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Reatha Clark King

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Information about Reatha Clark King

Profile image of Reatha Clark King

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Chemist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved. A worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. - Bible verse, second Timothy 2:15.

Birthplace

Born:
4/11/1938
Birth Location:
Pavo, Georgia

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Chemist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved. A worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. - Bible verse, second Timothy 2:15.

Birthplace

Born:
4/11/1938
Birth Location:
Pavo
See how Reatha Clark King is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Chemist and corporate executive Reatha Clark King was born on April 11, 1938 in Pavo, Georgia. She moved with her mother to Moultrie, Georgia after her parents separated when King was in elementary school. The daughter of poorly-educated sharecroppers, King joined her family in the cotton fields throughout her childhood. King began her education in a one-room schoolhouse where she excelled in school. In 1954, King graduated as valedictorian from the Moultrie High School for Negro Youth. She then obtained a scholarship to Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia, earning her B.S. degree in chemistry and mathematics in 1958. King received a Woodrow Wilson fellowship to continue her studies at the University of Chicago. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physical chemistry in 1960 and 1963, respectively. Her Ph.D. thesis was entitled "Contributions to the Thermochemistry of the Laves Phases."

After earning her Ph.D. degree, King was hired by the National Bureau of Standards, becoming the agency’s first African American female chemist. As a research chemist, she won the Meritorious Publication Award for her paper on fluoride flame calorimetry. In 1968, King moved to New York City where she became an assistant professor at York College of the City University of New York in Jamaica, Queens. There, King quickly advanced her career, becoming associate dean for the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics in 1970, and associate dean for academic affairs in 1974. In 1977, King left York College to become the second president of Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota. Prior to her departure from New York, King received her M.B.A. degree from Columbia University. After eleven years at Metropolitan State University, King was hired at General Mills in Minneapolis, Minnesota as executive director of the General Mills Foundation and vice president of the General Mills Corporation. She retired in 2002, but remained with General Mills for one additional year as chair of the board of directors. Since 1979, King has served on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards, including the Exxon Mobil Company, H.B. Fuller Company, Wells Fargo & Company, Minnesota Mutual Insurance Company, University of Chicago, American Council on Education and the Council on Foundations. In 2011, she began her service with Allina Health Systems as a corporate director. Currently, King also serves on the board of the National Association of Corporate Directors and is Emeritus Trustee of the University of Chicago.

She has received many awards for her achievements including National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Director of the Year, Defender of Democracy Award from the Washington, DC. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. and Exceptional Black Scientist Award from the CIBA-GEIGY Corporation and 14 honorary doctorate degrees. She is married to N. Judge King and they have two children, N. Judge King, III and Scott King.

Reatha Clark King was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 01/16/2012.

See how Reatha Clark King is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King slates the interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King shares her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King describes her mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about her great grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about her grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King talks about her mother's family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King talks about her grandmother's view of race relations in Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about her father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about her father's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about how her parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King describes the similarities between she and her parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about her siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King describes the sights, sounds and smells of her growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King talks about working in the fields
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reatha Clark King talks about her elementary school experience
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about her grade school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about her parents' separation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about how her parent's separation affected her
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about why her sister chose to attend Dillard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King talks about how her mother struggled to make ends meet
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King talks about black professionals in her town
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reatha Clark King talks about the newspapers of her youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reatha Clark King reflects on her experience as a high school student and her interest in science
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about her high school education and why she chose to attend Clark College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about attending college
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about why she changed her major
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about her professors at Clark College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about her summer employment
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King talks about her experiences in New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King talks about being homecoming queen at Clark College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reatha Clark King talks about graduating from Clark College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about her experience at the University of Chicago
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King continues talking about her experience at the University of Chicago
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about working in the chemistry lab
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about her dissertation and the value of materials science to the economy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about her research
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about how she met her husband and graduating from the University of Chicago
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about Dr. Benjamin Mays
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about her publications
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about her transition from doing research to teaching
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about race relations at York College of CUNY
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King talks about her accomplishments at York College
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King explains why she decided to pursue her M.B.A degree
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about being hired as President of Metropolitan State University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about being President at Metropolitan State University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about her proudest moments as President at Metropolitan State
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about being recruited by General Mills, Inc.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about heading the General Mills Foundation
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King talks her experience at the Minnesota Council on Foundations
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reatha Clark King talks about her civic activities
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about being selected as one of Minnesota's most influential citizens
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about her experience as a Fellow in Philanthropy at the Herbert Humphrey Center
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King describes her legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King talks about her immediate family
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Reatha Clark King talks about some of her post-retirement endeavors and interests
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Reatha Clark King talks about she and her husband's philanthropy and interests
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Reatha Clark King talks about family and the importance of continuing education
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Reatha Clark King talks about what she likes to do in her spare time
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Reatha Clark King describes her current interest in chemistry
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Reatha Clark King describes her family photos