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J. K. Haynes

Biologist and academic administrator John K. “J.K.” Haynes was born on October 30, 1943 in Monroe, Louisiana to John and Grace Haynes. His mother was a teacher and his father was the principal of Lincoln High School in Ruston, Louisiana. Haynes began first grade when he was four years old. When he was six, his family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Haynes began attending Southern University Laboratory School. He attended Morehouse College when he was seventeen and he received his B.S. degree in biology in 1964. Haynes aspired to attend medical school. However, a professor advised him to apply to graduate school and he went on to attend Brown University, where he obtained his Ph.D. degree in biology in 1970.

Haynes completed his first year of postdoctoral research at Brown University, where he worked on restriction enzymes. During this time, he became interested in sickle cell anemia, which led to a second postdoctoral appointment in biochemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he worked with Vernon Ingram, the scientist who discovered the amino acid difference between normal and sickle cell hemoglobin. In 1973, Haynes joined the faculty at the Meharry Medical School as a junior faculty member in the department of genetics and molecular medicine and the department of anatomy. His research was focused on why sickle cells were less deformable than normal. In 1979, he returned to Morehouse College as an associate professor of biology as well as the director of the Office of Health Professions. As part of his work, Haynes created a program for high school students interested in medical school. Haynes has also helped recruit minority students into science with the assistance of agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Haynes became the endowed David E. Packard Chair in Science at Morehouse College and chairman of the biology department in 1985. In 1991, he took a sabbatical and went to Brown University to continue his work on sickle cells. Since 1999, he has served as Dean of Science and Mathematics at Morehouse College.

Under Haynes administrative leadership, new buildings for both chemistry and biology were built at Morehouse College as well as a curriculum with an emphasis on lab work. Haynes has published papers on cell biology as well as on undergraduate STEM education.

J. K. Haynes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 14, 2011.

Accession Number

A2011.013

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/14/2011

Last Name

Haynes

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Kermit

Schools

Southern University Laboratory School

Morehouse College

Brown University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Monroe

HM ID

HAY12

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

We're Building A House At The House.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/30/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lamb

Short Description

Academic administrator and biologist J. K. Haynes (1943 - ) developed methods for detecting and preventing sickle cell anemia. He joined the faculty of Morehouse College in 1979 and later became Dean of the Division of Science and Mathematics.

Employment

Meharry Medical College

Morehouse College

Brown University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:3029,36:5320,119:9033,184:15200,260:20140,375:20748,384:21964,402:36644,604:37232,613:39416,647:53116,845:55428,883:63870,1026:65040,1047:65352,1052:67810,1057:69640,1066:72810,1117:74630,1192:102459,1581:103089,1592:105357,1645:109880,1687:111988,1736:123810,1937:128080,2036:128850,2049:129270,2056:139160,2181:143316,2221:145087,2257:147474,2307:150169,2364:150554,2370:152017,2414:160924,2522:169586,2614:175549,2692:176353,2708:183284,2776:185156,2820:185804,2830:189417,2868:189886,2876:198375,3034:209050,3231:210022,3244:210589,3253:214938,3297:222558,3375:224702,3428:239610,3591$0,0:12120,145:13055,156:13990,167:15690,197:16370,208:19175,255:19515,260:28600,368:28925,374:29640,391:30550,412:31265,425:32760,456:33605,472:34255,484:34515,491:36205,533:37505,556:43550,696:44785,720:45435,728:45695,733:46085,764:53270,828:58198,935:62108,993:67291,1095:70722,1180:71525,1193:73131,1225:74737,1267:75175,1274:76124,1295:77219,1316:88180,1478:94387,1532:94751,1537:95115,1542:95570,1549:97390,1579:98118,1588:102625,1622:103275,1634:103535,1639:119418,1986:122822,2067:123488,2078:140640,2342:140900,2347:141940,2365:142200,2407:152455,2533:156089,2659:175900,2846:176960,2858
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of J.K. Haynes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - J.K. Haynes talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - J.K. Haynes recalls his childhood in Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - J.K. Haynes talks about himself as a student

