Black Women Climbing the Ladder of Success

Over the last week black women have been making major moves in both the academic administration of major universities and in academic achievements in college. Find out who they are.

About a month ago, many young black men were taking the world by storm with their admissions to multiple Ivy League universities. This month, and in particular over the last week, black women have made some serious moves up the ladder of success. The black women in this story aren’t corporate America titans though, they are making their moves through the ranks in academic administration to take up the titles of dean, president, and college graduate. Find out about some of these phenomenal women below:

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The Rev. Bridgette Young Ross has been appointed dean of the chapel and spiritual life at Emory, beginning July 1. (Photo Credit: Emory Photo/Video)

After a seven month search that yielded over 130 nominations and applicants, Chicago native Rev. Bridgette Young Ross clenched the deal to succeed Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe as the new Dean of Chapel and Spiritual Life at Emory University. Ross is no stranger to Emory, having served as the associate dean of the chapel from 2000-2009 before she left to be the assistant general secretary of the United Methodist Church Board of Higher Education and Ministry in Nashville, Tennessee. As the dean of the chapel and spiritual life Ross will “engage students, faculty and staff in questions of spiritual meaning through collaborations with our various schools and divisions and she will both provide leadership on ethical issues confronting the university and represent the religious dimensions of Emory to the broader world,” said Emory President James Wagner. Click here for more information on Ross’s appointment.

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Erika Hayes James has been named dean of Goizueta Business School, beginning July 15.( Photo Credit: Jim Carpenter)

Just about a stones throw away, Emory’s Goizueta Business School appointed Erika Hayes James as their new dean. James, who will begin in her new role on July 15, is the 95 year-old business school’s first African-American dean. She comes to Goizueta with a PhD in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and years of experience working at the intersection of organizational psychology and executive leadership. James hopes to facilitate a deeper connection between the business school and Atlanta’s business community and other universities. Of this she says, “I see a real opportunity to align business thought leadership in Atlanta and, in the tradition of the academy, to bring research to bear on challenges.” For more information on her appointment, click here.

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Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice the newly appointed CEO of Morehouse School of Medicine (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Morehouse School of Medicine)

Across town, Morehouse School of Medicine is in the process of welcoming Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice as their new president. Dr. Rice, a Harvard-educated and renowned obstetrician and gynecologist, will not only be MSM’s first female president but she will be the nation’s first African-American woman to lead a free-standing medical school. As an article in The Root indicated last year, Dr. Rice’s move is a significant because of the under-representation of black women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Dr. Rice will also encourage the next generation of medical practitioners with what she credits as her secret to success, “passion.” In the aforementioned Root article she stated, “The one thing I have always been fortunate to have is passion.” As a woman, Dr. Rice is also in touch with the fact that women are, primarily, the ones making health decisions for the family and she is concerned with helping them to take care of themselves and made better choices. She is credited with founding the Meharry Center for Women’s Health Research in Nashville, Tennessee, which is one of the nation’s first research facilities devoted to studying diseases that disproportionately impact women of color. Fortunately, Dr. Rice won’t have to do much moving to begin her new position, as she is currently dean of the school of medicine and the executive vice president.

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Three generations from the same Hope Mills family are graduating with honors from different schools this spring. Kathleen Collins, left, and her daughter Tori Collins- Newcombe, center, are Fayetteville State graduates while Tori’s daughter Nmyia Collins, right, is an honor student at Massey Hill Classical and will graduate in June.

The last of the success stories is certainly not least and is also quite sweet. Earlier this month, three generations of family graduated from two schools. Kathleen Collins and her daughter Tori Collins-Newcombe both graduated from Fayetteville state with a bachelor’s degree in social work and sociology, respectively. Toni’s daughter, 18-year-old Nmyia, will graduate from Massey Hill Classical High School. So how did they do it? Obviously through plenty of hard work and studying, but they were also intentional about graduating together. Once Tori raised her children, she decided to enter Fayetteville State alongside her mother and take a heavy course load in order to graduate with her. Both mother and daughter plan to pursue masters’ degrees in social work while the youngest generation of the Collins family plans to major in biology at Winston-Salem State as the precursor to a career in medicine.

We salute these women and more across the nation and world who are making moves on the daily.

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