Boston University’s Stith to Receive Honorary Degrees

in College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Humanities/Social Science, International, News Releases
May 2nd, 2006

Contact: Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626 |
Contact: Zoe Smoke, 617-353-5452 |

(Boston) — Former U.S. Ambassador Charles Stith, director of the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University, will receive honorary degrees this month from two prominent southern universities in recognition of a career as a minister, civil rights activist, and civil servant.

Stith will receive an honorary doctorate May 5 from the University of South Carolina at commencement ceremonies in Columbia, S.C. University President Andrew Sorensen said Stith’s “career as minister, his thoughtful writings, service to our country, and leadership in establishing the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University represent an amalgam of service that is worthy of the persons the university holds up before its graduates and families.”

On May 15 Stith will be given an honorary doctorate and deliver the commencement address at Clark Atlanta University, one of the nation’s premier historically black colleges. CAU President Walt Broadnax cited Stith’s career as Ambassador to Tanzania and as a civil rights activist as the basis for the university bestowing the honor.

A Harvard University Divinity School graduate, Stith was senior minister of the Union United Methodist Church in Boston, and founder and national president of the Organization for a New Equality (O.N.E.), which seeks to expand economic opportunities for minorities and women. He served as President Clinton’s ambassador to Tanzania in the traumatic period after the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam.

Stith founded APARC to complement BU’s African Studies program — one of the nation’s oldest, established in 1953. It chronicles trends and developments related to democratization and free-market reform in Africa, organizes forums regarding Africa’s global relationships, and hosts a residency program for African former heads of state.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is the fourth largest independent university in the United States, with more than 30,000 students in its 17 colleges and schools. BU has established an international reputation for excellence in teaching and conducting research on Africa, and has built and maintained broad collaborations with institutions in Africa.

For more information on APARC visit

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