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George Langford

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Information about George Langford

Profile image of George Langford

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Cell Biologist
Academic Administrator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Apples
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
C'est la vie.

Birthplace

Born:
8/26/1944
Birth Location:
Halifax, North Carolina

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Cell Biologist
Academic Administrator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Apples
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
C'est la vie.

Birthplace

Born:
8/26/1944
Birth Location:
Halifax
See how George Langford is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Biologist and academic administrator George M. Langford was born on August 26, 1944 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina to Lillie and Maynard Langford. Langford excelled at math in high school and was fascinated by the shapes and structures found under the microscope. He studied biology at Fayetteville State University earning his B.S. degree in 1966. Despite the lack of laboratory facilities, Langford had good mentors who persuaded him to attend graduate school. He earned his M.S. degree in 1969 and his Ph.D. degree in 1971, both in cell biology from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He finished his postdoctoral training in 1973 from the cell biology program at the University of Pennsylvania as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fellow.

In 1973, Langford joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts as a professor of cell biology and conducted research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in 1976. He continued his career in academia, teaching at Howard University in 1977 and joining the faculty of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1979. He was promoted to a full professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1988. Langford’s research focused on the nerves of invertebrates as well as cellular motility. He was honored with an appointment to the National Science Foundation (NSF) where he served as director of cell biology from 1988 to 1989. In 1991, Langford joined the faculty of Dartmouth College as the Ernest Everett Just Professor of Natural Sciences and a professor of biological sciences where he remained until 2005. Between 2005 and 2008, Langford was employed at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Distinguished Professor of Biology. In 2008, he was engaged by Syracuse University as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Langford holds memberships in many nationally prominent professional societies including the American Society for Cell Biology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Corporation of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA and the Society of Sigma Xi. He served on the National Science Board (NSB) from 1998 to 2004, where he served as chair of the Education and Human Resources Committee and the Vannevar Bush Award Committee. Langford has been recognized numerous times for his work including the Illinois Institute of Technology Professional Achievement Award and the American Society for Cell Biology Ernest Everett Just Lectureship Award. Langford received an honorary Doctorate from Beloit College in 2003. He is married to Sylvia Langford and they have three children.

George Langford was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 6, 2012.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of George Langford's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - George Langford lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - George Langford describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - George Langford talks about his maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - George Langford talks about his mother's growing up in Potecasi, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - George Langford describes his mother's remarkable skills as a farmer and a homemaker
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - George Langford describes his father's family background - part one
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - George Langford describes his father's family background - part two
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - George Langford talks about his father attending high school, and his paternal family's reputation as merchants and tradespeople
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - George Langford discusses the history and demographics of Potecasi, North Carolina, and talks about Nat Turner and the slave revolt of 1831
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - George Langford describes the segregated town of Potecasi, North Carolina, while he was growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about his father's family receiving an education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - George Langford talks about his parents getting married in the early 1920s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - George Langford talks about segregation in North Carolina, and his father's role in mediating peace during inter-racial conflicts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - George Langford describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - George Langford talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - George Langford describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - George Langford describes his childhood memories on his family's farm in Potecasi, North Carolina, and talks about the home where he grew up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - George Langford describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Potecasi, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - George Langford describes his experience as the youngest of nine children
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - George Langford describes his interests while growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - George Langford talks about his father's physical strength and his long life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - George Langford talks about his access to African American magazines and newspapers while growing up in Potecasi, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - George Langford talks about all the schools that he attended, and describes his elementary school experience at Potecasi Graded School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - George Langford describes his experience in elementary school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about the high elementary school drop-out rate while he was in school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - George Langford describes his involvement in Church as a child, and his recollections of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - George Langford describes his experience during segregation in Potecasi, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - George Langford describes his experience at W.S. Creecy High School, his interest in science, and the mentorship that he received from his teachers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - George Langford talks about his interest in the physical sciences and his decision to major in biology in college
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - George Langford talks about his academic performance and his involvement in extracurricular activities at W.S. Creecy High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - George Langford talks about his mentors at W.S. Creecy High School, and his decision to pursue a college education at Fayetteville State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - George Langford describes his experience at Fayetteville State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - George Langford describes how the student government at Fayetteville State University facilitated the integration of Fayetteville in the 1960s-part one
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - George Langford describes how the student government at Fayetteville State University facilitated the integration of Fayetteville in the 1960s-part two
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - George Langford talks about his mentors, Joseph Knuckles and F. Roy Hunter, at Fayetteville State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - George Langford describes the strong liberal arts and education programs at Fayetteville State University, and his involvement in music while there
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - George Langford describes his first winter in Chicago, and talks about the blizzard of 1967
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - George Langford talks about his experience in Chicago, and how he met his wife, Sylvia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - George Langford talks about his doctoral advisor, William Danforth
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - George Langford talks about his interest in cell biology, and his mentors, Teru Hayashi and Jean Clark Dan, at the Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - George Langford talks about the unrest in Chicago, following Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about other black students at the Illinois Institute of Technology while he was a student there in the late 1960s and early 1970s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - George Langford describes his Ph.D. dissertation on the growth of the unicellular protozoa of genus Euglena, in the absence of oxygen
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - George Langford talks about the role of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) in shaping his research career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - George Langford describes his introduction to cell biology and live-cell imaging, and his experience at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - George Langford describes his postdoctoral studies on the mechanism of motility in Pyrsonympha, the native protozoa found in termite guts
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - George Langford talks about his experience at the University of Massachusetts in Boston and his reasons for leaving there
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - George Langford describes his rich scientific experience at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and its influence on his research career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - George Langford talks about the life of Ernest Everett Just, his pioneering science, and his tenure at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - George Langford talks about the similarities between his scientific career and that of Ernest Everett Just
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - George Langford describes being an African American researcher at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1970s, and current racial trends in science
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - George Langford talks about his appointment at Howard University and his subsequent transition to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - George Langford describes the racial challenges at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about segregation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the surrounding community in the 1980s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - George Langford describes his experience as the chairman of the Minority Affairs Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - George Langford describes his experience as the director of the cell biology program at the National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - George Langford talks about his appointment as the Ernest Everett Just Professor of Natural Sciences at Dartmouth College in 1991
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - George Langford describes the liberal arts style of education at Dartmouth College
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - George Langford describes his efforts to increase the retention of African American students in science at Dartmouth College
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - George Langford talks about the field of social science, and his efforts to educate his colleagues and students about the concept of "white privilege"
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - George Langford describes his groundbreaking discovery of actin-dependent organelle movement in squid axoplasm
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - George Langford talks about biologist, Robert D. Allen
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - George Langford describes the implications of his discovery of actin-dependent organelle movement in squid axoplasm
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - George Langford describes his service on the National Science Board, and talks about atmospheric scientist, Warren Washington
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - George Langford talks about his service on the National Science Board's National Workforce Task Force Sub-Committee in 1999
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - George Langford describes his service as the dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - George Langford describes his service as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - George Langford describes his current research on yeast toxins and the collaboration between science and humanities at Syracuse University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - George Langford shares his perspectives on how modern technology affects education
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - George Langford describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - George Langford reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - George Langford reflects upon his choices and shares his advice to young students who want to pursue studies in the STEM fields
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - George Langford talks about his family
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - George Langford talks about his exposure to the liberal arts and humanities at Dartmouth College
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about how he would like to be remembered