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Marguerite Ross Barnett was born on this date in 1942. She was a Black political scientist, administrator, and university president.
She was born in Charlottesville, VA, but grew up in Buffalo, New York. Barnett graduated from Bennett High School in 1959 and attended Antioch College, graduating with an A.B. in political science in 1964. Barnett continued her study of political science at the University of Chicago, where she received her M.A. and Ph.D. in 1966 and 1972, respectively. Barnett held several education positions during her career, beginning as a lecturer at the University of Chicago in 1969. She also taught at Princeton, Howard, and Columbia Universities.
As an administrator, she held posts at the City University of New York, the University of Missouri-Saint Louis, and the University of Houston. In 1990, Dr. Barnett assumed the role of President at the University of Houston, becoming the first woman and the first black to hold the office. At U.H., Barnett succeeded in raising more than $150 million for the institution, establishing the Texas Center for Environmental Studies and instituting the nationally renowned Bridge Program. This curriculum aided and motivated disadvantaged students to make a successful transition from high school to college.
In early 1992, the University of Houston granted Dr. Barnett a six-month leave of absence to treat a neuro-endocrinological condition. She died from complications from the disease on February 26, 1992.