In Memoriam: Jacqueline Elizabeth McCauley, 1947-2020

Jackie McCauley, the first Black woman to enroll at Rice University in Houston, Texas, died in Canberra, Australia, on August 9. She was 73 years old.

William Marsh Rice was an oil and cotton tycoon, who when he died was said to be the richest man in Texas. He left the bulk of his estate to establish the Rice Institute for Literature. His will stipulated that only White students were allowed to enroll. In the early 1960s, the trustees went to court to try to overturn the stipulation in Rice’s will that admissions be restricted to Whites. Some alumni sought to keep the Whites-only stipulation in effect but the university prevailed.

In 1965, Jackie McCauley enrolled at Rice University along with Charles Edwards Freeman, an African American man. She was the first black high school student in Texas to be named a National Merit Scholar.

The summer before starting at Rice, McCauley had an internship at NASA, where she did research for the Apollo program. At Rice, her intention was to major in a science, but the social upheaval of the ’60s fascinated her so much that she switched to social sciences. She got married and became involved with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Her grades suffered and she dropped out of Rice after three semesters.

In the 1970s, McCauley became a program director with KLOL, at that time one of Houston’s most popular radio stations. She then moved to KSAN, a radio station in San Francisco, and then to Australia, where she had a radio show called “Shootin’ the Breeze,” which was syndicated in 80 American cities.

Related Articles


  1. made me feel sad and made me feel glad/proud of her accomplishments…it is true…made me again realize what my grandmother always told me…”doesn’t matter how long you are on this earth…it does matter what you did with the time the Good Lord gave…may her soul rest in peace…

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Students at Three HBCUs in New Orleans to Participate in Power of Prosperity Initiative

The Power of Prosperity program will help remove barriers to students’ academic success by providing students and their families with free access to financial support and resources.

Yale University Scholar Wins Early Career Physics Award

Charles D. Brown II, an assistant professor of physics at Yale University, has been selected as the winner the Joseph A. Johnson Award for Excellence from the American Institute of Physics and the National Society of Black Physicists.

Three African Americans Appointed to New Administrative Posts at Universities

Arthur Lumzy Jr. is the new director of student career preparedness at Texas A&M University–Commerce. Sandra L. Barnes was named associate provost for undergraduate education and student success at Alcorn State University in Mississippi and Roberto Campos-Marquetti has been appointed assistant vice president for staff and labor relations at Duke University.

North Carolina A&T State University to Debut New Graduate Programs in Criminal Justice

The university's criminal justice master’s and doctoral programs are designed to provide high-quality graduate education and training in criminal justice with the four areas of specialization: investigative science, digital forensics, research methodology, and social justice.

Featured Jobs