Anthony “Kwame” Harrison, associate professor of sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been named the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Black Studies by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Gloria D. Smith Professorship in Black Studies was established in 1997 by then Virginia Tech President Paul Torgersen with funds from the Athletic Association. The professorship, named in honor of the late Gloria D. Smith, a counselor and advocate of minority students on campus before her retirement, is awarded for a period of two years to an outstanding faculty member who contributes significantly to the growth and development of minority students, student athletes, and scholarly pursuits. The honoree also oversees the Gloria D. Smith Speaker Series and makes at least one university-wide presentation during his/her tenure.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2003, Harrison has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Africana Studies Program. He is frequently involved in faculty searches, serves on the program’s executive committee, recruits graduate students, mentors graduate and undergraduate students, and initiates and supports many program activities.

His scholarship and reputation in popular music studies and ethnography has brought considerable visibility to the program, the college, and the university. Harrison is an award-winning teacher, inspiring students to exceed their own expectations for learning, intellectual development, and personal growth. In 2011, he received the university’s Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.

Harrison says he will use the resources of the endowment to further the goal of establishing the Africana Studies Program as a key site in the field to advance scholarship on the new South and the Global South. He also plans to host an event to recognize the scholarship of his late colleague, Hayward Farrar, and to bring noted popular music scholars to Virginia Tech.

Harrison is a member of the American Anthropological Association, International Association for the Study of Popular Music, National Council for Black Studies, Southern Sociological Society, and Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Syracuse University.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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