Virginia Tech® home

Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society

The Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society (Bouchet Society) recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promote a diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Bouchet Society seeks to develop a network of preeminent scholars who serve as examples of the five pillars, scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy. 

The Nomination process

Each fall semester, The Graduate School announces the start of the nomination period. Students and postdoctoral researchers must be nominated by their department to apply.  Those nominating students and postdoctoral researchers for admission into the society must complete an online nomination form. The nomination deadline is December 9.

Students and postdoctoral researchers will be notified about their nomination, and must fill out an application if they wish to be considered to join the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.

Each candidate's application requires two recommendation letters: one from an academic advisor and, preferably, one from a community member who is familiar with the student's broader service and advocacy work. Ideally, one letter will articulate the nominee's academic excellence and the other will describe the nominee's broader contributions that complement research and teaching, such as advocacy and engagement with specific communities. Recommendations are submitted via online form that will be provided to applicants.

Those selected to be a member of the Virginia Tech Chapter of the Bouchet Society are recognized at the Graduate Education Week's Award Banquet in March and at the annual Bouchet Society Conference held at Yale University each April. Conference proposal information will be provided once available.

The Graduate School notifies nominees and faculty nominators in January after the nomination period closes.   

Edward A. Bouchet Photo

Edward Bouchet (1852-1918) graduated from Yale College in 1874 was the first African American to earn a doctorate from an American university with a Ph.D. in physics at Yale University in 1876. At that time, Bouchet was the sixth person in the western hemisphere to earn a doctorate in physics.  

In March 2022, the Graduate School celebrated the newest members of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at a tea reception held at the Graduate Life Center. President Tim Sands and Graduate School Dean Aimee Surprenant attended the event, as did several faculty members, administrators, Bouchet scholars, friends, and family members.