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - J.K. Haynes explains his family's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - J.K. Haynes recalls his father's funeral home business

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - J.K. Haynes recounts his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - J.K. Haynes talks about his interests during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - J.K. Haynes talks about his experience in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes talks about resemblance to certain family members

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes recalls his experience at Morehouse College under President Benjamin Mays

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - J.K. Haynes recalls student activism in Atlanta

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - J.K. Haynes talks about the influential science faculty at Morehouse College, part 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - J.K. Haynes talks about the influential science faculty at Morehouse College, part 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - J.K. Haynes talks about his graduate school experience at Brown University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - J.K. Haynes talks about sickle cell anemia and relates his Ph.D. dissertation topic

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes describes his postdoctoral molecular biology research at Brown University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes responds to a question about his work as a biologist

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - J.K. Haynes discusses the nature of post doctoral research

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - J.K. Haynes talks about financial problems at the Meharry Medical College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - J.K. Haynes talks about his achievements in sickle cell anemia research, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - J.K. Haynes talks about his achievements in sickle cell anemia research, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - J.K. Haynes discusses his reaction to the first reported sickle cell anemia cure

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - J.K. Haynes talks about his research in sickle cell anemia, part 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes talks about his research in sickle cell anemia, part 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes discusses the nature of his scientific research and funding

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - J.K. Haynes describes Project Kaleidoscope

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - J.K. Haynes describes the history of the Nabrit-Mapp-McBay building at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - J.K. Haynes talks about his involvement with the American Society for Cell Biology Minorities Affairs Committee

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - J.K. Haynes recalls Walter Massey's presidency at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - J.K. Haynes talks about the sickle cell anemia drugs and treatments

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - J.K. Haynes reflects on the wisdom of his parents

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes talks about his academic promotions at Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes discusses health issues in the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - J.K. Haynes reflects on balancing his administrative, research, and teaching responsibilities

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - J.K. Haynes talks about the changing focus of sickle cell anemia research

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - J.K. Haynes talks about his involvement with the World Learning School for International Training

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - J.K. Haynes describes his concept for a program to develop new science faculty

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - J.K. Haynes shares his hopes for Morehouse College's future

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - J.K. Haynes talks about what he would have done differently in his career

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - J.K. Haynes discusses the impact of advice from his mentors

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - J.K. Haynes reflects on his life's accomplishments

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - J.K. Haynes talks about his family and his likeness to Ebony editor, Lerone Bennett

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes responds to a question about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes talks about his interest in art and music

