Showing our Buckeye Love during Black History Month
The impact of these six EHE African American faculty emeriti and alumni is extraordinary. What other African American faculty and alumni do you #BuckeyeLove?
For Black History Month, we highlight some of EHE’s illustrious African American faculty emeriti and alumni who have blazed the way for others and earned honors with their accomplishments.
Because we’re also celebrating #BuckeyeLove February 1-14, we’re sharing our #Buckeyelove for these six alumni and faculty emeriti.
After looking over these six stories, join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and share what you appreciate about their achievements using #BuckeyeLove. And let us know what other EHE African American faculty, faculty emeriti and alumni you admire.
Champion of diversity in children’s literature
Rudine Sims Bishop, Faculty Emeritus – Columbus, Ohio
A leading literary scholar, Bishop influenced the growth and appreciation of multicultural children’s literature on an international scale. Her 1982 seminal book was one of the first scholarly criticisms about how African Americans are depicted in children’s books and the impact of those depictions on children’s lives. She published extensively during her tenure at Ohio State from 1986 to 2002. Many awards have been bestowed upon Bishop, including induction into the Reading Hall of Fame. In 2017, she received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Library Association.
Her personal motto: “One foot in the ivory tower; one in the trenches”
Patricia F.R. Cunningham II, ’05 MA, ’11 PhD, 1979 - 2016
Known affectionately as “Dr. Patty,” Cunningham touched the lives of thousands as an educator, mentor and community leader. As director of social change in Ohio State’s Office of Student Life, she created and ran outreach programs to connect marginalized populations with Ohio State students through service learning. Her Buckeye REACH project partnered students with juvenile detainees to help them earn GEDs. Cunningham worked with many of her 600 minority scholars to establish campus organizations, empowering them to succeed. EHE bestowed on her a 2017 Alumni Society Career Achievement Award.
Courageous in judiciary and civic leadership
Robert Morton Duncan, ’48 BS, ’52 JD, 1927 - 2012
Duncan broke racial barriers numerous times during his career. He served as the first African American on the Ohio Supreme Court and was the first African American appointed to the Ohio federal bench. Vern Cunningham, former education dean, called him a pillar of wisdom for making the landmark decision in the 1977 Columbus, Ohio, school desegregation case and overseeing the desegregation plan. Nancy H. Rogers, former law dean, wrote, “Judge Duncan (was) an outstanding public servant, respected jurist and consummate civic leader.” Duncan was inducted into the EHE Hall of Fame in 2004.
Advocating higher education for African Americans
Leonard L. Haynes III, ’75 PhD – Silver Spring, Maryland
A long-time advocate of opportunities for African Americans, Haynes is especially passionate when it comes to helping them access higher education. During the Obama Administration, he was an influential director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as senior director of institutional service for the Office of Postsecondary Education. Most recently, his influence continues as he has become senior advisor to the undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education. The college recognized his contributions by inducting him into the EHE Hall of Fame in 2012.
A courageous innovator of diversity
Gladys Cooper Jennings, ’45 BS – Mill Creek, Washington
Jennings pioneered teaching international nutrition, initiated interdisciplinary efforts and remains a strong voice of diversity. At 16, she was the only black female studying dietetics at Ohio State. She was the first person of color to earn a master’s from Washington State University (WSU) and later became faculty in Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics. She was in the vanguard of designing WSU’s Black Studies Program and developed courses such as International Nutrition. She mentored and guided hundreds of students and colleagues, and after retirement, recruited multicultural students for 17 years. EHE inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 2017.
Never afraid to move the discipline forward
Gwendolyn Sneed O’Neal, ’77 PhD – Greensboro, N.C.
O’Neal is known for two impressive firsts. She was the first African American to be tenured in human ecology at Ohio State, and the first to head a department at Kansas State University. “She has never been afraid to move the discipline forward,” said an alumna who nominated O’Neal for an EHE Alumni Society Award of Distinction, which she received in 2014. O’Neal continues to accumulate outstanding rankings, high research productivity and national scholarship winners for her Department of Retail Studies at the UNC-Greensboro, where she is professor and chair.