Diversity Timeline 1960s


Kwame Nkrumah

Friday, January 1, 1960

Dean of Women Laura Bornholdt was invited by Kwame Nkrumah, Prime Minister of Ghana, as one of two American delegates to tour the nation over winter break and offer advice on the troubled educational system. Representatives toured from England, Sierra Leone and the Soviet Union; all were faced with resolving three pressing questions:

  • Should the two colleges of Ghana, the University of Legon and the Kumasi School of Technology sever ties with the University of London?
  • How can the increasing need for engineers be best supplied through the Ghanaian educational system?
  • How can Ghana's terrific demand for teachers be met?

Sunday, January 1, 1961

Over the summer Penn held a six week orientation for 100 African students attending college on the east coast. The program was sponsored by the International Co-operation Administration, Department of State, African American Institute, African Scholarship Program of 141 colleges and universities, the United Negro College Fund and other private individuals.

Monday, January 1, 1962

Connaissance and the Latin American Graduate Student Association held "Connaissance 1962: Spotlighting Latin America," a six-week series of lectures, films and debates.

William Thomas Valeria Fontaine

Tuesday, January 1, 1963

For the first time, tenure was granted to an African American faculty member, Dr. William Thomas Valeria Fontaine Appointed as an Assistant Professor in Philosophy in 1949, Dr. Fontaine was the first fully-affiliated African American faculty member before receiving tenure from the University.

President Gaylord P. Harnwell called on students to end religious discrimination when selecting fraternity members.
The Middle Atlantic Province National Newman Club Federation Convention was held in Philadelphia.

Admissions Policy

Sunday, January 1, 1967

Penn adopted an "Admissions Policy for the Undergraduate Schools of the University of Pennsylvania," chaired by Dan M. McGill, thereby committing the University for the first time to increased recruitment, retention, and promotion of minority students, faculty, administrators, and Trustees.

Monday, January 1, 1968

Judge A. Leon Higginbotham was elected the first African American trustee.

To attract minority students the Admissions Office hired the first minority recruiter at Penn. By 1972 an official Minority Recruitment Program was created

Theodore Hershberg was selected to teach "The Negro in America," the History Department's first course in African American History. Previously Hershberg had taught "Controversial Topics in Negro History" as an experimental seminar program.
Penn recognized the Society of African and Afro-American Students (S.A.A.S) as an accredited student organization, stating "The University consistently encourages the exchange of ideas not only within the formal curriculum but in a variety of situations outside it. It has long been its practice to make accommodations available, whenever possible, for discussions of intellectual, social or political subjects of mutual interest."

Wednesday, January 1, 1969

During the spring semester the History Departments offered a new course: "Black History."

The International Affairs Association held a "National Conference on Student Political Power" at Penn with 25 student leaders from 14 countries. The goal of the conference was to attempt "to asses the nature and direction of student unrest throughout the world."

The College stated in a 'Report of The Committee on the Goals of Higher Education on Programs for Black Students and Afro-American Studies,' "The College already has several 'area studies' programs in operation, such as Latin American Studies, American Civilization, Oriental Studies and South Asian Regional Studies. We recommend that a major program in Afro-American Studies be offered as soon as possible, specifically, in time for students in the class of 1972 to utilize it."