Cornell graduate, civil rights activist, sociologist, educator, diplomat, and former member of the Board of Governors of the Society of the New York Hospital - Jerome H. Holland, PhD (1916-1985)

By on January 17, 2014 - 11:06am

As the Archives will be closed Monday, January 20, 2014 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we want to remember the life and contributions of Cornell University graduate Jerome Heartwood "Brud" Holland, PhD.

Jerome Holland

During his life, Holland's accomplishments and contributions were many, both to the smaller community of Cornell University and the New York Hospital (now NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital) and to the United States. He graduated from Cornell University in 1939 and again in 1941 with a Masters Degree in Sociology. Holland was the first African American to play on Cornell's football team and he went on to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1965. But it was for his academic and professional achievements that Holland would be known for. In 1950, Holland received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and began his distinguished 30-year career as an educator and administrator. After serving as president at Delaware State College (now Delaware State University) from 1953-1959, he left to become president at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) where he served from 1960-1970, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. While at Hampton, noted civil rights leaders visited the campus, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holland's scholarly life focused on sociological issues including desegregation of schools, black employment and residency patterns in the United States, and blacks in higher education. In 1969, he coauthored, Black Opportunity. Holland left Hampton Institute in 1970 when he was appointed the United States Ambassador to Sweden, which he served as until 1972. From 1972 until his death in 1985, Holland served on the board of directors for many corporations and institutions including becoming the first African American to serve on the board of the New York Stock Exchange. From 1973-1985, Holland also was a member of the Board of Governors of the Society of the New York Hospital. Holland was awarded (posthumously) the Presidential Medal of Freedom (for Education) in 1985. As Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a much as a day of remembrance of the contribution of Dr. King to the United State and the world, it is also a call to action and service. If any of us are to accomplish anything near as much as Dr. King and Dr. Holland, we had better get busy.

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