UD names computer science building in honor of first African American woman graduate

Kaitlin Lewis

News Editor

The University of Dayton announced today that the computer science building will be named after Jessie S. Hathcock, the first African American woman to graduate from UD in 1930. 

The building, which was formally the Music/Theatre building by Kettering Labs, was recently renovated for what President Spina called the “fastest-growing academic program” at UD. 

“Naming the building for this trailblazing woman will make her life and her story visible to generations of UD students, inspiring them to continue her legacy of educational excellence, humanitarianism and community activism,” Spina said. 

Hathcock graduated with a degree in education and went to teach in the Dayton public schools systems after UD. She also taught English and served as the Dean of Girls at Dunbar High School. While at UD, Hathcock was a member of the Beta Eta Omega Dayton chapter, and the first president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in 1934.

Hathcock served the city of Dayton as well by working with the City Beautiful Council, the Wegerzyn Garden Board and the American Association of University Women. Hathcock also touched lives outside of the city, and was active in the Dayton Council on World Affairs, and founded the Dayton and Miami Valley Committee for UNICEF. 

Hathcock was also the first African American woman to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Dayton in 1978. 

“May the University of Dayton continues to grow in influence for the betterment of our city and may its doors of learning be forever open to all races, creeds and nationalities, for the Glory of God, who taught us the meaning of brotherhood and the oneness of mankind,” Hathcock said in response to this honor. 

The computer science building will be equipped with new classrooms, laboratories and office spaces for experiential learning opportunities. There will also be an enclosed walkway to connect Kettering Labs and Hathcock Hall.

Hathcock’s family, including her granddaughter Beverly Hathcock Robinson, said they are honored to have the building named after her.

“We are simply delighted and thrilled. As an educator for many years, our grandmother would be particularly pleased that the building named in her honor is a place of learning,” the family said.

Watch the university’s video about the new building here.

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Reaching out to African Americans to bolster confidence in vaccines

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On Friday, Jan. 15, I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

I was honored to be accompanied by Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, the brilliant African American viral immunologist who is a rock star in the field of immunology science.

From Dr. Corbett’s post at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, she led the team that performed the scientific miracle of developing and testing the Moderna vaccine in record time.

Now she is working to overcome the widespread hesitancy in the Black community about vaccination. Vaccination is imperative to save lives, particularly for African Americans, disproportionately the greatest victims of the virus.

COVID-19 cases and deaths — now numbering over a staggering 375,000 in the U.S. alone— continue to shatter records on a daily basis.

The rampaging pandemic has exposed once more the extreme disparities in our nation. The Black community has suffered a hospitalization rate 3.7 times greater and a death rate 2.8 times greater than the White community.

This reflects the harsh reality of inadequate health care in African American communities. Many impoverished urban communities are health care deserts with hospitals and clinics unavailable.

African Americans disproportionately work for employers that do not provide health care. Those who make too much for Medicaid eligibility are particularly at risk.

African Americans are also disproportionately essential workers — the nurses, bus drivers, transit workers, grocery store clerks and others — who must go to work and are at far greater risk.

Hesitation is understandable

The mass incarceration of African Americans, which continues to this day, also creates far greater risk, since prisoners — like those in nursing homes — are at far greater risk. Now the vaccines offer the potential of staunching the march of the pandemic and saving millions of lives.

For understandable reasons — remember the infamous Tuskegee experiments? — African Americans harbor suspicions about scientists and vaccines.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly one-half (48 percent) of Blacks and over one-third (38 percent) of Latinos were not confident that their needs had been taken into account in the development of the vaccines.

“We know our history, and we understand from where this hesitancy comes,” Dr. Corbett told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Scientific community efforts

“On the one hand, we are the communities most plagued by the pandemic. On the other hand, we are communities least likely to get vaccinated.” Corbett’s role in leading the development of the Moderna vaccine in itself should calm some of the fears.

Both of the vaccines currently approved for emergency use — the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — have proven to be greater than 94 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 and even more effective at preventing severe cases.

The clinical trials involved tens of thousands of participants, including people of diverse backgrounds, races, ages, gender and those with other ailments like diabetes.

One in 10 of those tested were Black, numbering in the thousands. That reality enables scientists like Corbett to have confidence in treating African Americans with the vaccine.

Racial violence plagues this country to this day. For the country to reach herd immunity, more than three in every four persons must be vaccinated. If African Americans or Latinos decline to be vaccinated, all will remain at risk. The past cannot be erased. But the present offers hope with Dr. Corbett’s leadership providing reassurance.

