Richard and Mildred Barksdale Academic Excellence Award

Nomination Form


This award honors the multiple contributions of Richard and Mildred Barksdale to African American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and to the broader university and community. Richard Barksdale (1915-1993) was Professor of English, Acting Head, Associate Dean of the Graduate College (1975-1982), and Director of the Summer Bridge Program. Barksdale (with Kenneth Kinnamon) published Black Writers of America in 1972, and mentored numbers of African American graduate and undergraduate students. Mildred Barksdale, (1922-2000) professor of educational psychology at Georgia State University, served as Assistant Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UIUC. Mrs. Barksdale also mentored numerous of undergraduate and graduate students. The award recognizes excellence in academic achievement by an undergraduate student in the field of African American Studies.


In order to be eligible for this award a student must meet the following criteria:

  • The student must be a junior or senior.
  • The student must be an African American Studies major or minor.
  • The student must have completed at least 3 courses in African American Studies.
  • The student must have at least a cumulative 3.5 GPA in African American Studies courses and at least a 3.0 overall GPA.
  • The application must be accompanied by a letter of support from an African American Studies core faculty or affiliate. In this letter, the faculty member should comment on the student’s academic excellence in course work and commitment to the field of African American Studies.
  • Students may self-nominate or can be nominated by an African American Studies core faculty or affiliate, or the African American Studies academic advisor.

Selection Process

The application information is available online at and in African American Studies main office. Completed application material is due on or before
5pm on March 30, 2018
, to Shirley Olson, Assistant to the Head (1201 W. Nevada St.). The Awards Committee reviews the applications and makes a recommendation to the African American Studies core faculty based on the above criteria. One student recipient is selected after careful consideration of the Committee’s recommendation. The committee reserves the right not to give an award in any given year.


The award will be announced at a reception in late April. The recipient will receive a personalized award , recognition at the reception, and the recipient’s name will be placed on a plaque displayed in African American Studies conference room.

For More Information

Dr. Desiree Y. McMillion,, 217-333-7781
1201 W. Nevada St., MC-143 Urbana, IL 61801

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