#BlackHistoryMonth – Calvin Waller, Penn State’s 1st Black Graduate

For the month of February, the Underground will shine a spotlight on prominent figures in the black community.

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Established in 1989, Penn State’s Mildred S. Bunton and Calvin H. Waller Undergraduate Fellowship programs seeks to enhance the diversity of undergraduate representation on campus. Simply referred to as The Bunton-Waller Fellowship, the scholarship program has a mission of creating an environment that accurately resembles the racial and ethnic diversity within Pennsylvania and the nation.

The prestigious scholarship program is a result of two courageous scholars, Mildred S. Bunton and Calvin H. Waller, for their assistance in breaking racial barriers and promoting an environment of acceptance and multicultural achievement on the University Park campus.

Of the two, Calvin Waller is credited with being the first African-American male to attend and graduate from Penn State. Prior to attending the University Park campus, he completed study alongside Booker T. Washington  in Tuskegee and an agricultural institute in South Carolina. Hailing from Georgia, Waller traveled to Penn State in 1899 and graduated in 1905 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in agriculture.

During the course of his undergraduate study, Waller served as the associate editor of the yearbook, a member of the natural history club and Alpha Zeta Agricultural fraternity. Outside of academia, Waller was a quarterback for the intramural football team, president of the Glee Club, and lead vocalist in the Cecilia Quartette. Calvin Waller taught at Haynes Institute in Georgia, later becoming the head of the Agricultural Department at what is now Prairie View University. His strive for academic achievement earned him the title of a “respected African-American Agriculturalist.”

Calvin Waller Died in April of 1941.

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About Candice Crutchfield (20 Articles)
Candice is an occasionally stressed out college student and aspiring lawyer from northern Virginia. The African-American student-turned-social-justice-advocate can be found reading about civil rights issues, ranting about millennial life, and starting Twitter conversations with Soledad O’Brien. After being many people’s only black friend, she gained an interest in establishing diverse and accepting communities. A media junkie of sorts, she can also be found writing for Blavity, binge watching TV shows, and taking endless pictures of food for her Instagram account. Email her: candice@undergroundvoices.co

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