Significant Historical Events

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Events Table
Date Event
1934-35 Zerah Priestly enters Evansville College as the first known African American to attend.
1935-36 Vera Shane enters Evansville College.
1936-37 Zerah Priestly (junior), Vera Shane (sophomore), and Virginia Higgins (freshman) attend Evansville College.
1937-38 First African American to graduate from UE: Zerah Priestly.
1938-39 Vera Lee Shane graduates from Evansville College with a Bachelor of Science in Social Science, and a minor in education. Vera follows Zerah Priestly as the second African American four year graduate of Evansville College. Gertie Gracey who transferred to Evansville College also graduates receiving a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.
1939-40 Virginia Higgins graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Music, with a minor in English.
1940-50 Several African American students receive A.B. degrees. Helen Jones 1941, A.B. Home Economics; Hazel Gracey 1944, A.B. Elementary Education; Anna Mae Dawson 1944, A.B. Elementary Education; Amaryellis Martin 1947, A.B. Elementary Education; and Oscar Dampier 1950 A.B. Secondary Education.
1943-44 William Bell was among several Evansville College students in Who’s Who. Mr. Bell was a World War II veteran serving two and a half years in the Marine Corps.
1946-47 Samuel Brooks served on the Evansville College Student Council and Fine Arts Committee. Fred Duncan was a member of Pi Kappa a fraternity that consisted of black and white males.
1947-48 William Bell, now a junior, is in Who’s Who. James Barbee is secretary in Pi Kappa fraternity and is also a member of the International Relations Club. Fred Duncan remains a member of Pi Kappa.
1948-49 William Bell, Fred Duncan, and James Barbee graduate from Evansville College. They are apparently the first African-American males to graduate from Evansville College. William Bell again is in Who’s Who as is James Barbee. William Bell is also on the Dean’s List. Angelo Howard runs track on the Evansville College team.
1949-50 J. Hambleton is in the Pi Gamma Mu National Honor Society.
1950-51 The “Ivy Leaf Club” consisting of twelve African-American Females is organized to become a future chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Officers were Jacqueline Wiley, Mary Coleman, and Pat Whitticker. Imogene Merritt is part of the Gamma Delta Freshman sorority.
1951-52 Edmund Fly is part of the Crescent staff.
1952-53 Edmund Fly is voted student government Vice President. He also graduates with a B.A. in Elementary Education. Imogene Merritt is a candidate for homecoming queen. Charles Hildreth is a member of Phi Mu Alpha and Vice President of the Class of 1954. Frances Coleman was the 1953 basketball beauty nominee. Marian Anderson (nationally famous singer) performs in Evansville and poses for a photograph with members of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Edmund Fly serves as President of Pi Kappa.
1954-55 Jim Smallins plays on the Aces basketball team. Gwendolyn Williams, a freshman Biology major, is the Ivy Leaf candidate for the basketball queen. Everett Winters is a candidate for student government Vice President.
1955 First African American to quarterback UE Football, Willie Saucer.
1956-57 J. Palmer and Dee Matthews are on campus radio station WEVC. Dee Matthews directs Musical Madness. Alpha Kappa Alpha is reactivated as a sorority. Members are Ann Arnett, Joan Harris, Roberta Arnett, Marguerite Lander, Hadie Miller, Frances Saunders, Gwen Williams, Juanita Holbrook, Laura Wilson Margaret Wilson and Delphyne Sydnor.
1957 Talmadge Vick ’58 Records Set at Evansville College: Longest TD Pass Yards Completed in one game (81yds); Most Passing Yardage; Most Passes Completed; Percentage of Passes Completed; Fifth leading passer in the nation 1957 (Official Collegiate Football Record Book); Offer from NFL Chicago Cardinals Football Organization to Play Professional Football from Coach Roy Richards - 1958.
