University of Pittsburgh
December 2, 2004

"Black Consciousness: Ambition and Achievement Through Higher Education" Is Theme of the 35th Annual Meeting of Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education, Feb. 16-19 in Pittsburgh

Mary Frances Berry and Larry Davis headline historic gathering
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Civil rights legend and University of Pennsylvania scholar Mary Frances Berry, J.D., Ph.D., and University of Pittsburgh social work dean and noted author Larry Davis, Ph.D., will be keynote speakers at the 35th annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education (PBCOHE) that will be held Feb. 16-19 at the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel.

The four-day conference will include exhibits, an orientation for moderators and newcomers, a plenary session, workshops, a presidential forum, a legislative forum, and a "soulful gathering" and dance. Also part of the conference is Job Fair 2005, which will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 18 and feature full-time, part-time, and/or internship opportunities at the University of Pittsburgh, Children's Hospital, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Wendy's, among others organizations.

Included among the workshops are: "Affirmative Action in Higher Education: Where Do We Go from Here?" "Success in College: Study Skills," "When They Enter: The Paradox of the Administrative Careers of African Americans in Higher Education," "Management in the Middle: Things You Know You Don't Know," "The Effect of the Brown v. Board of Education Decision, 1954, 1955, on the Present Day Quality of Education Received by African Americans, Latinos, and Rural Whites," "Leadership and the African American Male," and "Living with a Purpose as a College Student."

Francine McNairy, Ph.D., the first Black and female president of Millersville University of Pennsylvania, is the moderator of the presidential forum, which includes as panelists Livingston Alexander, Ph.D., of Pitt's Bradford campus; Anita D. McDonald, Ph.D., of Penn State's Dubois campus; Keith Miller, Ph.D., of Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania; and Stewart Sutin, Ph.D., of Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). The forum is scheduled to take place from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 18.

The Welcome Reception, 7-9 p.m. Feb. 16, is sponsored by Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; the founder's luncheon, noon-2 p.m. Feb. 17, is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh; the scholarship luncheon is from 12:15 to 2 p.m. Feb. 17; the final reception is from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 18; and the 35th annual banquet, 7-9 p.m. Feb. 18, is sponsored by CCAC. The video documentary K. Leroy Irvis: The Lion of Pennsylvania, produced by the University of Pittsburgh, will be shown at the founder's luncheon. Davis, Pitt's Donald M. Henderson Professor and director of its Center on Race and Social Problems, will speak at the opening plenary session, and Berry, chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and Penn's Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought, will deliver the keynote address at the 35th annual banquet. A special theatrical production written exclusively for the annual meeting by Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre, the renowned Pittsburgh-based Black drama group, will be performed from 9 to 11 p.m. Feb. 17. Additional major sponsors are Citizen's Bank, Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

PBCOHE was founded in 1970, when the Honorable K. Leroy Irvis, L.L.B., then minority leader of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's House of Representatives, convened a conference of African American college presidents, vice presidents, deans, department chairs, directors, instructors, and other political leaders and professionals to provide needed input in the formation of a master plan for higher education in Pennsylvania. PBCOHE's role was to ensure equal education for African Americans and other minorities in the Commonwealth. Irvis became Speaker of the House in 1976, the first Black speaker of a state house in postreconstruction America. K. Leroy Irvis: The Lion of Pennsylvania traces his life's remarkable journey from birth to the present.

For more information about the conference, contact either of the conference cochairs, Vonnie Hunter, assistant director of financial aid, Indiana University of Pennsylvania ( or 724-357-2218), or Carmelle Nickens, director of School and College Alumni Relations, University of Pittsburgh (carmelle.nickens@ia.pitt.ed or 412-624-3362).

For more information about fees and registration, contact registration chair Brenda Sanders Dede, Ed.D., assistant vice president for academic affairs at Clarion University ( or 814-393-2337).