Samuel DeWitt Proctor Chair in Education

The late Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor served as a member of the Rutgers University faculty for 15 years, including appointments on the faculty of the Graduate School of Education, as the first incumbent of the Martin Luther King Jr. Chair, and as a visiting Professor in the Department of Africana Studies. Dr. Proctor was the first African-American faculty member at both the school and the university to have an endowed professorship named for him. Dr. Proctor served as President of Virginia Union and North Carolina A&T Universities, Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York, on the governing boards of the United Negro College Fund, National Urban League, Harvard Divinity School and in the Peace Corps before coming to Rutgers.  This chair was established in honor of Dr. Proctor’s career at Rutgers, marked by excellence and leadership in teaching, scholarship, and service.

At the Graduate School of Education, he enriched the curriculum with courses in African-American Studies in education and ethics. He also recruited generations of students to the university for graduate studies, which were followed by careers as educational scholars and leaders. Dr. Proctor also served as Chair of the Rutgers Campaign for Community, Diversity, and Educational Excellence. This campaign raised funds to recruit outstanding students to prepare for careers as educational leaders via scholarships, and to develop pre-college programs that assist all students -- regardless of their backgrounds -- to prepare themselves for entry to the university. Professor Proctor held more than 50 honorary degrees, including one from Rutgers, which also awarded him the Rutgers medal for distinguished service.  The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Chair honors his legacy and manifests the continuing commitment of Rutgers GSE and the University to his lifetime of work on issues of education and equity.

The inaugural holder of the Proctor Chair, Dr. Dorothy Strickland, held the position for almost seven years before retiring from the GSE.  She is a member of the New Jersey State Board of Education and was recently been named to a task force designed by the New Jersey State Board of Education to address the state’s academic achievement gap and was honored with the 2011 Ernest L. Boyer Outstanding Educator Award from the New Jersey Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (NJASCD). A former classroom teacher, reading consultant and learning disabilities specialist, she is a past president of both the International Reading Association (IRA) and its Reading Hall of Fame. She was the 1998 recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English Award as Outstanding Educator in the Language Arts. She has numerous publications in the field of reading/language arts.

Dr. Fred A. Bonner II held the position from January 2012 through December 2014.  During this time Dr. Bonner hosted three Think Tanks for Deans of Education of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  He began the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Lecture Series, and developed the STEM Collegiate African American Male Summit to enhance the potential of underrepresented minorities studying in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.