  National Scoring Stats: INDIVIDUAL SCORING G TD PAT TP Talmadge Vick, Evansville, Five (5) Touchdown Passes in one game. Fifth leading passer in the nation 1957- TD Percentage of passes completed- (Official Collegiate Football Record Book)
1960-61 Willie Brimm is co-captain of the Aces football team.
1964-65 Anthony Brooks plays on the Aces tennis team. Kappa Alpha Psi establishes a colony at Evansville College called the Scroller Club. Anthony Brook is President, Bill Miller is Vice President, and Herb Williams is Secretary. Sam Watkins is a Bachelor of the Year candidate. Leslie Ford, freshman music major participates in the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march and explains the event to a Crescent reporter. Evansville College African American students participate in a panel discussion “Is There Discrimination at Evansville College?”
1964-69 Ron Glass receives the “Sammy Award” and is featured in several UE Theatre productions.
1965-66 John O’Neal of Kappa Alpha Psi is a Bachelor of Year Candidate
1965-66 UE Basketball Aces go undefeated led by Larry Humes, Herb Williams, and Sam Watkins.
1966 Epsilon Iota Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity is established.
1966-67 Civil rights leader James Farmer, founder of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), spoke in the Great Hall.
1967 Nifty Nine Women's Group established.
1968-69 Ellen Price is voted Homecoming Queen as a nominee of Moore Hall. Cleo Walker is on the Aces wrestling team.
1969-70 Excerpt from Linc: “The brothers of Phi Kappa Tau, take the lead to establish precedents-not afraid to admit brothers of all races...”. Walt Purcell is one of two black males to join Phi Kappa Tau. PKT is the first U.E. fraternity with black and white members since the days of Pi Kappa.
1970-71 Dionne Warwick featured at Winter Weekend. Following the lead of Phi Kappa Tau, African American Jim Ruster becomes a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. A fashion show in Harper Dining Center featured casual, formal and beach wear designed by a young, black, Evansville high school student. The event was part of a city wide Black Culture Week. Young blacks from the University campus and the Evansville community modeled the original designs while pop music was provided by a live combo. Pat English and the Nifty Nine black women’s social sorority was concerned with the black community and the social life on campus. In the Linc is a photograph listing James Wilson and an unnamed black female student as members of the Black Student Union.
1971-72 M. Shane is member of Lambda Chi Alpha. K. Knox is member of Phi Kappa Tau. Photograph of Black Student Union shows twenty students. The Nifty Nine continues with J. Austin, P. English, D. Coakley, R. Bonds, J. Webb.
1972-73 John Lee joins Phi Kappa Tau. Karen Tipton is a candidate for Homecoming Queen. President Wallace Graves initiated a leadership development program for community blacks in Evansville. President Graves also proposed development of scholarships for academically qualified Evansville area black students.
1974-75 Vanessa Green is one of two African American females competing for title of Miss UE. Twenty eight Black Student Union members are in the Linc in BSU T-shirts. One member is a white female.
1975-76 Michael V. Smith is featured on WUEV playing urban music. Charles Caldwell is a member of Student Congress and attends Northwestern Law School after graduating from UE. Poet Nikki Giovanni appeared at UE as dinner guest and featured speaker for a Black Student Union sponsored event.
1976-77 Joette Bailey is a candidate for Homecoming Queen. Jackie Davis is an Acette. Linda Agnew is in Who’s Who.