DASession

1$1

DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
J.K. Haynes talks about the influential science faculty at Morehouse College, part 1
J.K. Haynes recalls Walter Massey's presidency at Morehouse College
Transcript
Some people like Lonnie King, and I think that Lonnie King may have been here. He may have been a senior when I was a freshman so Lonnie was one of these guys with Julian [Bonds] and others. That's what they spent their time doing.$$Now, was David Satcher a biology major too?$$Yes.$$Okay, so did you see a lot of him in the biology department?$$Yeah, yeah. So one of the powerful influences on the biology majors during that time was a guy by the name of Roy Hunter. And so Roy Hunter was one of, Roy loved David Satcher, and so when I came along under Roy Hunter, and so when I give talks about my mentors, he's the one who I always mention first at Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia].$$Now, why was Dr. Hunter so important?$$He was a powerful, powerful instructor. So he was a guy who had polio when he was a kid, and so he spent his life on crutches before he moved to a motorized cart. But when he taught at Morehouse, he was on crutches. Yet he could draw these beautiful diagrams of anatomy and embryos on the board, and he'd talk with such facility about the subject. And so for those--it turns out that he and Dr. [Frederick E.] Mapp who was the chair of the department at that time, did not necessarily get along. And so Roy Hunter's tenure at Morehouse was short-lived. But for those of us who came along during the time that he was there, or here, he was a tremendous influence on us.$$Now, where did he go when he left Morehouse, do you know?$$I think he became chair of the Department of Biology at Morgan State [University, Baltimore, Maryland]. And he eventually became chair of the Department of Biology at Atlanta University, and at some point, he went to work for Lou Sullivan at the Morehouse School of Medicine as an administrator.$$Okay.$$So one of the things that I regret most is not bringing him back to the faculty at Morehouse when I became chair of biology. He and I used to talk about that. I just couldn't pull it off. So one of the things that I did as chair of biology was to move in the direction of hiring people who not only taught but did research. So Roy was way beyond doing research, but he was such a giant that I wanted to have him in the midst just to have that history and tradition and the power that he conveyed just talking to students. And I just didn't pull it off. And he always reminded me, I'm still waiting for you to invite me back. I just, just couldn't do it.$$So, he's passed now?$$Yeah, he died, I guess, about ten years ago.$$Okay, okay, but a great mentor.$$Powerful mentor.$$Okay, now we always hear a lot about Henry McBay. Did you have him for--$$I took him for, I had him in general chemistry class, and was also powerfully influenced by him. People were more frightened by Henry McBay. So he's known for either producing chemists or producing politicians or ministers. So Maynard Jackson used to tell the story that the reason--because Maynard Jackson apparently wanted to be a physician when he came here. And so Henry McBay turned him towards politics.$$So in other words, he, you either succeeded sort of--$$That's right.$$--big time here or he pushed out of--$$That's right, right. So he was very demanding, put a lot of emphasis on the mathematical basis of chemistry. He would fill up the board with just equations, and he wrote beautifully. And his, he had sort of an extreme attitude about things, and so he frightened a lot of students. I mean I thought he was a great instructor. I enjoyed his style of lecturing. And I don't think I felt intimidated by him.$$That's interesting. Okay.$Okay. So in '95 [1995], Walter Massey becomes the ninth president of Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia]. He's a physicist.$$Right.$$Did his presidency facilitate science at Morehouse?$$Not as much as we thought it would, although Walter [Massey] was very supportive of a number of things that we did. So one of the important things that Walter did was to create three divisions at the college. So we have Business and Economics, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Science and Math. That was his idea, and so we've split the college now into about three equal parts. With about a thousand students--at the time, he was here, we had about three thousand students. And so his idea was to reduce the scale of the college more like it looked, and to make it more like it looked when he was a student here, so when I was a student, there were only eight hundred students at Morehouse. So he was trying to promote faculty-faculty interaction, faculty-student interactions, etc. And that actually had a transformative effect. So when we created, when we brought the three--six departments together that constitute the Division of Science and Math, it's been a, there was an explosion of activity. And so we meet, as a faculty, every month. People are talking across disciplines. And at some point, students finishing the division will have a more interdisciplinary education, which is where we wanna go. We're developing interdisciplinary curricula, interdisciplinary research and so I think while, at the time, it didn't seem like such a momentous deal, it has had an enormous impact. We began the Division of Science and Math with a grant that we got from the Packard Foundation. Walter was on the board of the Packard Foundation. So that's very helpful. So Walter is connected to the titans of American industry. So he brought the heads of GE [General Electric, Fairfield, Connecticut], Motorola [Inc., Schaumburg, Illinois]. Walter is more of a scholar than he is a business person. So he's not known for twisting arms. And so they didn't leave perhaps as much money as they might, but they came to know about us. And so the current president [Robert M. Franklin] I think is more of an arm twister, and I think, so we're gonna reap the benefits of what Walter has established. But Walter had to deal--you know, people have said about Walter that he's a guy who thinks very broadly. He's now the president of the Art Institute of Chicago, right, so (laughter). So he's had a very broad prospective, and so I think that he was a wonderful president at Morehouse. I don't know that he could afford, because we had a number of problems that he had to deal with. I don't know that he could afford to just tackle the sciences. So I think what he did was to seed something. And the fruits of that will be manifested in the years ahead.

