Ivy league


When Michelle Obama was in high school, a college counselor said she didn’t think the promising teen had what it took to get into Princeton University.

The former first lady details this pivotal experience in her new memoir, ” Becoming.”

Obama says that at the beginning of her senior year at Whitney M. Young High School, a Chicago magnet school, she was required to meet with a college counselor.

At the time, she had her sights set on the New Jersey Ivy League school because her older brother Craig was there.

But she got a blow when the counselor said it didn’t appear she was good enough to get in.

“‘I’m not sure,’ she said, giving me a perfunctory, patronizing smile, “that you’re Princeton material,'” Obama recalled the woman saying.

Obama said she can’t remember details about the woman her race or her age because she “deliberately and almost instantly blotted this experience out.”

She decided to disregard the advice and apply to Princeton anyway.

“I wasn’t going to let one person’s opinion dislodge everything I thought I knew about myself,” she said.

Instead, she “settled down and got back to work.”

Six or seven months later she got her acceptance letter in the mail.

“I never did stop in on the college counselor to tell her she’d been wrongthat I was Princeton material after all. It would have done nothing for either of us,” Michelle writes in the book.

She added: “And in the end, I hadn’t needed to show her anything. I was only showing myself.”

While Princeton initially intimidated her, by her sophomore year she learned that she was just as smart as everyone else there.

“I tried not to feel intimidated when classroom conversation was dominated by male students, which it often was,” she wrote. “Hearing them, I realized that they weren’t at all smarter than the rest of us. They were simply emboldened, floating on an ancient tide of superiority, buoyed by the fact that history had never told them anything different.”

Credit: Business Insider

Beginning August 15 2018, Harvard University now have four  its schools led by Black women, which is the first time in the Ivy League institution’s history, reports The Harvard Crimson.

Last year,  Professor Claudine Gay became the latest string of Black women to be appointed to dean positions at the university. Her role as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will make her the first woman and first African American to hold that position. In an interview following the announcement, Gay said she hopes her new promotion will inspire other women and people of color, similar to how former University President Drew G. Faust inspired her as Harvard’s first female president.

“If my presence in this role affirms someone’s sense of belonging and ownership, the same way Drew’s appointment affirmed my sense of belonging, then I think that’s great,” said Gay. “And for people who are sort of beyond our gates, if this prompts them to look again and look anew at Harvard and imagine new possibilities for themselves, I think that’s great as well.”

In 2016, Michelle Williams became the first Black person to head a faculty at Harvard, and the first Black woman to lead the Longwood-based School of Public Health. In May and April, Tomiko Brown-Nagin and Bridget Terry-Long became the first African American women deans at the Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study and the Graduate School of Education, respectively.

Before their appointments, Evelynn Hammonds served as the first female and African American dean for the History of Science school for five years until 2013.

John S. Wilson, a senior advisor and strategist on Harvard University’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, calls these recent dean appointments “significant” considering Harvard has long been known as a predominately white institution.

“To now be moving into a phase of Harvard’s life where people who don’t meet that profile are now empowered to advance Harvard, it just signals that Harvard is getting ready for a new future for itself and for the country and for the world,” he said.