African American students Warren Alston (Freshman); Mike Joyner (Freshman); Barney Lewis (Freshman); John Ed Washington (Senior); and Tony Winburn (Senior) are among those who perished in the plane crash of the University of Evansville’s basketball team on December 13, 1977.

TD the DJ, WUEV personality Terry Moore, is featured at Tuesday night Disco Night at The Indian. The campus activities organization, Union Board, includes Arnell Hill, Terry Moore, Felecia Bonner, and Don Jason. Arnell Hill is on Student Congress. Miranda Taylor is an Acette. Charles Caldwell is honored in Ebony magazine for his accomplishments as a student at Northwestern Law School.

1978-79 Pulitzer Prize winning poet and author Gwendolyn Brooks appears at UE. Future Congresswoman Julia Carson (Indianapolis) speaks at UE.
1979-80 Vernon Jordan, President of the National Urban League and future advisor to President William Clinton, is the commencement speaker. Ron Glass receives UE’s medal of honor. Union Board includes Terry Moore and Len Harris.
1981-82 Teresa Elston is on the women’s tennis team. Mark Hord and Dean Hall star on the men’s tennis team. Kim Williams is on the women’s basketball team. Richie “Magic” Johnson excels on the men’s basketball team. Student Congress features Derrick Wilkerson and Len Harris. Jacquie King, sophomore advertising major, is elected Vice President of Activities/Union Board. Len Harris, Gabrielle Carrol, and Derrick Wilkerson also serve on Union Board. Tonya Johnson works on the Crescent.
1982-83 Javel Carter is the Phi Kappa Tau Little Sister. Student Congress features Jewell Carter and Adrian Jones. Three African American personalities are on WUEV. Sylvia Smith serves on Union Board. The Linc features a classic photo of the Black Student Union with advisor Carolyn Johnson.
1983-84 Delta Sigma Theta serves as co-host for Jesse Jackson fundraiser “an evening with Shirley Chisholm”. Ms. Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-first and to the six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1969-January 3, 1983). Delta Sigma Theta also sponsored a Who’s Who Among Black Students at U.E. and sponsored a dance in honor of the 2nd annual black student conference. The Men of Delta (little brother group) featured Ken Coopwood, Ed Culpepper, Conrad Gordon, Brent Hendon, Erick Jackson, Tony Jackson, Adrian Jones, Ed Wallace, Johnny White, Derrick Wilkerson, and Rick Young. Black Student Union photo includes Shirley Chisholm and UE students Valarie Edwards, Adrienne Jones, Debbie Trotter, Jewel Carter, Conrad Gordon, Carolyn Clark, and Trudie Milton.
1984 First re-enactment of historic 1963 March in Washington
1984-85 Adrian Jones is Student Association Vice President of Activities in Student Congress. Union Board features Byron Scott. Twenty-two students are in the Linc photograph of the Black Student Union. Andrea Henderson is one of first African American females in Alpha Omicron Pi. Also, during this general time frame, Phi Mu has two African American female members. Robert Merriweather was candidate for Big Man on Campus.
1986-87 Four African Americans are featured on Student Congress. Homecoming Candidates are Charice Ealy and Doug Matheson.
1987-88 African American Vernon Currin is member of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE).
1989-90 Eldridge Bolin of Hale Hall is Homecoming King. The Black Student Union becomes the Minority Student Association and has Dawn Lewis of NBC’s “A Different World” as a guest during Evansville’s MLK Jr. Day. Blanchard- Freeman, NASA’s Minority University Program Manager, was keynote speaker. Alpha Kappa Alpha returns featuring L. Watson, T. Cockerham, S. Stewart, B. Smith, and A. Ware. Brian Hill is Phi Mu’s Big Man on Campus Candidate.
1990-91 Ron Glass presides at rededication of Shanklin Theatre. Ella Johnson, former UE student and now a reporter for Evansville Courier, leads discussion “Are the Evansville Media Color Blind?” sponsored by Minority Student Association. Chaka Chandler (Lambda Chi Alpha); Kevin Bates (Phi Kappa Tau); Wendell Parris (TKE) and Allen Parker (Sigma Phi Epsilon); continue the inclusion of African American students into traditional UE Greek organizations. Alpha Omicron Pi African American female member is S. Murdock. The 4th annual Greek Jamboree to promote African American Greeks at colleges is sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha.
1993-94 Annual “Greeks of Color” picnic is held on campus.
1994-95 Tonya Kirkland sings and wins first place at Star Search. Cultural Diversity Club appears on the scene in absence of Black Student Union and Minority Student Association.
1995 Dr. Rose M. (Cole) Mays ’67 Nursing graduate was named to chair the UE 1995-1996 Annual Fund Campaign.
1996 A group of interested alumni reactivated the Black Student Union alumni group. Adrian Jones ’85 ’86 (President); Michael Bennett ’78 (Vice President); Sharice Ealy Benson ’87 (Secretary/Treasurer); Carolyn Johnson Millender (Member); Valencia Redding ’94 (Member); Val Hall ‘89 '96M (Student Liaison).
1997-98 The return of the Black Student Union features thirty two students in the Linc photograph.
1999 First University of Evansville African American Alumni Event (UEAAA) occurs.
1999 The President’s Advisory Council on Diversity is established.
1999 Larry Humes’s jersey retired for basketball.
2000 Dr. Donald Ricketts, noted scientist, receives Distinguished Alumnus Award.

