He Just Made History As First Black American Man Promoted To A Full Professor at University of Idaho


April 5, 2021

He’s creating a new normal for the University!

Dr. Sydney Freeman Jr. just made history as the first Black American man promoted to full professor at the University of Idaho, Idaho News reports. 


Dr. Freeman graduated from Auburn University in 2011 with a degree in Higher Education Administration; he chose to pursue his career in academia, serving as director in the Teaching and Learning Center at Tuskegee University. He went on to work as an associate professor at the University of Idaho, following the tenure track. On average, faculty members on the tenure track take about 10 to 12 years to earn the rank of full professor; Dr. Freeman, at just 36-years-old, has attained the level of full professor in just five years and seven months. 

He follows in the footsteps of Dr. Wudneh Admassu, an Ethiopian native who became the first person of African descent to earn full professor rank at the university and Professor Shaakirrah Sanders, the first and only Black woman to earn the rank of Full Professor in 2019. Dr. Freeman received the good news from home, where he has been teaching virtually. The educator said he couldn’t wait to share the good news with his students. 

“Humbled to share that I will be the 1st African American (American Descendant of Slaves) man to be promoted to rank of Full Professor at the University of Idaho, the state’s flagship research university,” Dr. Freeman tweeted along with a photo of himself in a “Full Professor” t-shirt.  


He hopes that his journey will spark an ongoing conversation about the importance of hiring and keeping faculty of color in higher academia. 

“If we want to see Idaho grow and be more inclusive, we have to bring that inclusion in, and so it’s important for us to not only have conversations about it but actually invest in diversifying faculty and staff but also retaining them,” said Dr. Freeman.


Congratulations on your accomplishments!

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Sydney Freeman Jr.

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