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Allen Sessoms

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Information about Allen Sessoms

Profile image of Allen Sessoms

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Physicist
University President

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Magenta
Favorite Food:
Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France, Skiing In Switzerland
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/17/1946
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Physicist
University President

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Magenta
Favorite Food:
Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France, Skiing In Switzerland
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/17/1946
Birth Location:
New York
See how Allen Sessoms is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Physicist and education administrator Allen Lee Sessoms was born in 1946. He attended Union College in New York where he graduated with his B.S. degree in physics in 1968. He then attended the University of Washington, where he obtained his M.S. degree in physics the following year. Sessoms went on to Yale University where he earned his Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree in physics in 1971 and his Ph.D. degree in physics in 1972. Following his graduate school work, Sessoms became a postdoctoral research associate at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) where he wrote computer programs and studied the production of quarks by high-energy protons at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab).

In 1973, Sessoms was hired to work as a scientific associate at the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN), where he researched quarks and similar particles. While at CERN, Sessoms became an assistant professor of physics at Harvard University. Sessoms moved to the U.S. State Department in 1980 as a senior technical advisor for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. From 1982 to 1987, Sessoms served as Director of the Office of Nuclear Technology and Safeguards in the same Bureau before becoming a Counselor for Scientific and Technological Affairs at the United States Embassy in Paris, France. Sessoms then traveled to Mexico, where he was a Minister-Counsel for Political Affairs at the United States Embassy before serving as its Deputy Chief of Mission, then the largest United States diplomatic mission in the world. In 1993, Sessoms left the United States State Department and began working as executive vice president at the University of Massachusetts system and also became its vice president for academic affairs. Following his time in Massachusetts, Sessoms was named president of Queens College, part of The City University of New York. Sessoms then spent time at Harvard University, first as a visiting scholar and then as a fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and as a lecturer in public policy. From 2003 to 2008, Sessoms served as the ninth president of Delaware State University prior to his appointment as president of the University of the District of Columbia. He is also a consultant to the U.S. intelligence community.

Sessoms has received a Ford Foundation Travel and Study Grant and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He has been bestowed two honorary doctorates from Union College and Soka University in Japan. Sessoms also received the Medal of Highest Honor from Soka University and the Seikyo Culture Award in Japan. In 1999, the Yale University Graduate School Association awarded him the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal and he was named the Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (“Officer of the Order of Academic Palms) in France.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Allen Sessoms' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about his mother's migration to New York City
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about the African American migration to New York City
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about working at Lincoln Hospital, New York, during high school
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his father's service in the military during World War II
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes how his parents met and his father's musical talent
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about attending church as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes the apartment where he grew up in the Bronx, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes the neighborhood where he grew up in the Bronx, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms describes his early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his interest in science
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his childhood summer activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his father's entrepreneurial activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his musical experience at Walter J. Damrosch Middle School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Walter J. Damrosch Junior High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about his involvement with running track
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about his brother
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Theodore Roosevelt High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about the demographics of Theodore Roosevelt High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to attend Union College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Brookhaven National Labs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Union College, in Schenectady, New York - part one
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Union College, in Schenectady, New York - part two
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his father being his hero
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about the reactions to Dr. Martin Luther King's death, and the political climate of the 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to pursue his graduate studies at the University of Washington
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at the University of Washington
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about his decision to return to the east coast to attend Yale University for his doctoral studies
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon race relations in the United States
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about his early days in New Haven, Connecticut in 1969
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Yale University, and talks about his first advisor, D. Alan Bromley
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about the poor science preparation at some HBCUs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his doctoral thesis advisor, Bob Adair
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his doctoral thesis research on the structure-function of the K meson
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms talks about Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the lessons he learned at Yale University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Allen Sessoms talks about his post-doctoral experience at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and his opportunity to go to work at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as a scientific associate at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his work in experimental particle physics on the Intersecting Storage Ring Collider (ISR) at CERN
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about science as a global enterprise
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to accept an assistant professorship in the physics department at Harvard University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about physicist, Richard Feynman
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Harvard University, and his interaction with notable scientists and faculty
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience as a Sloan Foundation Fellow, at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA)
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience with racial stereotyping while working at the U.S. State Department
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience while serving as a nuclear science advisor at the U.S. State Department in the 1980s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about the difference between the Carter and Reagan administrations' approach to nuclear weapons
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience at the Bureau of Oceans and International Environment of Scientific Affairs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as Counselor for Scientific and Technological Affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms discusses the deficiencies in STEM education in schools today
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in mediating the argument between Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier, on the discovery of HIV
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as the Minister and Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about the importance of US-Mexico relations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms talks about his transition from politics into higher education administration
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his work for the U.S. Foreign Service, and his experience at the University of Massachusetts
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about leaving the University of Massachusetts, and his decision to become the president of Queens College, New York
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about the long hours that are required to become a successful experimental physicist
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in establishing dormitories on the campus of Queens College, New York, while he was the president
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience in trying to establish a cancer and HIV research center at Queens College, New York
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about the merits of Queens College, and the diverse community of Queens, New York
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about his departure from Queens College, and his decision to return to Harvard University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at the Belford Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, and recollects the 9/11 attack
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his role as president of Delaware State University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in strengthening the football and basketball teams at Delaware State University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his role in increasing funding for Ph.D. programs at Delaware State University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about the shooting tragedy at Delaware State University in 2007
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms talks about his efforts to increase the diversity of the student body and faculty at Delaware State University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Allen Sessoms describes the problems faced by the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks his work at the University of the District of Columbia, and the politics in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about the history, the diverse demographics, and the affordable tuition rates at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about STEM education efforts at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about the focus on international studies at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his tenure as the president of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his life's choices
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community today
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his family
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about how he would like to be remembered