Easing the fears

To help provide education on the need for vaccination, Rainbow Push has partnered with the National Medical Association, led by its president Leon McDougle. NAM is the largest national organization representing African American physicians and their patients.

What’s clear is that the scientific community and community leaders must reach out and work hard to ensure that African Americans gain the confidence to get vaccinated.

This won’t be easy. But with the leadership of Dr. Corbett and others, and with a new administration getting serious about providing the resources for mass vaccination and for outreach into the communities most impacted, lives can be saved.

I was honored to receive my first dose, and I strongly urge others to join me.

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. is president and CEO of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

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Medical Community Works To Persuade Black Community To Take COVID Vaccine

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Health care experts are focusing their attention on educating the Black community about taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Polling done in the community shows many have a mistrust of the medical community because of past experimentation on People of Color.

Efforts are underway to stop the misinformation and get people prepared to take this life-saving vaccination.

“Keep wearing your masks, keep social distancing, because your life depends on it, “ said Shirlynn LaChapelle.

One small group at a time, the nurse of 46 years is working to stop the spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“So any questions about the vaccine,” LaChapelle said.

Lots of questions but more concerns about a vaccine they don’t feel comfortable taking. Some point to past practices of medical experimentation on Blacks, like the Tuskegee experiment of untreated syphilis on Black men.

“We remember what happened in the past, but this is different. This is life and death, and not only are we going to be getting the vaccine but everybody else as well, and one of the doctors who helped develop this vaccine was an African-American woman,” LaChapelle said.

Those who listen say they are now armed with information to help others believe in the vaccine.

“I done see the ones that don’t wear a mask, some of them that is uneducated about it, but they need to be educated about it. When you see these people you have to take to them with a straight eye, say ‘Hey man, here have a mask, put it on, you know, go get the shot,’” said Darion Scott.

LaChapelle’s message can also be heard on the airwaves. KMOJ Radio is just one of several stations she uses to reach the Black community, and it’s working.

“I think the vaccine is very necessary for me because I want to live, because I have grandchildren — I have 11 of them — and I want to see my family,” said Lawrence Coleman.

LaChapelle hopes sharing the fact that she has already taken her first dose will help ease the minds of many in her community.

“I can’t wait to get my second shot and if I’m going to gamble, I’m going to gamble on the side of prevention,” LaChapelle said.

LaChapelle also spreads her message about taking the vaccine on KFAI Radio. She has partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health to help make sure everyone understands the importance of taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

More On WCCO.com:

General Austin becomes first Black defence secretary in US history

In this file photo taken on March 8, 2016, Army General Lloyd Austin III, commander of the US Central Command, speaks during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP
  • The development came a day after Congress handed over Austin a special waiver to hold the post.
  • The Senate vote was 93 to 2.
  • The 67-year-old is the only African-American to have led US Central Command, the military’s marquee combat command.

WASHINGTON: The former Army general Lloyd Austin made history when he was confirmed by the US Senate as America’s first Black defense secretary.

The development came a day after Congress handed over Austin a special waiver to hold the post, which is required for any defence secretary who has been out of active-duty military service for less than seven years. The Senate vote was 93 to 2.

Read more: Biden seeks five-year extension in arms control deal with Russia

The 67-year-old is the only African-American to have led US Central Command, the military’s marquee combat command, with responsibility for Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria. 

He retired in 2016 after 41 years in the military and is widely respected across the Army.

“It’s an extraordinary, historic moment,” Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and the chairman of the Armed Services Committee told The New YorkTimes. 

Read more: Taking helm of divided nation, US President Biden calls for end to ‘uncivil war’

“A significant portion of our armed forces today are African-Americans or Latinos, and now they can see themselves at the very top of the Department of Defense, which makes real the notion of opportunity.”

After being sworn in, Austin received his first intelligence briefing as Pentagon chief. He later chaired a meeting on the coronavirus pandemic with top Defense Department leaders, many joining virtually, the Pentagon said.

The pandemic — and its death toll of more than 400,000 Americans — was the theme of Austin’s first message to members of the armed forces. He noted the military’s support to America’s health care professionals, and said, “You can expect that mission to continue.”

“But we must help the federal government move further and faster to eradicate the devastating effects of the coronavirus,” Austin said, without detailing additional assistance.