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Mission and Charter of the Society

Mission statement

The purpose of the Bouchet Society is to recognize outstanding scholarly achievement and promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Bouchet Society seeks to develop a network of scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy. In the spirit of Edward Alexander Bouchet and the scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy he exhibited, inductees into the Bouchet Society must exhibit these same outstanding qualities. The Northwestern Bouchet Society is committed to intellectual excellence and interdisciplinary work, with the additional goal of using this knowledge in the service of society.


The Bouchet Society is an academic honor society that is committed to the goals of lifelong education, as well as the production and the dissemination of knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Members of the Society are committed to contributing to the development of their field(s) of study and to the application of knowledge into action that improves the lives and conditions of their communities.


Bouchet Society members exhibit the highest values of their university, through their integrity, honor, and exemplary conduct and behavior. Character may be exemplified through an individual’s emotional courage, principles, endurance, and perseverance. He or she must be reliable and consistent. At each member’s core must be an awareness of the importance of contributing and working for the good of society.


The Bouchet Society members take their responsibility for their departments and their academic fields of study seriously. Bouchet Society scholars are the embodiment of the ideals of their respective universities. They not only represent the mission of their university, but they also demonstrate strong initiative. Northwestern Bouchet Scholars play a leadership role in extending access to the university to a wider community by creating and sharing knowledge.


Each member is expected to actively contribute to the well-being of society by giving, remaining involved, sharing personal gifts and talents, and exhibiting a Bouchet-like commitment to the service of others. Examples of service might include participating in an educational program for youth, serving in local or state politics, or volunteering with a local non-profit organization.


Each member should advocate for broader access to graduate education and other resources within the academy. Activities might include advocating for the concerns of diverse faculty members and students, serving as a mentor, helping to address the needs of communities, and educating others on the issues that may be at the heart of the continued inequities and disparities in our society, particularly in education.

The society was established by Yale University and Howard University to recognize the life and academic contributions of Edward Alexander Bouchet.

Yale and Howard serve as the founding chapters of the Bouchet Society. One national charter with two chapters was inaugurated in 2005 on Bouchet’s birthday. Since 2005, chapters at Washington University, Georgetown University, and Cornell University have been inaugurated.

Since 2005, chapters have been inaugurated at the following institutions:

  • Yale University*
  • Howard University*
  • Cornell University
  • Emory University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Northwestern University
  • Rutgers University
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • The George Washington University
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Florida
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Washington University, St. Louis

*Denotes founding chapter

Chapter requirements

Eligibility for an institutional chapter is limited to doctoral-granting institutions with a sustained record of training scholars who are traditionally underrepresented in the academy. Interested institutions must show evidence of prior reform efforts designed to promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education.

Eligibility requirements

Eligibility to become an Bouchet Society charter institution are limited to Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) granting colleges and universities. Induction into the society is by invitation only. All invited institutions must exhibit a track record of promoting diversity within graduate education through both matriculation and graduation statistics of underrepresented groups within the academy.

Chapters should demonstrate commitment to graduate education through Ph.D. granting programs, as well as a track record of training underrepresented students for work in academy.

Bouchet Scholars 3-Minute Thesis Presentation

In celebration of exemplary research, each Bouchet inductee will have the opportunity to present their research in a three minute presentation to the larger Northwestern community and public.

Bouchet Speaker Series

The Edward A. Bouchet Speaker Series is a quarterly event featuring external speakers who are experts in their fields. The goal of the Bouchet Speaker Series is to invite scholars and professionals to speak to our graduate students and postdoctoral trainees about research and activism pertaining to contemporary issues.


Bouchet Travel Award

A limited travel award to the annual Yale Bouchet conference held in New Haven, CT. This annual conference is an opportunity to present one’s work in an interdisciplinary setting and form connections with peers across disciplines and institutions.