herman’s bio

J. Herman Blake, PhD is the Inaugural Humanities Scholar in Residence at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC.  He is also Professor-Emeritus of Sociology at Iowa State University. Dr. Blake received his BA in Sociology from New York University and his MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley.

Dr. Blake has a long career as a professor, scholar and administrator in a wide range of institutions.  He served as founding Provost of Oakes College at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and President of Tougaloo College in Mississippi.  He was also the Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Social Change at Swarthmore College; Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis; and Director of African American Studies at Iowa State University.  He retired from Iowa State University as Professor of Sociology-Emeritus and served most recently as Scholar in Residence and founding Director of the Sea Islands Institute at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort.

Throughout his career Dr. Blake has focused particularly on academic achievement of students from minority and/or low-wealth communities. At Iowa State University his comprehensive approach significantly contributed to a 45 percent increase in the graduation rate of Black students.

His research focuses on Gullah communities in South Carolina; Black militants in urban communities; and academic achievement of minority students in higher education. His publications include over fifty full-length contributions and a book, the autobiography of Huey P. Newton, Revolutionary Suicide.  His most recent publication is “The Caged Panther: The Prison Years of Huey P. Newton” (August 2011) in The Journal of African American Studies.

Among his many honors, he was selected as the Iowa Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Education and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He has served as a Fellow at several foundations and served on numerous national task forces, advisory committees and boards. In 1978 the American Council on Education named him one of the top 100 emerging leaders in higher education.  He has been awarded six honorary degrees and two presidential medals.

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