Prestigious Harvard University made history this spring when it accepted the largest percentage of Black students to its freshman class in school history, capping with a series of notable individual achievements by Black students targeting Ivy League institutions.
According to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Black students comprised nearly 12 percent of those accepted to Harvard, which grants admission to just 5.9 percent of those who apply. Of the 2,000 students admitted to the university this year, approximately 170 are Black, according to the youth-oriented website PolicyMic.com.
The news comes on the heels of impressive achievements by two particular youths. Avery Coffey, a student at Washington, D.C.’s Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, received acceptances and scholarship offers from five Ivy League schools, including Harvard, according to Fox News.
Not to be outdone, Long Island, N.Y. native Kwasi Enin was accepted to all eight Ivy League schools. Neither Enin nor Coffey have publicly said where they plan to attend, according to media reports.
The recent increase of African Americans at Harvard follows an effort by that university’s Black Student Association, which created the “I, Too, Am Harvard” project on Tumblr to address issues of Black identity and concerns from Black students at Harvard.
Dr. Boyce Watkins, a finance professor at Syracuse University praised Harvard’s accomplishment, but said he would like higher institutions to further diversify college campuses.
“Even though the presence of Black students is very important to a campus, the reality is that admitting students of color neither requires significant courage nor shows any real sign of meaningful progress when it comes to truly shaping the direction of a university,” Watkins told eurweb.com. “The holy grail of power in any academic environment is the number of tenured faculty positions, which Harvard continues to keep African Americans from obtaining.”