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.