Meet six Black Case Western Reserve University community members who are making history

FEBRUARY 16, 2024

From pioneering research to transformative educational and social initiatives, members of the Black community at Case Western Reserve University stand at the forefront of shaping history. While Black History Month usually focuses on the past, it’s equally important to consider who’s making history today. 

In honor of Black History Month, The Daily is putting a spotlight on some of the remarkable achievements of 11 individuals—students, faculty, staff and alumni—whose contributions are leaving indelible marks on the university and beyond. 

Read on to get to know six of these CWRU community members who exemplify brilliance and commitments to making lasting impacts, and stay tuned to The Daily this month to meet five others.

Photo of Phillip Rowland-Seymour
Phillip Rowland-Seymour

Phillip Rowland-Seymour

Staff member at the School of Medicine

“The interplay between Black history and American history is seamless. Regrettably, not everybody possesses the eloquence to dialogue about it with the depth it deserves. Embracing Black History Month is invaluable as a chance to tap into a wealth of resources, enriching our understanding of our shared past, current possibilities, and envisioning a future that unites us all. It calls for us to dream inclusively and chart a course forward globally, as well locally and domestically.”

Phillip Rowland-Seymour believes he’s a rather unremarkable human being—and he likes it that way. As director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Rowland-Seymour interacts with many student-facing offices, including those focused on admissions, student affairs, curricular affairs, and evaluations/assessments.

Rowland-Seymour, a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., has spent time refining his “résumé virtues” but is most invested in growing his eulogy virtues. He serves in a role that provides the space for him to explore the deepest parts of himself and shares that journey within the CWRU community.

Photo of Ronald Hickman
Ronald Hickman

Ronald Hickman (CWR ’00; NUR ’06; GRS ’08, nursing; NUR ’13)

Faculty member at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing

“Black History Month compels us to boldly highlight the often overlooked contributions of Black trailblazers in science and society. It prompts us to acknowledge historical oversights, appreciate their profound impact, and create a future where recognizing diverse perspectives is not just essential for scientific innovation but also integral to societal progress.”

As a nurse scientist, Ronald Hickman is the inaugural Ruth M. Anderson Professor and associate dean for research at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. He is known for his research focused on technology-based solutions to improve chronic disease self-management and end-of-life care. His research and innovative training programs have received funding from the National Institutes of Health and several foundations, and his impact on nursing has been significant.

Hickman has been an integral part of the Case Western Reserve community since his undergraduate years. As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., he played a critical role in establishing the Black Greek Council, a student group that promotes the representation of historically Black Greek letter fraternities and sororities on campus.