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University to honor Andrew Billingsley

Dr. Andrew Billingsley, a pioneering sociologist and a leading scholar in African-American Studies, will be honored for his distinguished career in higher education by the University of South Carolina and the community April 8 – 9.

Andrew Billingsley
Andrew Billingsley

Billingsley joined the university’s faculty in 1996, serving as a professor of sociology with appointments in the Institute for Families in Society and African American Studies.

“African American Studies was a relatively new and emerging field when Dr. Andrew Billingsley began teaching,” said Dr. Bobby Donaldson, an associate professor of history and African-American studies at Carolina. “As a scholar of black families, Billingsley reshaped public policy and helped define African American Studies’ interdisciplinary framework. At a time of protest, he directed his activist energies toward path-breaking research that attracted the attention of politicians, journalists and lay readers.”

The two-day public event, titled “A Life of the Mind: Honoring Leadership, Scholarship & Service of Andrew Billingsley,” will feature some of the country’s top scholars in African-American studies as well as faculty from the university. Each will reflect on the contributions Billingsley has made as a teacher, researcher, college administrator, author and active community member during his 50-year career.

Billingsley’s early career will be the focus of talks Thursday from 7 – 9 p.m. at McKissick Museum. Scholars will include Dr. Lois Benjamin, Endowed University Professor at Hampton University; Dr. Kesho Scott, associate professor of American studies and sociology at Grinnell College; and Dr. Ron Walters, professor emeritus of government and politics at the University of Maryland. Also featured will be Otis Dismuke, an educator and historian from Birmingham, Ala.

Friday’s events will take place from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Brookland Baptist Church, where Billingsley is a member. All talks will focus on Billingsley’s later career. Dr. Howard Dodson, one of Billingsley’s former students and the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, is the luncheon keynote speaker. His talk is titled, “Searching for Self, Searching for Heritage: Following Andrew Billingsley.” The lunch, held at the lunch from 12:45 – 2 p.m. is $12 per person.

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Honoring Andrew Billingsley

  • What: Series of presentations on the life and career of esteemed USC faculty member
  • Who: Top scholars in African-American studies from across the country, as well as USC, to deliver talks
  • When: April 8, 7 - 9 p.m.; April 9, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Where: McKissick Museum on Thursday; Brookland Baptist Church on Friday

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