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Tuskegee, Touchdowns and More

Tuskegee, Touchdowns and More

We couldn’t go into the New Year without recognizing the contributions that Tuskegee University has made over the past 125 years. Senior writer Ronald Roach traveled to Alabama in November to report our cover story, “Tuskegee’s Enduring Pragmatism.” Established in 1881, the historically Black university, known for its many historic contributions to Southern agriculture, continues to be a leader in attracting and graduating minority scientists.

And while Tuskegee’s past is impressive, they are working hard to remain relevant. They have added doctoral programs in the sciences and engineering, and they held the formal opening in October of the federally sponsored National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care on campus. The infamous Tuskegee experiment was a catalyst for locating the center at the university.

“It is the aim of the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care to transform this particular legacy of racism and abuse,” said University President Benjamin F. Payton.

And while we’re on the topic of Black colleges, Diverse correspondent Add Seymour Jr., in “Pigskin Payday,” reports on the lucrative HBCU football classics. These highly popular games, such as the State Farm Bayou Classic, generate enough revenue to keep some athletic departments afloat for the entire season.

Says Troy Mathieu, Grambling State University’s athletic director: “Over the years, the classics have been a great financial windfall for our universities. But just as important as the revenue piece, it takes our universities into other parts of the country and serves as a recruiting tool for not only athletics, but our universities as a whole.”

In our annual “Year in Review,” we look back at some high-profile events in higher education.

The biggest higher ed news story of the year was probably the alleged rape of an exotic dancer and North Carolina Central University student by members of the Duke University men’s lacrosse team. Issues of race, class and gender would become intertwined in the scandal. And a year after Harvard University President Lawrence Summers appointed task forces on women to support gender diversity at the university, he stepped down in June, making his often controversial five-year tenure one of the shorter presidential reigns at the Ivy League institution.

We also remember the educators and public figures we lost in 2006, including literature professor Dr. Nellie McKay, Alcorn State President Clinton Bristow, civil rights icon Coretta Scott King and award-winning journalist Ed Bradley.

Enjoy looking back over the year’s events, and as we publish this final edition of 2006, on behalf of the Diverse staff, I wish you a happy, healthy and safe New Year!

Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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