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Edward Alexander Bouchet

Graduate Honor Society

Named for Edward Alexander Bouchet, the first African American doctoral recipient in the United States, the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society (Bouchet Society) recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Bouchet Society was inaugurated on Thursday, September 15, 2005 with a simulcast ceremony held at Yale University and Howard University. As the co-founding chapters, Yale University and Howard University seek to recognize and continue Dr. Bouchet’s pioneering contributions to doctoral education.

At UC San Diego the Bouchet Society seeks to develop a network of preeminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy. In the spirit of Bouchet’s commitment to these pursuits both within and without the academic realm, inductees into the honor society bearing his name should also exhibit these qualities.

Nomination criteria for Graduate Students 

  • Three letters of recommendation to the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society must be submitted from each of the following:
    • The nominee's dissertation advisor
    • A graduate faculty member invested in the nominee's research
    • A faculty member, dean or director at the nominee's institution
  • Transcripts from all graduate and professional schools attended;
  • A current curriculum vitae;
  • Scholarly writing sample;
  • A personal statement capturing how the nominee embodies the characteristics of Dr. Bouchet as expressed through the five thrusts and the mission of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society. Additionally, the candidate should address their anticipated contributions to the Society (2 - 3 pages).

Selection Process and Timeline

  • Upon receipt of completed application materials for nominees, the Membership Selection Committee will review all applications.
  • The Membership Selection Committee will then provide a recommendation of inductees for consideration to the National Steering Committee.
  • The National Steering Committee reviews all nominated applications submitted from chapter institutions and reserves the right to approve or decline membership into the Bouchet Society.
  • Application information and materials will be made available in Fall quarter.

Edward Alexander Bouchet

Edward Bouchet (1852-1918) graduated from Yale College in 1874. He went on to be the first African American to earn a doctorate from an American university when he earned a Ph.D. in physics at Yale University in 1876. At that time, Bouchet was the sixth person in the western hemisphere to earn a doctorate in physics. He was also one of the first African Americans to be elected to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

Edward A. Bouchet

Bouchet had the misfortune of being a talented and educated black man who lived in a segregated society that imposed numerous barriers and thus hindered him from conducting scientific research and achieving professional recognition. Segregation produced isolation as Bouchet spent his career in high schools with limited resources and poorly equipped labs.

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