Established in 2007 through the generosity of members of the Society of Black Alumni (SOBA), alumni, and the President of the Johns Hopkins University

THE SOCIETY OF BLACK ALUMNI (SOBA) formed in 1995. Committed to encouraging diversity at the university, the group offers mentoring and networking opportunities to students and alumni and works on other special projects that meet their aim. In 2007, SOBA leaders established the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professorship in concert with a university effort to recruit outstanding and nationally prominent professors. A partnership among the institution, administrators, and concerned black alumni, the SOBA Presidential Professorship is at the core of programmatic initiatives designed to attract and recruit the best graduate students and faculty. Under a unique structure, the SOBA Professorship title resides in a division for a set number of years, after which it rotates to another division. Upon this rotation, former SOBA professors remain in permanent tenured positions, while the professorship rotates among divisions demonstrating the greatest need for African-American faculty, as determined by the provost of the university. This endowment reflects the Society of Black Alumni’s commitment to Johns Hopkins and its interest in enhancing educational diversity by supporting university efforts to identify and hire outstanding African-American scholars in all disciplines.


MICHAEL HANCHARD, the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor, holds an appointment in the Department of Political Science. Dr. Hanchard joined Johns Hopkins from Northwestern University, where he was a professor of political science and African-American studies and director of the school’s Institute for Diasporic Studies. His research ranges from the black social movements of Brazil to the African diaspora. In 1994 he published Orpheus and Power: Afro-Brazilian Social Movements in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, 1945–1988, a book based on the dissertation research he conducted at Princeton University, and recently listed as one of the top ten books by foreign researchers on a topic pertaining to Brazil. In 2006 he published another book, Party/Politics: Horizons in Black Political Thought. In the Krieger School, Hanchard co-directs the Racism, Immigration and Citizenship Program with Erin Chung, the Charles D. Miller Professor.