The Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society pays tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Edward Alexander Bouchet (1852-1918). Dr. Bouchet earned his bachelor's degree from Yale College (later renamed Yale University) in 1874. He made history two years later as the first African American to earn a doctorate in the United States, completing his Ph.D. in physics at Yale in 1876.
At Yale, Dr. Bouchet was also one of the first African Americans to be elected to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. After earning his doctorate in physics, he taught at the School for Colored Youth in Philadelphia for over 25 years.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, on September 15, 1852, to William Frances and Susan (Cooley) Bouchet, Edward Alexander Bouchet was the youngest of four children. He attended the New Haven High School (1866 - 1868) and continued his secondary education at Hopkins Grammar School, where he studied mathematics and history and graduated valedictorian of his class in 1870.
Bouchet entered Yale College (later renamed Yale University) in 1870 to earn his bachelor’s degree. After graduating in 1874, Bouchet stayed on for two more years and completed his Ph.D. in physics in 1876 – making him the first African American to earn a doctoral degree in the United States, an accomplishment only a handful of other people had earned at that time. At Yale, his academic achievement was recognized by induction into the Phi Beta Kappa Society.