Col. James Stith

Physicist and Retired U.S. Army Colonel James Stith was born on July 17, 1941, to Ruth Stith in Brunswick County, Virginia. Stith had three step-sisters—Wilma, Aldrena, and Joyce—and one half-sister, Juanita. Stith attended Oak Grove Elementary School and he graduated from James Solomon Russell High School in 1959. It was in high school that Stith decided he wanted to pursue a career in physics.

Stith went on to graduate from Virginia State College to earn his B.S. and M.S. degrees, both in physics, in the years 1963 and 1965, respectively. During his time at Virginia State College, Stith joined the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and worked as an instructor. In 1965, he was called to active duty in the U.S. Army for two years. Then, after a two-year term working with the Radio Corporation of America, Stith continued his education at Pennsylvania State University, where he earned his D.Ed. degree in physics in 1972. Following his graduation, Stith was recalled to active duty, and so he joined the faculty at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1976, Stith became the first tenured African American professor at the United States Military Academy, where he continued to work until he retired from his post in 1993. Stith retired from the United States Military Academy as a full professor of physics and from the military at the grade of Colonel. Stith then worked as a full professor of physics at Ohio State University until 1998. Following his time at Ohio State University, Stith was hired as the vice president of the Physics Resource Center of the American Institute of Physics, a position he would hold for ten years. Stith also served on the board of the Triangle Coalition from 1999 to 2006, and he joined the advisory board for Project Kaleidoscope in 1990. Additionally, Stith has served on several advisory committees of the National Research Council throughout his career.

Stith has played an important role in increasing the role of African Americans in the physical sciences and has been recognized by the Academy for his work. In 1990, he was elected Vice President of the American Association of Physics Teachers, and in 2004 he was recognized as one of the “50 Most Important Blacks in Research Science.”

Stith is married to Alberta Hill, and they have three adult daughters: Adrienne Yvette, Andrea Lynn, and Alyssa Joy.

James Stith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 14, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.083

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/14/2010

Last Name

Stith

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

H.

Schools

Oak Grove Elementary School

James Solomon Russell Middle School

Virginia State University

Pennsylvania State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Alberta

HM ID

STI04

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises

Favorite Quote

Bad News Doesn't Get Better With Age.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

7/17/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Physicist, academic administrator, and colonel (ret.) Col. James Stith (1941 - ) was the first tenured black professor at the United States Military Academy in 1976, and served as the vice president of the Physics Resources Center at the American Institute of Physics from 1998 to 2008.

Employment

American Institute of Physics

Ohio State University, Department of Physics

United States Military Academy

Radio Corporation of America

University of Maryland, Far East Division

United States Army

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue, Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:12961,127:13769,137:27662,293:32980,360:34740,403:36950,524:68984,873:71776,886:72112,891:73036,906:76419,999:81240,1048:81540,1053:83806,1074:84186,1080:85706,1112:87074,1145:92326,1179:92638,1184:96410,1267:96800,1277:100822,1299:101982,1312:108840,1398:115440,1485:128570,1659$0,0:1580,9:2120,17:4460,47:4820,56:5450,64:7340,123:15290,237:18665,310:37066,502:37858,511:40286,527:41354,541:43846,582:47050,638:49186,677:49720,684:59610,767:61928,789:69614,874:77174,956:77502,961:80864,1010:81602,1020:83324,1052:86750,1065:87998,1076:97046,1191:97982,1202:101830,1210:103831,1243:106441,1280:106963,1287:109138,1311:109573,1317:110095,1325:113080,1334:114695,1360:115265,1367:122485,1474:128090,1578:128660,1585:133330,1618:133670,1623:134350,1651:134690,1656:136645,1709:146930,2009:152036,2027:153950,2077:155370,2088
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Col. James Stith's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith shares his mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith describes his mother's extended family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith describes his family's farm

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith describes the lack of a father figure in his life

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith describes his relationship with his stepsisters

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith recalls his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Col. James Stith reflects on his mother's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith describes his childhood home and chores

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith discusses the Reformed Zion Union Apostolic Church

