1995: Presidential Transitions

Article excerpt

1995: Presidential Transitions.

For Black administrators, the year began on a upbeat note with the ascension of Ruth Simmons to the helm of Smith College.

The appointment of the former vice provost of Princeton University marked the first time an African American assumed the helm of one of the prestigious and conservative Seven Sisters colleges.

For African-American women in the academy, the appointment was a seminal moment, according to Deborah Carter, associate director of the Office of Minority Affairs at the American Council on Education.

"A big issue for minorities, especially Black women, is having support from friends and colleagues to help them negotiate in negative times," says Carter.

"There are more women in those positions now. We're still few in number but women have more difficulty in the positions commanding the kind of respect that men do," Carter said.

But a wave of departures overshadowed Simmon's appointment.

The world of Black higher education was shaken by the announced departure of Dr. Samuel Myers as head of the National Association For Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.

Under Myers's leadership over 17 years, NAFEO's role as the umbrella group for public and private historically and predominantly Black colleges and universities resulted in an estimated $1 billion in federal funds being directed to Black institutions. …