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

In Memoriam: O. Jerome Green, 1954-2024

President of historically Black Shorter College O. Jerome Green passed way unexpectedly on April 8. Since he became president in 2012, the college has experienced record-breaking enrollment and graduation rates, created new academic programs, and established the STEM Center for Academic Excellence.

Federal Report Uncovers Lack of Faculty Diversity and Delay in Federal Discrimination Complaint Processing

In addition to a lack of diversity in higher education faculty, the report revealed a frequent delay by the Department of Education when referring discrimination complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Christopher Span Appointed Dean of Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

Dr. Span, professor of education policy, organization, and leadership at the University of Illinois, is a scholar of African American educational history. He has experience in both academic and administrative leadership positions.

Lingering Mistrust From Tuskegee Syphilis Study Connected to COVID-19 Vaccine Reluctance

African Americans who lived within 750 miles of Tuskegee, Alabama, were more reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine than their White neighbors, as well as Black Americans from other United States regions. The authors attribute this finding to lingering mistrust of public health services as a result of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study which ran from the 1930s to 1972.

Featured Jobs