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith describes his inquisitive nature as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith talks about his elementary school, part 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith talks about his elementary school, part 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith describes his love for reading

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith remembers taking apart his family's clock

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Col. James Stith discusses the lack of exposure to science as a youth

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith recalls the effect of segregation in Brunswick County, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith describes James Solomon Russell High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith describes his high school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith remembers his uncle, Theodore Stith

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith describes his transition into high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith recalls his high school physics teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith recalls his teacher's advice to attend Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith recalls his college transition

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Col. James Stith describes his college professors and pledging for Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Virginia State College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith discusses the presidential election of 1960

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith recalls the loss of his family home and half-sister

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith discusses his graduate studies at Virginia State College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith describes his teaching experiences after college

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith talks about his military service in Korea

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith talks about his military service in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith describes his transition from the United States Army to civilian work and graduate studies

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Col. James Stith describes his graduate studies at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith describes his graduate dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith discusses his relationship with his graduate advisor, David Rank

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith talks about his search for a job after receiving his D.Ed. degree

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith describes minority population at the United States Military Academy in the 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith discusses the United States Military Academy's support of minorities

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith describes the "Black Officers at West Point"

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith describes how he became tenured at the United States Military Academy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith discusses the transition of the United States Military Academy to a co-educational institution

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith recalls his time at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith remembers his interactions with Daniel "Chappie" James

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith recalls his decision to leave the United States Military Academy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith describes his involvement with the American Association of Physics Teachers

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith describes the growing interest and concerns in physics education

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith discusses his work with The American Institute of Physics

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith recalls his time in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Col. James Stith describes his philosophy for physics education

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith discusses his hopes and concerns for the black community in physics education, part 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith discusses his hopes and concerns for the black community in physics education, part 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith discusses the founding of the National Society of Black Physicists

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith reminisces over his life decisions

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith reflects on his personal legacy in physics education

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith describes his family

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith reflects on his regrets and how he wants to be remembered

DASession

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DATitle
Col. James Stith describes how he became tenured at the United States Military Academy
Col. James Stith discusses his work with The American Institute of Physics
Transcript
Well, was it difficult to get tenured?$$Well--(pause) Well, put it this way, I was invited to dinner at this superintendent's house one night, and I went to dinner, and military protocol says when a general invites you to dinner, you arrive in a window of five minutes before or five minutes after. And so, at the appointed hour, I stepped on this general's porch and I looked around and there was no else coming. And my invitation said this was for cadets and other officers. And I was on time, right night, but no one else was coming. And so, I was a little bit, you know. Then I said, "What's going on?" I rang the doorbell and the sup's aide comes in and says, "Captain Stith [HistoryMaker Col. James Stith], the general has been waiting for you." I go into the living room, and General Beringer [ph.] is standing by his fireplace, and we talked for forty-five minutes, and then people started arriving. I got home that night and my wife [Alberta Hill] said, "Well, how was it?" And I said, "I was interviewed for something. I don't know what." So about two weeks later, my boss called me in and said, "The academy would like to offer you a permanent position at West Point [United States Military Academy, West Point, New York], and if it is offered would you accept?" And then we started that process.$$Okay. Okay.$$So then I became a tenured professor at West Point.$$Now, how long did--$$This was 1976.$$1976. Okay.$$So I had been there--this was my fourth year there, and I was a Captain, which was--it was highly unusual for a--because typically they were lieutenant colonels.$$Okay. We have to pause here.$$Okay.$$That's interesting.$So, now, when we shot the photos, the pictures with you Stephen Hawking--$$Yes.$$--and other people, I guess that's in the capacity of head of the--$$Of, of the American Institute of Physics. Not the head, but as the vice president for resources at the American Institute of Physics.$$Okay.$$And I had--I was responsible for all of the--well, all of the educational programs; the Center for the History of Physics, where we archived the history of the physics community; the research--the Statistical Research Group, where we collected the statistics on the physics community, how many Ph.D.s do we offer every year, how many B.S.s, how many master's [degrees], what were the annual salaries. Any, you know, all those kinds of things. So, the media and government relations, we did the lobbying that non-profits were allowed to do. And we tried to make known to the lay public and to all folks out there what was going on in physics. So we interacted with Congress. We interacted with--I mean, I started producing three, ninety-second TV clips a week that we sold to TV stations to try to get a steady dose of good peer-reviewed science on local TV And we ended up a hundred stations across the nation, with a 60 million audience reach with that effort. So those were the things that I did. And people would give us money to give prizes, and we would select people who were the--who had done the most to advance the science, and that's what Stephen Hawking got his award for. Yeah.$$I would guess in the last--this is a layman watching this and, you know, tuning into public radio and TV every now and then, more than any other time there's more physics education going on-$$Yes.$$--than, you know, from Carl Sagan--$$Yes.$$--to Stephen Hawkings--$$Yes.$$--to now Neil deGrasse Tyson (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) To Neil deGrasse Tyson.$$Tyson, he's a media superstar now, you know.$$Right, yes.$$Talking about physics.$$And so, people are beginning to think about that. And so, we're making an effort. We still have a lot of work to do, but that's what they're working on.

