Bouchet Honor Society
Yale University and Howard University established the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society in 2005. Named for the first African American doctoral recipient in the United States (PhD in physics from Yale University in 1876), the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate.
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.
The Bouchet Society at Washington University in St. Louis 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 and postdocs who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy. In the spirit of Edward A. Bouchet‘s commitment to these pursuits both in and out of the academic realm, inductees into the honor society bearing his name also exhibit these qualities:
The Bouchet Society is an academic honor society that is committed to the goals of lifelong education, as well as the production and dissemination of knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Members of the Society are committed to contributing to the development of their field(s) of study and to the application of knowledge into action that improves the lives and conditions of their communities.
The Bouchet Society members take their responsibility for their departments and their academic fields of study seriously. Bouchet Society scholars are the embodiment of the ideals of their respective universities. They not only represent the mission of their university, but they also demonstrate strong initiative. Wash U. Bouchet Scholars play a leadership role in extending access to the university to a wider community by creating and sharing knowledge.
Bouchet Society members exhibit the highest values of their university, through their integrity, honor, and exemplary conduct and behavior. Character may be exemplified through an individual’s emotional courage, principles, endurance, and perseverance. He or she must be reliable and consistent. At each member’s core must be an awareness of the importance of contributing and working for the good of society.
Each member is expected to actively contribute to the well-being of society by giving, remaining involved, sharing personal gifts and talents, and exhibiting a Bouchet-like commitment to the service of others. Examples of service might include participating in an educational program for youth, serving in local or state politics, or volunteering with a local non-profit organization.
Each member should advocate for broader access to graduate education and other resources within the academy. Activities might include advocating for the concerns of diverse faculty members and students, serving as a mentor, helping to address the needs of communities, and educating others on the issues that may be at the heart of the continued inequities and disparities in our society, particularly in education.