UEAAA awards the first Zerah Priestly Carter University of Evansville African American Scholarship to Krinai Sullivan '03.

Joyce Washington '70 was second in the race for lieutenant governor for the state of Illinois.

Dr. Michael Woodard, UEAAA Chairperson, receives the Edie Bates Volunteer Service Award.

2003 UEAAA awards the second Zerah Priestly Carter University of Evansville African American Scholarship to Lauren Massey ’04.
2002-03 Erica Corbin is the outstanding graduating woman at UE. Kamilah Payne is Aces cheerleader and Kristin Miller is the Linc Editor.
2003-04 Alpha Omicron Pi has African American member.
2004 Sharon Grandberry '97 was the recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumna Award.
  Talmadge Vick '58 accepted a UEAAA award for lifetime achievement (for his football achievements). UEAAA recognized Sondra Matthews '77 for her contributions to the community.
2005 Talmadge Vick ’58 is appointed by Governor Joseph E. Kernan as a Sagamore of the Wabash. The award is the highest honor which the governor of Indiana bestows.
  Charles Johnson ’80 returns for Homecoming to perform a jazz concert.
2006 Jamila Brown received the Mabel Dillingham Nenneker Outstanding Senior Female award.
  Gordon Frykes ’72 spoke to UEAAA on diversity procurement.
  Sondra Matthews ’77 presented the Zerah Priestly Carter Scholarship to UE sophomore Samiratou George-Beber.
2007 Zerah Priestly Carter Scholarship recipients for Academic Year 2007-2008 awarded to; Larry James Reeder II, Visual Communications major, Business Administration minor '09 and Josephine Musisi, Nursing '09. This was the first time two scholarships were given. Members of Black Student Union and UEAAA meet for luncheon and networking session in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  Brandon Patton-Jackson received the Guthrie May Outstanding Senior Male Award.
  The Evansville African American Museum, founded by Sondra Matthews ’77, opens in Evansville.
  Turae Dabney-Mumford ’99 is appointed a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors Central Region.
  Herb Williams ’68 is appointed to Alumni Association Board of Directors, as UEAAA representative.
2008 Ron Glass '68 presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the UE Alumni Association.
  Junior Caresse Bucchan elected Student Government Association President.
  At commencement ceremonies, the 2008 Medal of Honor was awarded to Vera Shane Thompson, who earned a bachelor's degree in social science in 1939. She was the second African-American female to earn a four-year degree from Evansville College.
  The Zerah Priestly Carter Scholarship award recipients for 2008 were Caresse Bucchan and Ashleigh Dent.
2015 Talmadge Vick ’58 received the Distinguished UEAAA Award (posthumously). Talmadge Vick II accepted the award for his father at the UEAAA Reunion Weekend.
2016-17 UEAAA, in conjunction with the UE Office of Diversity Initiatives, introduced the UEAAA Mentoring Program. The program’s goals are to directly connect incoming freshmen with alumni and friends of the University of Evansville, in order to establish emotional support and guidance.
2017 The Diversity Resource Center officially opened on campus. It is a safe space for students to gather and is equipped with technology and materials to facilitate collaboration and inclusion.
2018 Marcus Wilson’s jersey retired for basketball.
2019 William Bell ’49 awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award, posthumously
2021 Lana Burton M’79 was awarded the Edie Bates Volunteer Service Award

"Our Story: Once the Doors Opened" was produced by 1980 graduate Arnell Hill. Co-narrated by Leirra Carter '24 and directed by black Indianapolis videographer Aaron Turner, "Our Story" is a 45-minute documentary on the history of black students at Evansville College/University of Evansville, from 1934 to the early 2000 era. It was given an award of recognition by the IndieFest film competition in August 2021. and featured in the Heartland International Film Fest in Indianapolis in October 2021.

2022 Lana Burton M’79 was awarded the Sadelle Berger Award at the Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity and also received the Junior League of Evansville’s Helen Klamer Philip Award
2023 Watez Phelps ’01 M’04 received the Mays Legacy Award from University of Evansville’s Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day Committee