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Home News 2014 Clark Atlanta University Trustee Makes Landmark Contributions

Clark Atlanta University Trustee Makes Landmark Contributions

Posted on Monday, September 15, 2014

Clark Atlanta University Trustee Delores Aldridge, Ph.D.
Clark Atlanta University Trustee Delores Aldridge, Ph.D., in the former Cole Auditorium

ATLANTA (JUNE 12, 2014) — Clark Atlanta University Trustee Delores P. Aldridge, Ph.D., today announced a leadership gift of $150,000 to the University.  In addition to her monetary contribution, which will be used to strengthen and expand the capacity of the University’s fundraising arm, the double alumna also announced the donation of her academic papers to the University.

Widely revered in academic circles, Aldridge earned the bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Clark College in 1963 and the master’s degree in social work from Atlanta University in 1966.  In 1971, she became the first African-American woman to receive the Ph.D. degree in sociology from Purdue University.  That same year, she became the founding director of the first degree-granting African and African-American Studies Program at a major private university in the South, Emory, as well as the first African-American woman to receive a tenure-track faculty position there.  

In appreciation of her largesse, Clark Atlanta University (CAU) will name the auditorium in its Thomas W. Cole Center for Research in Science and Technology after Aldridge and her late husband, Kwame Essuon, an electrical engineer who was lead supervisor in the development of train control for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s rapid rail system.  Aldridge’s papers, spanning more than four decades of research, pedagogy and commentary, will be housed in the University’s official repository, the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Archives.

“Clark Atlanta has been the strong foundation for my lifelong educational, professional and civic pursuits,” said Aldridge, who came to the University as her high school’s valedictorian in 1959.  She would graduate from Clark College as valedictorian.  She is currently a member of six honorary societies, including: Alpha Kappa Mu. Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Kappa Delta and the International Who’s Who of Intellectuals.  She has served as president of three national scholarly organizations.  “There is an academic energy, a high standard that frames the institution’s academic enterprise.  I hope that my contributions will create opportunities for students to embrace and expand this tradition in the years to come.  I hope that my papers will be considered more as ‘scaffolding” for solutions yet to be created than a pathway into the past.”

Clark Atlanta University President Carlton E. Brown said, “the gift of Aldridge’s writings establishes a rich, contemporary frame of reference in the social sciences that affirms the sterling caliber of scholarship associated with this University and its pivotal role in the study of humans and human issues in our culture.”  Iconic intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois, an American sociologist, historian and activist, completed many of his most seminal works while serving as an Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) instructor, returning after a hiatus to chair the school’s Department of Sociology.

Aldridge is a trailblazer whose work in the fields of race and ethnic relations and the development of African-American studies exemplifies the tradition of Oliver Cox, Charles Johnson and E. Franklin Frazier, and most certainly uplifts the legacies of W.E.B. Du Bois and Whitney M. Young, Jr.   While having delivered countless addresses and lectures both in the USA and abroad, she has more than 160 publications, including 20 books and monographs, chapters in books, articles in scholarly journals and commentaries.  Her work has focused on intergroup relations, women in the labor market, male-female relationships, health and higher education in the African-American community and cultural democracy and social justice. 

Over nearly four decades, Dr. Aldridge has been the recipient of more than 100 awards including the American Sociological Association’s Cox, Johnson Frazier Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.   She became the first professor at a major university to receive a chair named in honor of a living African-American woman, Grace Towns Hamilton. Aldridge was an outstanding teacher and mentor to countless students at Emory and other universities.  The National Association of Emory Alumni celebrated her as a Great Teacher of the Century in 1992.  She never missed a class in nearly four decades, a pedagogical era that concluded with her retirement in 2011. Her expertise in the stratification of gender, race and ethnicity, her high rate of productivity as a scholar-teacher, as well as her knowledge and experience in the establishment of African-American studies have made her a highly sought after consultant by universities, foundations and corporations.  She has served as a consultant to more than 90 foreign governments. Prior to arriving at Emory to launch an academic career, she served as a major administrator of three social welfare and human rights organizations in Ireland, Indiana, and Florida.

She has garnered recognition for countless contributions to the fields of sociology, African-American studies and black women’s studies, illuminating her numerous professional and community contributions, and certainly her preeminence as a public intellectual.  In 2000, the University established the Aldridge-McMillan Biennial Faculty and Staff Achievement Awards, to honor her commitment to excellence, along with that of Trustee Emeritus Elridge McMillan, Ph.D.  In 2003, Emory University inaugurated the Delores P. Aldridge Excellence Awards and, in 2011, The Delores P. Aldridge Graduate Fellowship. The National Black Herstory Task Force in 2010 established the Delores P. Aldridge Academic Achievement Award.

Aldridge served as a member of the former Clark College Board of Trustees and has served as a member of the Clark Atlanta University Board of Trustees since the University’s consolidation in 1988.  She currently serves as Board Secretary and Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee.

Clark Atlanta University is one of the nation’s foremost research institutions and the only private HBCU designated a research institution by the Carnegie Foundation.  The University’s 3,500 students hail from across the United States and are engaged in 38 different academic disciplines in pursuit of bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.  Established in 1988 by the consolidation of Atlanta University (1865), the nation’s first African-American graduate school, and Clark College (1969) the nation’s first private liberal arts college serving a primarily African-American student population, the University today is home to breakthrough research facilities, including the Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development, The Center for Nanoscale Materials and, of course, the Whitney M. Young Jr. School of Social Work.

For more information on how you can support the academic mission of Clark Atlanta University, contact Trisa Long Paschal, vice president for Institutional Advancement and University Relations, tpaschal@cau.edu or call 404-880-6189.

Category: Leadership
Keywords: Aldridge, Donations, Trustee, Archives