University of Pittsburgh Names Nursing Award for First Black Student
PITTSBURGH The University of Pittsburgh is naming a nursing scholarship for its first Black nursing student. Adena Johnson Davis started at the University of Pittsburgh in 1943, a year after she had been rejected because of her race. “The stereotype was we didn’t fit in,” says Davis, who graduated with honors in 1947. She says that during her first year, officials from other Pittsburgh-area nursing programs examined her room for neatness. Davis says they were considering whether to admit Blacks to their programs. Next fall, Pitt will offer a $16,000 scholarship in her name to a Black freshman. About 8 percent of Pitt’s 581 undergraduate nursing students are minorities. The university’s master’s program in nursing has 17 minorities, or 6 percent of 265 students. And five of 39 students in the doctoral nursing program — 13 percent — are minorities. “We need to do a whole lot better getting minorities into nursing,” says Kathy Lucke, assistant dean for student services at the university. Davis, 76, of the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, says she is glad the university established the scholarship in her name. “In 2024, I’ll be 100,” she says. “And everybody who benefited from this scholarship, we’re going to celebrate. How’s that for optimism?”
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