The College of Charleston has named Anthony Greene, director of the African American Studies Program, as its inaugural Lucille Simmons Whipper Distinguished Professor.
This new professorship was created in an effort to attract and retain top talent from historically underserved groups and to identify faculty members of color at the associate-professor level who are at a point in their career to work toward promotion to full professor so that they may have the time to complete the work necessary for promotion. It is part of an initiative based on one of the cross-cutting themes of the College’s 10-year strategic plan, Tradition & Transformation: the value of diversity, equity and inclusion to make the institution more welcoming to all and more competitive in a changing cultural landscape.
The College’s first named distinguished professorship for this Tradition & Transformation initiative is reflective of someone who was a pioneer at the College and a change agent in the greater Charleston community: Lucille Simmons Whipper (1928–2021). A lifelong trailblazer, Whipper became the College of Charleston’s first Black administrator when she joined the university to direct its Head Start program and develop diversity programs in 1972. And, in 1985, she became the first African American woman to represent Charleston County at the South Carolina Statehouse. While in office between 1986 and 1996, she was a fierce advocate for women and minorities. She was also instrumental in the College of Charleston acquiring the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. The College awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2008 and the Founders’ Medal during the College’s 250th celebration in 2020.
RELATED: Read more about the late Lucille Whipper, her impact at the College and her statewide legacy in South Carolina.
“Representative Lucille Whipper was a change agent not only on our campus, but in the State of South Carolina,” says College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu. “She was a force of nature. I am proud that we can honor her memory and celebrate her legacy through this distinguished professorship. Anthony Greene is a tremendous scholar and leader on our campus, and I am so pleased that he will be the inaugural recipient of this appointment.”
Greene, who specializes in race-ethnic relations and cultural and ethnic identity, joined the College’s African American Studies Program in 2012 and also teaches in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. He received the Black History Intercollegiate Consortium’s MLK Jr. Humanitarian Award in 2019 and the College’s Outstanding Faculty ExCEL Award for the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs in 2015. But he says receiving the Whipper Distinguished Professorship is especially meaningful.
“Being recognized as the inaugural recipient of the Lucille Whipper Distinguished Professorship is both an honor and humbling,” he says. “I recognize the contributions and sacrifices of African American trailblazers at the College of Charleston like Mrs. Whipper, and I only hope to make as significant of an impact as she. Continuing the work and building upon the legacy of those who came before me has been my journey since joining the College of Charleston. This recognition highlights my contributions, but also fuels me to do more, knowing that my journey is just beginning.”
Providing opportunities to engage with the College’s provost and president on mutually agreed-upon special assignments in order to develop leadership skills and knowledge of higher education industry, the Whipper Distinguished Professorship is a three-year appointment that includes an annual salary supplement, an annual travel stipend and a course release (funds allocated to support course release to home school/department).