Pioneers Club

Tradition. Courage. Success.

In the fall of 1946, Dr. Sumner Bohee ’50, Franklin & Marshall’s first African American student, began his undergraduate studies at the College. More pioneering black students soon joined him, among them Sydney Bridgett ’51, Grant Means ’51, Dr. Henry Wiggins ’55, and the Rogers brothers, Richard Rogers, Esq., ’57, P’90, Lemuel A. Rogers Jr., M.D., '59 and Peter Rogers ’69. In the decades since, a growing body of African American students has contributed significantly to the College in and out of the classroom and beyond campus; more than 800 African American alumni strengthen our communities, lead industries and defend our nation.

Learn more about pioneering Black students and faculty at F&M by visiting the F&M Black History Timeline

In 2016, in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the first black student’s admission to Franklin & Marshall, the African American Alumni Council (AAAC) launched the Pioneers Club. Celebrating the legacy of these pioneering African American students through ongoing philanthropic investment in F&M’s community of color, the club provides means and inspiration for those who aspire to their courage and success.


Pioneers Club members join with their contributions to the Pioneers Fund. Launched in 2016, the fund supports F&M institutions and initiatives that positively influence the ongoing presence and experience of students, faculty, administrators and staff of color at the College.

To contribute online, click the button below, and write “Pioneers Fund” in the notes section.

Portraits by Intisar Hamilton '06

Student Spotlights

Curtis Mark ’23

As an aspiring anesthesiologist, junior Curtis Mark had been searching for Franklin & Marshall College alumni in the field. After connecting with Dr. Michael Fishman ’05, M.D., on the True Blue Network, he embarked on an internship with the Center for Interventional Pain and Spine (CIPS), Since onboarding, Mark has been shadowing patient visits and surgeries, learning about patient charts and how to include notes, learning how to read medications, and getting insight into CIPS studies on chronic pain. He even began his own research study on a topic he always found fascinating: phantom limb pain, which is when patients report feeling pain in a limb even after it has been removed. “All these things I’ve never experienced before I’m getting to learn about,” Mark said. “Being submerged in this environment is really giving me that other component of a liberal arts education I came to F&M for.”

Read more of his story »

 Priorities & Impact

Financial Aid
Making college possible for today’s pioneers

Through financial aid, the College will continue to recruit and retain talented students of color—individuals who will sustain the legacy of our pioneers and those they inspired at F&M over the course of 70 years.

Professional Development and Lifelong Success
Making college and careers work for tomorrow’s alumni of color

The AAAC and the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development have partnered to provide opportunities—national conferences, graduate school applications, prep course fees and more—for students and alumni from underserved communities.

The Black Student Union
A home for F&M’s students of color

Since 1978, the Black Student Union (BSU) has served F&M’s community of color and the College at large through cultural, educational and social initiatives. In addition, the organization builds leaders, promotes unity and contributes to student success.

Africana Studies
Preparing students to succeed in a diverse society by enabling them to see the world from a host of perspectives originating in Africa and regions of the Diaspora

The first F&M academic discipline initiated due to student demand at F&M, Africana Studies also provides a critical examination of factors that have created and shaped the African American and African Diaspora experiences throughout the world.


Other Priorities
Funding special projects or specific areas through the fund

The AAAC periodically reviews priorities and makes adjustments as appropriate. In addition to the aforementioned areas of support, council members can contribute to the Franklin & Marshall Fund and other areas of the College such as arts, athletics, scholarships and academics via the Pioneers Club.

Join the Pioneers Club

The African American Alumni Council firmly believes that any efforts to honor and celebrate our pioneering students and alumni of color must include a concerted effort to elevate, through our philanthropy, students of color at F&M. It is in this spirit that the council has created the Pioneers Club.

The AAAC hopes you, also, will be touched, moved and inspired to give generously to this investment in the future of African Americans and all people of color at the College. 

We invite you to participate. Thank you for your partnership.

Note: When making your gift online, be sure to write "Pioneers Fund" in the notes section.