Longtime OU history professor named to ‘Men of Excellence’ list

De Witt S. Dykes, Jr., associate professor in the Department of History at Oakland University, has been named to the Michigan Chronicle's 2019 "Men of Excellence" list.

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icon of a calendarJune 13, 2019

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Longtime OU history professor named to ‘Men of Excellence’ list

De Witt S. Dykes, Jr., associate professor in the Department of History at Oakland University, has been selected as a 2019 Michigan Chronicle “Men of Excellence” award recipient. 

The Men of Excellence Awards celebrate local African-American men who inspire others through their vision and leadership, exceptional achievements and participation in community service. They are men who exemplify extraordinary stature, poise and integrity who continue to break the mold and affect change in their professions and community.

This year’s Men of Excellence Awards and Induction ceremony is scheduled for Friday, August 2, at the Motor City Casino Hotel. Dykes is part of this year’s class of 50 new honorees who join an exclusive group of 600 other professionals to have received this distinction. In addition to the ceremony, Dykes and other members of this year’s class will be highlighted in an upcoming issue of the Michigan Chronicle.

“It is great to see the committee recognize Professor Dykes’ years of service in higher education and celebrate his expertise in African American history," said OU’s Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer Glenn McIntosh, who was a member of the 2014 Men of Excellence class. "De Witt is an excellent choice for this year's class and has been a respected role model and mentor to generations of OU students."

Dykes has spent more than 54 years teaching history courses and is celebrating 50 years as a professor at Oakland University this summer. He is a renowned authority on African American, Urban and Family History. He is an extensively published author and is often sought out as a book reviewer and journal article editor for others in the field.

“De Witt’s involvement in the community has allowed him to make significant contributions to the research and recording of African American history and he has represented Oakland University with distinction through his work with several historical and genealogical organizations over the years,” added Kevin J. Corcoran, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Chief Community Engagement Officer.

For example, Dykes served as co-founder and first president of the Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society, emphasizing Detroit’s African American Genealogy. He was co-founder and first president of the Michigan Black History Network. He has been a member of the Detroit City Council’s Historic Designation advisory board. He has been a board member for the Historical Society of Michigan and the Detroit Historical Museum where he was a planning committee member for several exhibits. He has also served on planning committees for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. In addition, Dykes was a charter member and officer in The Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society based in Washington D.C.

Learn more about professor Dykes and his contributions to academia.

Hear Professor Dykes describe his teaching style in this video.

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Professor Dykes has been named to the 2019 Michigan Chronicle's 'Men of Excellence' list.

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