The Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society (BGHS)

Edward A. BouchetSpartan Helmet

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society is to recognize outstanding scholarly achievement and promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor 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 Edward A. Bouchet and the scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy he exhibited, both inside and outside academic realms, inductees into the honor society bearing his name must also exhibit these same outstanding qualities.

The national charter of the Edward Alexander Bouchet Society was inaugurated on September 15, 2005, in commemoration of Bouchet’s birthday, by Yale University and Howard University. There are currently eighteen chapter institutions. The society is named in honor of Edward A. Bouchet (1852-1918), who became the first African American to earn a doctorate from an American university when he earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Yale University in 1876. "One can only imagine the ‘inner strength’ he must have had given that he lived during a time that was exceedingly difficult for Black people,” observed Dr. Michelle Nearon, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Student Development and Diversity at Yale University, in 2018, “We don’t know for sure, but it is probably safe to say that Dr. Bouchet knew that the odds of him being able to secure a faculty position were relatively nonexistent. Yet, owing much to his persevering nature, resilience, deep love of knowledge, and sheer brilliance he continued to excel academically." The Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. In particular, the Bouchet Society seeks to support and cultivate a dynamic network of outstanding and multitalented scholars who are commited to the society's core values, serving as exemplars of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy. In the spirit of Bouchet’s life, work and commitment to these pursuits in academic and public spaces, inductees into the honor society bearing his name should also embrace and exemplify these principles. Membership into the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society is by nomination only.

Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at Michigan State University

In February 2019, Michigan State University's application to become a Bouchet Graduate Honor Society (BGHS) institutional partner was accepted. On April 5, 2019 during the wonderful “New Chapter Installation Ceremony” at the 16th Annual Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education, Michigan State University was formally welcomed as an institutional partner into the society. MSU Associate Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School Thomas Jeitschko was delighted to deliver appreciative remarks at the “New Installation Ceremony” and University Distinguished Professor of History and Associate Dean Pero G. Dagbovie, who will serve as the MSU chapter’s institutional National Steering Committee representative, delivered the “Opening Plenary Presentation” that addressed the theme of the 2019 conference, “Reflections on Racism and U.S. Racial Tensions in the 21st Century.” The MSU Graduate School is thrilled to be an institutional partner in this society that significantly aligns with the mission, values, and goals of our Strategic Plan (2019-2024) and our enduring commitment to diversity and inclusive recruitment and retention practices. Ph.D.-granting institutions that have exhibited a sustained record of recruiting, retaining and graduating scholars, and particularly those who are traditionally underrepresented in the academy, are invited to establish BGHS chapters. Invited institutions, moreover, are expected to demonstrate prior reform efforts designed to promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education and should demonstrate their dedication to diversity in graduate education by exhibiting a track record of training underrepresented students in the academy for employment in academia and beyond. The MSU Graduate School also takes great pride in the fact that long-time Bouchet enthusiast Dr. Curtis L. Patton, Professor Emeritus, Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University, earned his Ph.D. from MSU in Microbiology in 1966 and in January 2013 established an Endowment Agreement with MSU to create The Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Award.

Further Information Related to the BGHS at MSU

For more information pertaining to the Edward Alexander Bouchet Society’s mission and five core values; Bouchet’s facinating life; and the procedures and instructions for being nominated and applying for membership in the MSU BGHS chapter, see the links below.


Contact Dr. Terah Chambers at

2022 MSU Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society Inductees

The 2022 inductees are Ajamu Amiri Dillahunt (History), Monique Noel (Chemistry), and Jaleah Rutledge (Ecological-Community Psychology).

All are Ph.D. candidates at MSU who, in the spirit of Bouchet, exemplify the five core values of the society (character, leadership, advocacy for those traditionally underrepresented in the academy, service, and scholarship).

Ajamu Amiri Dillahunt

Ajamu Amiri Dillahunt


Ajamu Amiri Dillahunt is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Michigan State University and an Interinstitutional Scholars for Diversity and Inclusion and Research Instructor in the Department of History at East Carolina University. His research is on twentieth century African American history with a focus on the U.S. South, labor, and the Black Freedom Struggle. For his dissertation project, he is exploring the contributions of the Black Workers for Justice to the long Black Freedom Struggle. Extensive archival research and oral history (interviews) are central to his approach. Ajamu is an Assistant Editor with Black Perspectives, the award-winning Blog of the African American Intellectual History Society and board member of the Interreligious Foundation of Community Organizations (IFCO) and the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN). He has served as an intern with the SNCC Digital Gateway Project at Duke University, a “Book Acquisition” student worker at Duke University Press, and an Editorial Assistant for The Journal of African American History, the oldest and leading scholarly journal in its field. In May of 2019, Ajamu graduated from North Carolina Central University with a BA in History and a BA in Political Science.


Monique N. Noel

Monique N. Noel


Monique N. Noel is a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry at Michigan State University. Her research is in the area of Computational Chemistry with a focus on Computational Materials Science. She recently published an article in the “Young Investigator Special Issue” of Surface Science (December 2021) in which she and her co-authors “used first principles calculations to study various surface terminations of the Ca5Ga2Sb6 structure as a mechanism to understand its crystal growth morphology.” She has presented at and participated in conferences and symposia related to her field of study. She has also served as served as a teaching assistant and as a mentor and writing coach for undergraduate students in the MSU Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP). Serving her community and “giving back” is important to Monique. She has participated in and worked on a range of initiatives with various organizations, including the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), the MSU Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, and the Lansing Brach of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She is driven by the notion that “there is no limit to what we can accomplish with faith and determination.”


Jaleah Rutledge

Jaleah Rutledge

Ecological-Community Psychology

Jaleah Rutledge, MA is a PhD candidate in the Ecological-Community Psychology program in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University (MSU). Her research focuses on racial health disparities, health equity, and health promotion among marginalized populations. She is interested in understanding and utilizing strengths-based approaches for the promotion and protection of Black women’s sexual and reproductive health. Her scholarly contributions have been published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence and AIDS and Behavior. Jaleah is a University Enrichment Fellow, and her research has been supported by the Minority Health International Research Training Program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the Career Advancement for Research in Health Equity (CARE T37) program funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the TIAA Ruth Simms Hamilton Graduate Merit Fellowship. Jaleah has been a servant leader at MSU in various capacities. She has served as the graduate student member of the College of Social Science Dean’s Advisory Board on Diversity and Inclusion, a Graduate Leadership Fellow for the College of Social Science, a steering committee member of the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, and a leader in MSU’s Black Graduate Student Association. Jaleah’s long-term goal is to become a professor and develop a program of research that will create a future where Black women are no longer disproportionately affected by adverse sexual and reproductive health outcomes.