Dr. Booker T. Ingram’s name will forever be linked to PC’s annual Black History Month festivities. On Feb. 18, PC President Matt vandenBerg announced the Black History Month Convocation will be known as the Dr. Booker T. Ingram Jr. Convocation & Lecture.
The honor recognizes Ingram’s distinguished and exceptional service to the PC community.
“My parents, the late Helen and Booker T. Ingram Sr., believed unyieldingly in the power of education and placed a high value on it,” said Ingram, the Charles Dana Professor of Political Science and director of diversity and inclusion. “This honor represents an affirmation of my parents’ belief.
“In raising their four children in the 1950s and 60s, they strongly believed that, with a good education, tomorrow would be better than today for all of their children. I can now state emphatically that they were right.”
Making a Difference While Making History
Ingram became PC’s first African American faculty member in 1987 and the first director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in 2017.
Ingram’s outstanding teaching ability and connection with students and colleagues were recognized when he was named PC’s Professor of the Year in 2000. During his career, Ingram’s mentorship and guidance has made a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of current students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
“PC has been a place of great personal and professional growth for me that has been shaped in part by the wisdom, friendships and caring offered by many colleagues, students and staff who have impacted my life in so many positive ways during the past 34 years,” Ingram said.
Ingram is known for his capacity to listen and provide feedback, his ability to connect on a personal level, and his dedication to seeing his colleagues and students succeed.
Building a More Inclusive Community
As the director of diversity and inclusion, Ingram has nurtured programming that builds recognition of different cultures, beliefs and perspectives. He has worked toward building a more inclusive community at PC, including offering insights and perspectives to address priorities in The Promise of PC strategic plan.
Ingram continues to work relentlessly with students of all backgrounds.
“My goal is always to create a culture where individuals with varying cultural experiences associated with their race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion and disability feel valued for their individual contributions and that allows them to achieve their highest potential,” he said.
Ingram has taught a number of courses in his career, including Classic Marxist Thought, State and Local Politics, The American Presidency, and African Americans and the Political System. Ingram’s research has been published in Civil Rights in the United States, and he served on the editorial board of the Journal of Political Science from 2004 to 2012. Ingram served as the President of the South Carolina Political Science Association in 1993.
Learning “for a second time”
“The many students I have taught during my tenure at PC are largely responsible for making me a better professor and consequently helping me to develop in a way that allowed me to be remotely worthy of an honor such as having my name associated with the Black History Month Convocation,” Ingram said.
“The questions asked by students, as well the discussions that took place in and outside of class regarding course readings, helped me significantly to hone my teaching skills, increase my knowledge and truly ‘learn for a second time,’ as my friend and retired PC professor of psychology, Dr. Ann Stidham, once stated about teaching.”
Ingram has researched, taught, and studied in Havana, Cuba; Oxford, England; Kiev, Ukraine; and Georgetown, Guyana, among other locations.
A Lifetime of Service
Closer to campus, Ingram has served as a member of the Laurens County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1989. He was the founder and chair of the Minority Advisory Council at PC and served as an executive committee member of the South Carolina Democratic Party from 1996 to 2000.
Ingram has also served as a mentor at elementary and middle schools in Clinton, and he has served as a faculty advisor to fraternities and other student organizations.
Ingram graduated magna cum laude from Winston-Salem State University (Winston-Salem, N.C.) with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He also graduated magna cum laude from The Ohio State University, where he earned a master’s degree in political theory. Ingram went on to earn a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University as well.