Of Virginia Tops Journal’s Survey Of African-American Graduation
Rates For The 10th Straight Year
December 10, 2003 --
the 10th straight year, the University of Virginia posted the nation’s
highest African-American graduation rate among major public institutions,
according to an annual survey
this week by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.
six-year graduation rates compiled by the National Collegiate
Association, the journal’s current issue credits U.Va. with graduating
85 percent of the African-American students who entered in the fall of 1996.
That figure placed U.Va. first among NCAA Division I public institutions, and
tied Dartmouth College for 18th-best among all 327 Division I schools, public
the black graduation rate was 39 percent, the journal said.
was the leader “by far” among flagship state universities,
according to the journal. The next-highest rates among flagship schools
were found at the University of New Hampshire (66 percent),
the University of
North Carolina-Chapel Hill (66 percent), the University of
percent) and the University of Delaware (64 percent). The journal noted
state universities educate three-fourths of all African-American college
students in the United States.”
President John T. Casteen III hailed the news.
“African-American students have been one of the great success stories here
at the University of Virginia,” he said. “They come to us in large
numbers from families and schools that have made serious commitments to them
childhood. They bring their talents, their enthusiasms and convictions,
their ambitions, and their determination to succeed, and indeed they do succeed — as
this year's new calculation of graduation rates attests.
graduating student is a personal success story. Together, these
students have proved by their successes that they can take on the
hardest challenges, overcome them, and move on into the adult
to take their
places as leaders, and makers, and women and men who are at once
thoughtful and creative.
share their families’ and their professors’ great
pride in their accomplishments.”
the article accompanying the rankings, the journal cited U.Va.
for its orientation and
retention programs for African-American
journal lists several other factors as possible explanations
for black students’ success
at top-ranked universities, including favorable racial climates,
locations near African-American population centers, a critical
mass of black students on campus,
curricular issues, and the availability of financial aid.
Rick Turner, dean of U.Va.’s Office of African-American
Affairs, said the University’s ranking is the result of
a collaborative effort. His office works hand-in-hand with the
Office of Admission, alumni and even current students’ parents
to recruit top black students, he said. The OAAA’s Peer
Advising Program assigns mentors to admitted students even
before they arrive. On the first day
they move in, they are welcomed by Turner, Casteen and a Board
of Visitors member.
don’t stop after the first year,” Turner said. “We
continually monitor the progress of African-American students.
see this as a welcoming, nurturing institution, in spite of our
occasional issues,” Turner said. “And we don’t
hide from those issues.” When
racial issues are raised, they are confronted, discussed
and used as “teachable
moments,” he said.
College was credited with having the top black graduation rate
in the country
at 95 percent, followed
by Colgate, Harvard
(each with 92 percent). The top 17 schools in the rankings
were private, selective
U.Va., the 333 African-American students made up 11.8 percent
of the entering class in 1996-97, according
Carol Wood, (434) 924-6189