New York Chapter
My Beloved Sisters in the Academy:
It is our pleasure to welcome you to ABWHE, Inc. New York Chapter. ABWHE advocates and celebrates the accomplishments of Black women in higher education. It supports and empowers sister scholars, administrators and students through its various resources and networks. As an organization, it is a forum for development strategies to improve the quality of education for African-Americans
Forty years ago, fifteen women had a vision to chart their own courses and form ABWHE, Inc. On January 23-25, 1978, in Albany, New York, the “Black Women in Higher Education” conference was held and Elaine J. Copeland, the conference’s keynote speaker, passionately inspired the participants to formally establish a professional organization. At this conference, the Association of Black Women in Higher Education, or “ABWHE,” was born.
Dr. Kane served as ABWHE’s first president (1978-81) and program chair. An organizational planning committee was established and included members Lorraine Bagley, Wyletta Barbee, Gloria Primm Brown, Patricia Carey, Delores Cozier, Beverly Harrison, Laura E. Higgins, Delores Hunder, Nadine Johnson, Lucia Levell, Sheila Nickson, Sheila Perry, Eldra Rodrigues and Maria Vallejo. These women became the first board of directors and they met monthly, under the auspices of the Resource Center, to draft the first ABWHE Constitution and By-Laws. They also articulated the first iteration of the ABWHE mission - “to communicate the history and preserve and sustain the presence of Black women in higher education,”- a mission that would continue to evolve over the years.
On May 4, 1979, over two-hundred women participated in a one-day conference titled “Black Women: Myth and Reality.” Dr. Jeanne Noble was the keynote speaker, and Patricia Carey, ABWHE board member and founder, introduced the Association to the Institute of Afro-American Affairs at New York University (NYU), which hosted eight of the next nine national conferences (1979-1987). On May 2, 1980, one hundred women attended the second ABWHE conference. The theme was “The Black Child,” and Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, served as keynote speaker. Nearly one year later, ABWHE held its third annual conference, drawing 130 attendees. On the same day, May 8, 1981, the Board of Directors decided to incorporate ABWHE as a not-for-profit organization. The trustees listed were Lorraine Bagley, Wyletta Barbee, Gloria Primm Brown, Patricia Carey, Olivia Frost, Beverly Harrison, Nadine Johnson, Jacqueline Kane, Lucia Levell, Ruth McIntosh, Bernadette Penceal and Maria Vallejo. We thank those leaders who created and contributed to the foundation, which we have built upon for over four decades.
The NY Chapter is excited to continue its traditions and design new programs and initiatives. For the past two years we have held workshops and forums on “ Mentoring Matters, ‘”Getting It Write,” Women in the Academy” to the Women of Distinction Luncheon, where we honor our members. We also hosted two fundraisers - attending a Broadway play and at The National Negro Ensemble.
Upon reflection, we recognize that this has been a trying year for many of us. We commend our members for staying passionate and utilizing their voices within their communities, counties, our state and our country.
Utilizing the collective resources as our landscape to bring colleagues together and establish new connections for networking, laughter, and fun in one of the most beautiful parts of New York State, we encourage you to listen, collaborate, learn, and go beyond your comfort zone to grow professionally and personally.
As we continue to see the world of higher education change, know that ABWHE, Inc. NY Chapter is here to listen and support our membership. If you are interested in learning more about how to become involved in programming and leadership, please seek out a member of our executive board to learn more, or to simply share your comments, suggestions, and feedback.
As the great prophet Kahlil Gibran stated “You give little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give”
With Grace and Blessings,
Beryl S. Jeffers, Ed.M.
President- NY Chapter.
University Director for Enrollment Services
SUNY System Administration- the NYC Office
Assistant Professor of Nursing
College of New Rochelle
Associate Director of Student Success
Purchase College (SUNY)
@ Queens College
New York University