50 Years of African American Achievement


Dr. Crawford's 1964 class photo
Dr. Alvin Crawford in 1964.

William F. Owen,Jr., MD. photo
William F. Owen,Jr., MD

Throughout 2011 the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will look forward while looking back in acknowledgement of “50 Years of African American Achievement” with students and staff.

UTHSC’s celebration begins with Alvin Crawford, MD, first African American graduate of the College of Medicine, in 1964 and transitions to William F. Owen, Jr., MD being appointed as the first African American Chancellor at UT Health Science Center and within the University of Tennessee System in 2005.


Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE  photo
Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE

Noma Anderson, PhD photo
Noma Anderson, PhD


African Achievement was also extended with the 2008 appointment of Kennard Brown, JD, MPA., PhD, UTHSC alumnus and first African American Executive Vice Chancellor, in the Office of Chancellor, in addition to the appointment of Noma Anderson, PhD, first African American Dean of the College Allied Health Science and UTHSC, in March 2010.

Some additional milestones with ‘African American Achievement’ for UTHSC within its colleges are as follows:

  • Todd Robinson, MD, PhD, 1992 alumnus of UTHSC is the first African American to obtain both the M.D. and PhD. He also holds a faculty appointment in Preventive Medicine at UTHSC;
  • Fannie Brown, Ph.D. served as UTHSC’s first female African American Assistant Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs in the College of Medicine;
  • Mona Wicks, Ph.D. first African American Associate Dean for Research in the College of Nursing (CON). Dr. Wicks was named a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow in June 2008;
  • Todd Smith, D.D.S, first African American valedictorian in the College of Dentistry (COD) in 2007, and currently serves as an instructor in COD while working in private practice;
  • Appointment of Isaac O. Donkor, Ph.D. as the first Associate Dean for Health Career Programs in the College of Graduate Health Sciences;
  • UTHSC College of Pharmacy $3.36 million over three years to fund the College’s Minority Center of Excellence by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in August 2010;
  • On December 3, 2010, the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) announce that, for the third consecutive year, the college received funds to award academic scholarships. The funds originate from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) for the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN). The grants totaled $100,000 for 2010, and are being given to underrepresented minority and male students seeking careers in nursing.

As a result UTHSC’s effort to highlight these achievements throughout 2011 will be as follows:

Schedule of Events

Black Student Association (BSA) Awards Ball

  • February 26, 2011
    Memphis Marriott Downtown
    6:00 p.m Cash Bar/7:00 p.m. Awards Ball

Cost:$35 UTHSC students and $45 each faculty, staff and the public

Wine Down Reception

  • September 16, 2011
    Soulsville/Stax Museum

Cost is $20 per ticket for UTHSC faculty and staff, and $15 for UTHSC students.

UTHSC Diversity Day

  • November 12, 2011

African American college student recruitment program that takes place on the UTHSC campus. For additional information call 448-2112, visit the Diversity Day webpage, or email hsc-oed@uthsc.edu.

A more complete description of all these events is available here.