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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)April 10, 2003

(Mahwah) – Dr. Mary Frances Berry, chair of the Civil Rights Commission and Geraldine R. Segal professor of American social thought at the University of Pennsylvania, will be the keynote speaker at the second annual Conference on the State of the African American Professoriate at Ramapo College of New Jersey. The conference, subtitled Challenges and Responsibilities,” will open Wednesday, April 16 and continue through noon on Saturday, April 19. Berry’s talk is scheduled on Thursday at noon at the Sheraton Crossroads.

The Wednesday sessions will focus on college students with a panel on college attitudes, a workshop on the fraternity and sorority experience, a theatrical performance, and a lecture, Black Power, Black Theology and Human Development,” by Dr. James Cone, distinguished professor of systematic theology at Union Theological Seminary.

Thursday’s and Friday’s sessions will include such diverse topics as African-Americans in the Science Professoriate,” The Demise of the African-American Law School Faculty,” A Progressively Endangered Species: The Ethiopian Academy Under Three Regimes,” and Affirmative Action: The Untold Story at Michigan.” Ed Gordon, former host, BET News at Night, is the featured speaker at an African-American achievement banquet to be held Thursday at 7 p.m.

Conference participants can take advantage of a trip to Harlem scheduled Friday afternoon. The Harlem Experience” will feature a visit to Silvia’s Restaurant, tickets to The Jackie Wilson Story at the Apollo Theater and an evening at the Lenox Lounge.

Dr. Mary France Berry was educated at Howard University, the University of Michigan (Ph.D. in history) and the University of Michigan Law School. She has been awarded 30 honorary doctorates and numerous awards including the NAACP’s Image Award, the Rosa Parks Award of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Hubert Humphrey Award of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. Dr. Berry was assistant secretary for education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare during the Carter Administration. In 1980, she was appointed by President Carter and confirmed by the Senate as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 1993, President Clinton designated her chairperson of the Civil Rights Commission. She was re-appointed in January 1999.

The State of the African American Professoriate Conference: Challenges and Responsibilities is sponsored by The Africana Institute at Ramapo College of New Jersey. For more information on the conference or tickets to the Berry lecture, call Henry Vance Davis, (201) 684-7624.


Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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