In Memoriam: Michael J. Bates, 1944-2022

Michael J. Bates, a longtime faculty member at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, died on July 8. He was 78 years old.

Dr. Bates joined the faculty at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff in August 1977 as an assistant professor of music. During a more than 40-year career at the university, Professor Bates taught courses in music history, music theory, and music appreciation.

In 1999, Professor Bates was appointed director of the UAPB Vesper Choir and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2018. “Dr. Bates was a choir director extraordinaire,” noted Laurence B. Alexander chancellor of the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff. “For decades, he devoted himself to preparing students for the highest level of achievement in performances by the Vesper Choir. Dr. Bates seriously wanted his students in the choir to have an international experience as well. So, he assumed the responsibility of raising funds and making plans to take the choir on trips abroad.” Under Dr. Bates’ leadership, the choir built an international profile, performing in Spain and Italy as well as 23 states. In 2006, the choir sang at a mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Dr. Bates was from Rockford, Illinois. He studied at Bradley University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Memphis.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Three African Americans Appointed to New Academic Positions

Leon Prieto, Kofi Afrifah, and Andrea Moore have been appointed to new academic positions at Clayton University, Bowie State University, and Savannah State University, respectively.

Historic HBCU Landmark Revitalized Through National Park Service Grant

Through three restoration grants totaling $2 million, the Rosenwald Practice School and Principal House will be fully restored, becoming the new home for the Northeastern North Carolina African American Research and Cultural Heritage Institute.

Five Black Leaders Appointed to Administrative Positions

Here is this week’s roundup of African American who have been appointed to new administrative positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. If you have news for our appointments section, please email the information to

North Carolina A&T University Establishes Research Partnership with Collins Aerospace

“There are direct relations to the research we do in the College of Engineering and the mission purpose of Collins Aerospace,” said Stephanie Luster-Teasley, interim dean of the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University. “Being able to partner with Collins really gives our students the opportunities for hands-on research at each level – undergraduate and graduate.”

Featured Jobs