Commencement 2017 Honorary Degree Recipient

Arthur James Hicks 

Rutgers University–Newark is pleased to present this year’s Doctor of Science honorary degree recipient, Dr. Arthur James Hicks, program director of the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP).

The program director of LSAMP since 1997, Hicks is recognized for his endless collaborations with science and engineering enterprises including education officials and more than 600 colleges, universities, and partner alliances to strengthen the quality and quantity of underrepresented minority students with college degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Because of his strong leadership of LSAMP, more than 509,000 underrepresented minority students have earned bachelor’s degrees in STEM. For his efforts, Hicks has won numerous awards and honors including: the Reginald H. Jones Distinguished Service Award (2012), the Minority Access Innovator Award (2008), congressional recognition for the Educational Technology Think Tank TEC Champion Leadership Award (2006), the Tougaloo College Alumni Hall of Fame (2005), the Torch Bearer Award for Distinguished Service to the Field of Student Retention (2005), and the Emerald Honors Award for Career Achievement (2005).

Prior to joining LSAMP, Hicks served as chair and professor of biology (1977-1988), and later dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (1988-1997), at North Carolina A&T State University. Under his leadership the research capacity of the Department of Biology was enhanced by the acquisition of major research grants and equipment including two electron microscopes, along with renovations of the facilities to allow for more research space. While serving as dean, major renovations for physics, chemistry, and fine arts buildings were completed, and plans for a $34 million general classroom building were approved, with construction ultimately completed in 2003.

As a scientist Hicks’s research focus has been in the area of plant systematics. A prolific writer, his work has been presented at various scientific seminars and published in numerous peer review journals.

Hicks is well known at the local, state, and national levels for his service on many committees and advisory boards. In North Carolina he served on the Greensboro Bog Garden Advisory Board, the Plant Conservation Board, the Guilford County Advisory Board for Environmental Quality, and the Natural Areas Advisory Committee of the Department of Natural Resources and Community Development. On the national level he served on the Board of Trustees of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center, the Task Force on the National Agenda for the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, and the Keystone Symposia’s Diversity Advisory Committee.

Hicks received a bachelor of science degree in biology from Tougaloo College. He earned his doctoral degree in botany at the University of Illinois-Urbana and received postdoctoral training at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

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