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Murrow College of Communication at WSU

University of Idaho Promotes First African American Male to Position of Full Professor

PULLMAN – University of Idaho has promoted the first African American descendent of slaves man to full professor.

Dr. Sydney Freeman Jr. received the promotion just before the end of March. This promotion is a major role in helping Freeman reach his goal since completing graduate school-to lead at in a higher education space.

“It wasn’t a life goal,” said Freeman. “I didn’t know necessarily what professors were but I knew I wanted to be a leader in higher education.”

Freeman earned his new title in only five years and seven months of his tenure track. This rate is nearly half of the average full professors time, comparatively.

Freeman knows what he is capable of and how far he has come while knowing how much more he still plans to accomplish.

“There are people who have never had a black professor before,” said Freeman. “Imagine students working with a professor and I’m a young black man and I’m telling them, ’No.’”

Freeman believes that his excellent display of his hard work is enough to cut through cultural differences with his students and peers and bring about a productive work environment.

Freeman has been studying and working with faculty development since graduate school at the University of Auburn.

Freeman’s hard work landed him a full professor position at the young age of 36 years old and he hopes that students can learn something from his accolades.

“I want to reach out towards students, particularly black students,” said Freeman. “That they can persist and do well in any space. If you want to succeed you don’t have to be perfect but what you want to aim for is excellence.”



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