AAMU and Women's History Month
Women have played an important role in the formation of Alabama A&M University, and they will continue to contribute significantly to its growth. From the wife of the founder, Dr. William Hooper Councill, in the late 19th century to many who have served and are serving as first ladies, faculty and staff members, administrators and influential alumni in the 21st century, women have shaped the course of A&M's history.
A case in point is Mamie Labon Foster, the first female President Pro Tempore of the Alabama A&M University Board of Trustees. Born June 12, 1912, in Birmingham, Ala., she completed studies at Alabama A&M Institute High School and received the junior college diploma and B.S. degree (1946) in elementary education from what was then Alabama A&M College. She also received two Master of Arts degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York City. Mamie Foster Place in Homewood and the Mamie Labon Foster Living/Learning Complex at Alabama A&M University are named in her honor.
Simply mention the name Nell Lane Bradford, and the Normalites of generations begin to take notice. Mrs. Bradford and her late, dear husband, Dr. Henry Bradford, Jr., were true examples of the school motto: ”Service Is Sovereignty.” For more than 40 years, they both helped to make Alabama A&M University a household name in terms of stellar choral performances and quality music education. They literally impacted the lives and creative forces of thousands.
In 1995, Dr. Virginia Caples stepped in for the first time to stabilize an Alabama A&M University presidency left vacant by David B. Henson, who subsequently assumed a post at Purdue University and later became President of Lincoln University (Mo.). A decade later, on February 25, 2005, the Board of Trustees again entrusted Caples (then the school’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs) to assume the role of Interim President once more.
Dr. Dorothy W. Huston served as Vice President for Research and Development for seven years, during which the growth in research funding and contracting grew from $13 million to over $30 million. She designed the state and federal program agenda for AAMU, having garnered over $20 million in special state and federal appropriations. Huston was also responsible for executing unprecedented agreements with business and industry, including loaned executives, IPAs, cooperative agreements, and partnership agreements that included support for co-ops, interns, and corporate scholarships.
Throughout a phenomenal career of teaching, research and service, Dr. Jeanette Jones immersed herself in the awareness and promotion of the field of biology/pre-med among African Americans nationally, having also served as Director of the Center for Biomedical, Behavioral and Environmental Health Research. As an educator, she has diligently taught such diverse subjects as biology, mycology, medical mycology and introduction to health careers. Her impressive career also includes service as a higher education administrator, University trustee, Faculty Senate president, and advisor to the president.
Of course, the list of stellar women goes on and on. Visit www.aamu.edu or listen to WJAB-FM 90.9 for more details about activities offered in connection with Women's History Month.
- Jerome Saintjones