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	*Office of the President
*

	April 4, 2014



From: Tom Sullivan, President

To: UVM Community

Re: *Andrew Harris ***

    I am pleased to announce the formation of a Committee with an
    unusually important charge:to determine how our University will
    recognize and celebrate the University of Vermont's first African
    American graduate, Andrew Harris. I have asked the Committee to make
    its recommendations to me by April 21.

    The story of Andrew Harris, who graduated in 1838, was unrevealed
    for more than 160 years. It was first confirmed by Jeffrey Marshall,
    Special Collections director at UVM Libraries, in 1998, acting on a
    lead from a Middlebury College archivist. George Washington
    Henderson, who graduated in 1877, previously was thought to be the
    University's first African American graduate. Henderson was the
    first African American elected to the University of Vermont's Phi
    Beta Kappa chapter, in 1877.

    Harris' graduation from UVM was nationally significant. He was the
    first African American college graduate in America to espouse
    abolishing slavery and to demand full equality for people of color.

    Though he lived just three years past his college graduation, Harris
    made an impact on the nation as a Philadelphia minister and
    abolitionist. On May 7, 1839, he was among the speakers at the
    annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an event that
    drew a crowd of nearly 5,000 to the Broadway Tabernacle in New York
    City. This account of Reverend Harris was reported in 2004 by Tom
    Weaver, editor of /Vermont Quarterly/ magazine in an article titled,
    "Breaking News from 1838."

    I look forward to sharing with the UVM community, in a few short
    weeks, the ideas the Committee generates. Committee members include
    Aya Al-Namee, President-Elect of the Student Government Association;
    Mache Chase, President of the Black Student Union; Jesse Cormier,
    former chair of the President's Commission on Racial Diversity and
    Head Coach, Men's Soccer Team; Beverly Colston, Director of the
    ALANA Student Center; Clarence Davis, Director of State Relations
    and Special Assistant to the President; and Wanda Heading-Grant,
    Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural
    Affairs.






-- 
Tom Sullivan
President
University of Vermont
85 South Prospect
Waterman Building
Burlington, Vermont 05405

(802) 656-7878 (office)
(802) 656- 9220 (fax)

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http://www.uvm.edu/president/