Edward Alexander Bouchet (1852-1918)
The New Haven, Conn. native became the first African-American to graduate from Yale University in 1874. In 1876, he earned his Ph.D. in physics from Yale, becoming the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. from an American university. Unable to find work, he relocated to Philadelphia and taught chemistry and physics at the Institute for Colored Youth for 26 years. From 1905 until 1908, he served as the director of academics at St. Paul’s Normal and Industrial School (now St. Paul’s College) in Lawrenceville, Va. He moved on to become principal and teacher at Lincoln High School in Gallipolis, Ohio from 1908 until 1913. In 1913, he joined Bishop College’s faculty, remaining in Marshall, Texas until his health forced him to retire in 1916. In 2005, both Yale and Howard universities established the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society as a tribute to Bouchet’s life and work.