By: Monique Davis, Co-Lifestyle Editor
On Sept. 24, Dr. Donna J. Nicol and selected students gathered in the Dean’s Conference Room to discuss the beginning of the first West Coast chapter of The W.E.B. DuBois National Honors Society.
Established in 1991, the program was created to honor W.E.B DuBois, a prolific and influential civil rights activist, historian, writer, educator, and one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Though one of the most pre-eminent African Americans in American history, the honors society is designed for all scholars to advance their academic excellence and to captivate their communities through service.
Before DuBois, who lived from 1868-1963, became the first African American to earn a doctorate, he was the leader of the Niagara Movement, a group of activists who fought for the equal rights of African Americans. DuBois strongly advocated for full civil rights and increased political representation, while tirelessly battling against discrimination.
Nicol, an associate professor and chair of the Africana Studies Department, kicked off the meeting by introducing herself , then welcomed the attendees and asked them to introduce themselves with their names, year, and majors.
“The purpose of the W.E.B DuBois Honors Society is to achieve academic excellence in all fields of education,” Nicol said. “[It] is also to engage in the service of others and to recognize the leadership and accomplishments of the society’s members.”
Dr. Nicol highlighted that the honors society is open to all races, genders, and majors as long as they are sophomores or higher and maintain a minimum of a 3.3 cumulative GPA.
“It is important for students to become involved in this program for two primary reasons,” Nicol said. “ One is to honor their academic hard work, but the second is to expose them to the teaching and the philosophy of W.E.B. DuBois. He was a pioneering thinker when it comes to talking about race, education, and Pan- African studies. Giving that kind of exposure to DuBois at the same time of celebrating student’s academic achievements is important.”
According to the W.E.B DuBois Honors Society website, “ students will have a distinction among their peers at local and national levels, identification as an individual of successful academic ability, leadership opportunities on the national and local level, pins and graduation cords of honor, and lifetime membership.” Students who join will also have the chance to run for leadership positions within the society.
Students are very excited about the start of this new program and the great lengths the Africana Studies department is going to highlight African- American academic excellence.
“As an African- American, I feel like this program is necessary and a great opportunity,” Deja Anderson, a senior health science major, said. “There are hundreds, if not thousands of black scholars on our campus, and they aren’t getting the proper recognition they deserve. I believe the W.E.B. DuBois Honors Society will create a positive and uplifting environment for African- American scholars.”
The West Coast Chapter recognition and student induction will take place in Spring 2020. Members of the society will also have to pay a $25 induction fee. An official application will be sent to students at the beginning of October, and the deadline to turn in the application is Nov. 1.