Carleton College in Minnesota Creates an Endowment to Support Africana Studies

A new endowment to support the Africana Studies program at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, has been named for Mary and Fred Easter, whose work at the college had a significant impact on the Black student experience beginning in the late 1960s. The Mary and Fred Easter Endowment for Africana Studies will provide funds for the department on an annual basis to support and enhance the student academic experience through research, conferences, guest speakers and other initiatives.

Mary Easter, Rae Schupack Nathan professor of dance and the performing arts, emerita, taught at Carleton from 1968 to 2008. She established the current dance program at the college and advised many student groups, including Carleton’s Black dance troupe.

Fred Easter served as director of the Summer Orientation Program, director of Black activities and minority affairs, associate dean of students, assistant director of admissions, campus coordinator of special services, and taught English at the college.

“In establishing this endowment to secure the future of the Africana Studies program, it is wonderful to also have the opportunity to honor two figures from the college’s past who played critical roles in recruiting, supporting and mentoring generations of Black students at Carleton,” said Alison Byerly, president of Carleton College.

“The Easters have made enormous contributions to the quality of young Black lives in and outside Carleton classrooms and studios,” added Kofi Owusu, professor of English and former director of African and African American Studies.

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