for the College.

Rose Shockley Wiseman

Rose Wiseman as a Teacher at Bates School, Annapolis, 1950's. She was one of the first African-American students to receive a Master's degrees at College Park.

Photo Courtesy of Rose Wiseman.
She and two other students were the only African Americans who completed the fourth–year program offered through summers studies at Bowie State University. On graduation day, she recalled marching with her two colleagues "across the squishy grass (it had rained the night before) to the exercises on the green and stepping into the gap left for us in line." Dr. H. Curly Byrd, president of UM at the time, conferred the ‘covetous’ degrees, with Governor Theodore McKeldin and Baltimore City mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., in attendance.

Born in Salem, N.J. on May 11, 1915, Wiseman began her teaching career in Charles County. After attending Hampton Institute,
where she received her B.S. in 1940, she returned to teach in the County where she also worked in a war–time spotter station as part of a Board of Education’s requirement for teachers. After that she was the principal of a two–room elementary school in Bowie, Md., for seven years, then worked as an educator at Bates Jr.–Sr. High School from 1950–1965. In 1965 she transferred to Arundel Senior High School in Gambrills, Md. Two years later she joined Bowie State College (now Bowie State University) as an associate professor. While at Bowie State, she also taught night adult education classes at Bowie High School in Prince George’s County. When she resigned from the College in 1969, the Board of Education of Anne Arundel County appointed her the first head teacher of its GED Center.

Wiseman retired in 1971 due to health concerns, but still traveled extensively and was active in several organizations, including the University of Maryland Alumni Association, NAACP, Bowie State University Alumni, Banneker–Douglas Museum, Inc., Ebo Arts, and the Friends of St. John’s College.

In 2003, in recognition of her unique role in helping shape Maryland’s history, the College of Education presented Wiseman with its first Dean’s Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2004, she was named the College’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year and honored by the University of Maryland Alumni Association at its annual Awards Gala.

Wiseman passed away on May 31, 2010. Preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Joseph Alexander Wiseman, she is survived by their son, Adrian Darius Wiseman, daughter-in-law, Christelle Newman Wiseman, and two grandchildren–Anedra Wiseman Bourne and Christopher Wiseman.

The College of Education extends its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the late Rose Shockley Wiseman. -end-

For more information on the College of Education, visit: or contact Jenniffer Manning-Scherhaufer, Assistant Director for Communications, at:

No comments:

Post a Comment