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Thomas W. Cole

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Information about Thomas W. Cole

Profile image of Thomas W. Cole

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
University President
Chemistry Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
It Is Amazing What You Can Accomplish If It Doesn't Matter Who Gets The Credit.

Birthplace

Born:
1/11/1941
Birth Location:
Vernon, Texas

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
University President
Chemistry Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
It Is Amazing What You Can Accomplish If It Doesn't Matter Who Gets The Credit.

Birthplace

Born:
1/11/1941
Birth Location:
Vernon
See how Thomas W. Cole is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Thomas Winston Cole, Jr. was born the second of four children to Eva and Thomas W. Cole, Sr. on January 11, 1941, in Vernon, Texas. The Cole family moved to Marshall, Texas, where his father was appointed President of Wiley College from 1958 to 1971. During his childhood, Cole attended public school and was an active Eagle Scout.

Cole graduated from high school in 1958 and attended Wiley College where he was active in the Kappa Chi and Alpha Kappa Mu Honor societies. Graduating summa cum laude from Wiley College in 1961, Cole received his B.S. degree and the Southern Regional Fellowship. Cole attended the University of Chicago and earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1966; it was here that he studied with P.E. Eaton and they became the first chemists to synthesize the Cubane Carbon Skeleton System.

Cole began his professional career in 1966 as an assistant professor at the Atlanta University Center, in Atlanta, Georgia. During his tenure, Cole would serve as chairman of the department of chemistry between 1970 and 1979; the Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Chemistry between 1969 and 1979; Chair of the Atlanta University Center chemistry department; and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs between 1979 and 1982. Cole also worked as a research scientist for Procter & Gamble and the Celanese Fiber Company. From 1982 to 1986, Cole was president of West Virginia State College. Following his presidency, Cole was appointed Chancellor of the West Virginia Board of Regents, one of four African Americans to head a state system of public higher education.

Cole returned to Atlanta to accept a position as president of Clark College in 1988, and led the oversight and planning for the consolidation of Clark College and Atlanta University. Cole served simultaneously as president of both institutions during the 1988-1989 academic years until his appointment as President of Clark Atlanta University in 1989. Cole continued to serve as president until 2002.

After retirement, Cole lived in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Brenda.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas W. Cole's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas W. Cole lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas W. Cole remembers his maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas W. Cole describes his paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas W. Cole describes his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas W. Cole describes his father, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thomas W. Cole describes his father, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas W. Cole lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thomas W. Cole describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thomas W. Cole explains his family's move to Bryan, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Thomas W. Cole remembers Washington Elementary School in Bryan, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Thomas W. Cole remembers his elementary school teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas W. Cole describes his father's approach to civil rights
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas W. Cole remembers Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his high school band
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas W. Cole remembers H.B. Pemberton High School in Marshall, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his participation in the Boy Scouts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas W. Cole remembers segregation in Marshall, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his decision to attend Wiley College in Marshall, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas W. Cole remembers pledging Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas W. Cole recalls the student protests at Wiley College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Thomas W. Cole remembers meeting his wife
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Thomas W. Cole recalls leaving the University of Texas in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Thomas W. Cole describes his studies at the University of Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas W. Cole explains the significance of his cubane research
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas W. Cole remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas W. Cole remembers teaching at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas W. Cole remembers working for Procter and Gamble Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas W. Cole recalls becoming the Fuller E. Callaway Professor at Atlanta University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas W. Cole describes his students at Atlanta University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas W. Cole remembers the Vietnam War draft
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thomas W. Cole remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Thomas W. Cole remembers working with the Atlanta Public Schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his sabbatical at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Thomas W. Cole remembers working for Celanese Fibers Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas W. Cole recalls teaching at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas W. Cole remembers his National Science Foundation grant
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas W. Cole describes his programs in the Atlanta Public Schools
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas W. Cole recalls serving as provost of Atlanta University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his presidency of West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas W. Cole remembers his delegation to China
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his chancellorship of the West Virginia Board of Regents
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Thomas W. Cole remembers his consideration as a gubernatorial candidate
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his decision to leave West Virginia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas W. Cole recalls consolidating Clark College and Atlanta University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas W. Cole describes the details of the Clark Atlanta University merger
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas W. Cole remembers funding changes at Clark Atlanta University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas W. Cole describes his international outreach for Clark Atlanta University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas W. Cole talks about Great Schools Atlanta
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas W. Cole describes Project Kaleidoscope
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thomas W. Cole reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thomas W. Cole describes his concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Thomas W. Cole describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Thomas W. Cole reflects upon his legacy