True diversity – social and intellectual pluralism – enriches the educational possibilities by a measure greater than any other means. For Lafayette to be successful we must think of diversity in its broadest sense – as a core value – and create an environment that is nourishing of the diversity of this country and stimulating to the intellectual climate we are trying to create here. I hope you will find that this site reflects the impressive contributions of African Americans and blacks to Lafayette. The College and I welcome your ideas—and your involvement.
— Daniel H. Weiss, President
McDonogh Voice, formerly known as McDonogh Report, is published annually. Enjoy the current and past issues by selecting links at right.
About David Kearney McDonogh, Class of 1844
Aug. 10, 1821, New Orleans, La. – Jan. 15, 1893, Newark, N.J.
The McDonogh Network, which provides networking opportunities for African American and other black alumni and students, is named for Dr. David K. McDonogh and is associated with the McDonogh Voice, a magazine launched in 2007 to celebrate the impressive contributions of African Americans to the Lafayette College community and beyond. The magazine is not only about past and present achievements, but also about aspirations–the hopes and dreams of all.
In addition, the Presidential Lecture Series on Diversity, launched in 2000 to encourage intellectual discourse on diversity, was renamed in honor of McDonogh in 2009. It is now known as the President’s McDonogh Lecture Series.
When David K. McDonogh came to Lafayette College in 1838, he was a slave. His owner, John McDonogh, a Louisiana planter, sent him to become educated to travel with a group of freed slaves to Liberia to serve as a missionary. But McDonogh wanted to become a physician. When he graduated in 1844 as the College’s first black graduate, he went on to attend classes at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. Although the institution would not grant him a degree, his classmates treated him as a physician. He later received a degree from Eclectic Medical College of New York. He became a member of the staff of the New York Hospital and New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. After his death, McDonough Memorial Hospital was named in his honor and opened as New York City’s first hospital to admit physicians and patients without discrimination by race. He is buried in the historic Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.
The sculpture, Transcendence, which stands adjacent to the David Bishop Skillman Library, was created by Melvin Edwards to honor McDonogh. Dedicated in September 2008, it is made of stainless steel and stands 16 feet tall. The massive upward-reaching form represents struggle, tension, and achievement. Edwards was artist in residence at the College’s Experimental Printmaking Institute in 2004-05, supported by the David L. Temple Sr. and Helen J. Temple Visiting Artist Fund.