Franklin & Marshall College Black History Timeline 

1946

Sumner Bohee ‘50 is the first African American student admitted.

1948

Fanasi Mgbako '51 (Nigeria) is the first African student admitted.

1950

Sumner Bohee '50 is the first African American graduate. 

1951

Fanasi Mgbako ‘51 (Nigeria) is the first African graduate.

1963

William H. Gray III '63 graduates from F&M.

Martin Luther King Jr. visits F&M.

1964

Professor Samuel Allen is the first African American faculty member (Russian History).

1966

Professor Adebisi Otudeko (Nigeria) is the first African faculty member (Anthropology).

1967

The Afro-American Society is formed.

1969

Professor Samuel Allen is the first African American faculty member awarded tenure (Russian History).

1970

The Black Cultural Center is established.

1971

Beverly Nelson Muldrew ‘71 is the first African American woman graduate.*

1972

Henry Wiggins Jr., M.D., '55, P'91 is the first African American president of the Alumni Association.

1974

Henry Wiggins Jr., M.D., '55, P'91 is the first African American awarded the Alumni Medal.

1975

The Black Student Union is formed.

1978

Henry Wiggins Jr., M.D., '55, P'91 is the first African American trustee elected.

1986

William H. Gray III '63 is the first African American to serve as Commencement speaker.

1987

The Henry Wiggins Jr., M.D., '55 scholarship is established.

1988

William H. Gray III '63 serves as speaker at the Inauguration of President Richard Kneedler.

1989

The African American Alumni Council is founded.

1990

The William H. Gray Jr. scholarship program is established.

1992

Student protest to establish an Africana Studies program is held on campus. 

1993

H. Art Taylor '80 is awarded with the Volunteer of the Year Award.

1994

The Africana Studies program is established (minor offered).

The African American Alumni Graduation program is established.

1995

Donnell Butler ’95 is the first African American to win the Williamson Award.

1999

The Africana Studies major is approved.

2001

Carla Willard is the first African American female faculty member awarded tenure (American Studies).*

Eiman O. Zein-Elabdin is the first African female faculty member awarded tenure (Economics).* 

2004

Intelligent Men-of-Color Purposefully Accomplishing College Together (IMPACT) is founded.

2005

Sophisticated Intelligent Sisters Teaching Excellence Responsibility and Success (S.I.S.T.E.R.S) is founded.

Henry Wiggins Jr., M.D., '55, P'91 is awarded the Presidential Medal. 

Wanda Pompey Austin, Ph.D., ‘75 is honored with an Alumni Citation.

2007

Pierre Ankomah (Ghana) is the first African to win the Williamson Award.

2011

Daniel G. Lugo is the first African American vice president hired (Admissions).

Cass Cliatt is the first African American woman vice president hired (College Communications).

Performing Identities was the first production at the College written, directed and performed entirely by African Americans.

Sydney N. Bridgett '51 is awarded the Nevonian Medal.

2012

The Sydney Bridgett ’51 Awards are established.

2014

Coming Back and Looking Forward: Celebrating 25 Years of the African American Alumni Council

The 20th Anniversary of the African American Alumni Council Graduation Breakfast.

Shadoe G. Tarver ’10 is awarded the GOLD Alumni Award.

2017

Dr. Wanda Austin '75 is the first African American woman to serve as Commencement speaker.

Timeline created by the AAAC, with the assistance of Mike Lear, archives and special collections assistant. *Not all information could be verified.

  • Fanasi Mgbako '51 was the first African student to attend and graduate from F&M. Fanasi Mgbako '51 was the first African student to attend and graduate from F&M.
  • Professor Samuel Allen was the first African American faculty member hired by F&M, and the first African American faculty member to receive tenure in 1969. Professor Samuel Allen was the first African American faculty member hired by F&M, and the first African American faculty member to receive tenure in 1969.
  • The first African American woman to graduate from F&M was Beverly Nelson Muldrew ‘71. The first African American woman to graduate from F&M was Beverly Nelson Muldrew ‘71.
  • Sydney Bridgett '51 was in the second class of African American graduates from Franklin & Marshall College. Sydney Bridgett '51 was in the second class of African American graduates from Franklin & Marshall College.