<p>More than 100 minority scholars have earned doctoral degrees thanks to the Leadership Alliance, a national consortium based at Brown University that identifies and nurtures minority students to become the next generation of academic leaders. To mark the 100th Ph.D. milestone, the Alliance will hold a symposium July 25-27, 2008, at the Hartford Marriott Downtown and the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn.</p>

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The Leadership Alliance, a national consortium based at Brown University that aims to enroll more minority students in graduate programs, has reached a major milestone. The consortium has produced more than 100 graduates who have earned doctoral degrees.

The Alliance Executive Office will mark this event at a national symposium to be held July 25-27, 2008, at the Hartford Marriott Downtown and the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. The symposium is expected to attract dozens of minority scholars from across the academic spectrum – undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral research associates and tenure-track faculty – for a weekend of networking and recruiting, research presentations and panel discussions.

“The symposium and the Alliance have the same goal: Encourage America’s brightest minority students to pursue graduate education and leadership roles atthe nation’s most competitive institutions,” said Valerie Petit Wilson, executive director of the Leadership Alliance. “With more than 100 Alliance graduates holding a Ph.D., we’ve been successful at meeting this goal. We’re fulfilling the promise of diversifying the academy and creating the next generation of minority leaders and scholars.”

The Alliance is an entrepreneurial association of more than 30 colleges and universities nationwide. These institutions, a unique and highly productive collaboration of elite research universities and minority-serving institutions, invest their financial resources, faculty talents, and student educational aspirations and commitment for the common purpose of improving the prospects of minority participation in the ranks of tomorrow’s faculty. The Alliance attracts, recruits, and nurtures minority students who with consortium support are encouraged to pursue graduate study. Alliance programs and faculty serve to complement the undergraduate education of these rising scholars.

The reality is that in the next decade or more, massive changes will occur in the make-up of higher education faculties as long-standing professors retire in large numbers. The questions sparked by this sea-change carry enormous weight and challenge: Who will replace them? How talented and prepared will the group of faculty be who will assume the responsibilities of teaching and mentoring the rising generation of college students? And most importantly, will our colleges and universities be able to seize this moment to recruit ever-greater numbers of qualified minorities into the ranks of outstanding and committed professors?

The Alliance has a record of rising to the challenge, fulfilling this need, and supporting positive change. Over the last 15 years, the Alliance has supported undergraduates who have gone on to obtain advanced degrees at twice the national average. The Alliance has produced a larger percentage of Ph.D.s from among its participating students than any other similar programs in the country and has produced significant numbers of medical doctors. The number of Alliance students who are in the pipeline headed to become tomorrow’s Ph.D.s is increasing. The next 100 doctoral scholars are already in the pipeline and will earn their degrees within the next three to five years.

Currently, Alliance alumni hold positions at research institutions, such as Johns Hopkins University, Brown University, Columbia University, Howard University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University as well as liberal arts and minority serving institutions, including Morgan State University, University of Puerto Rico, and Hunter College.

The symposium in Hartford will include panels and presentations where undergraduates can learn more about the graduate school experience and admissions process, where graduate students can get tips on how to complete their dissertations and find postdoctoral research positions, and where postdocs can get the inside track on tenure-track faculty jobs.

The symposium will also feature student research presentations and a recruiting fair. Michael Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund and former president of Dillard University, will be the keynote speaker.

“After 15 years, the Alliance has a lot to be proud of, including boosting the number of minorities pursuing academic careers,” Wilson said. “About 32 percent of Alliance graduates now hold faculty positions at U.S. colleges and universities – positions that allow them to mentor and encourage other underrepresented students. We’ve created a new cadre of faculty leaders.”

The Leadership Alliance is a consortium of 33 leading research and teaching academic institutions, including Brooklyn College, Brown University, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Claflin University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Delaware State University, Dillard University, Harvard University, Howard University, Hunter College, Johns Hopkins University, Montana State University-Bozeman, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, New York University, Prairie View A&M University, Princeton University, Spelman College, Stanford University, Tougaloo College, Tufts University, University of Chicago, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, University of Miami, University of Pennsylvania, University of Puerto Rico, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Yale University.

For more information on the Alliance and the symposium, visit www.theleadershipalliance.org.