Thomas W. Cole

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.

Accession Number

A2006.173

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/15/2006

Last Name

Cole

Maker Category
Middle Name

W.

Schools

Wiley College

University of Chicago

H.B. Pemberton High School

First Name

Thomas

Birth City, State, Country

Vernon

HM ID

COL11

Favorite Season

None

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

It Is Amazing What You Can Accomplish If It Doesn't Matter Who Gets The Credit.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

1/11/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

University president and chemistry professor Thomas W. Cole (1941 - ) was the president of Clark Atlanta University, whose formation from Clark and Atlanta Universities he oversaw. He was also president of West Virginia State College, Chancellor of the West Virginia Board of Regents, and a professor of chemistry at the former Atlanta University.

Employment

Atlanta University

West Virginia State College

West Virginia Board of Regents

Clark Atlanta University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

10$1

DATitle
Thomas W. Cole remembers meeting his wife
Thomas W. Cole recalls consolidating Clark College and Atlanta University
Transcript
You also said that you met your wife on the campus [of Wiley College, Marshall, Texas]?$$No, I met my wife in high school [H.B. Pemberton High School, Marshall, Texas].$$Oh, you met her in high school?$$I met my wife in high school.$$Oh, okay.$$It's an interesting story. In our day the teachers from East Texas, which is that part of Texas I grew up in and Marshall [Texas] is in, would meet for the annual conference of black teachers. And one of the highlights of the meeting would be an all-star band. And they would invite band members from all of the high schools, and two from this school, three from this, and four from this and then they would, there would be a special director either from one of the colleges who would come in and direct us into performing during the last evening of the, of their conference. And so, my wife played clarinet as well, and so at that time, that's where I met. She and I sat next to each other and so what was a relationship that started out in high school just developed over time. She was two years behind me and so every, every, Easter break when we would meet, I would look forward to that 'cause I'd get a chance to see her. But that's how we met, she lived in a different city and so--and she went to a different college, but we maintained connections and eventually, eventually married in 1964.$$What is your wife's name?$$Her name is Brenda [HistoryMaker Brenda H. Cole].$$And what school did she go to?$$She went to Spelman [Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia].$So what happened if you would come and be president of Clark [Clark College; Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia]?$$Well, y- you know I really thought after considering the pros and cons that this the job that I was called to do. I had been at Atlanta University [Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia], Clark College was a United Methodist religious school, I'm a lifelong United Methodist. Having been in the AUC Center [Atlanta University Center; Atlanta University Center Consortium, Atlanta, Georgia], I knew half of the faculty at Clark College anyway and I knew them at Atlanta University. I had been president of a school, chancellor of a system, what better opportunity now to take all of that and use it to, to create a new university. And that's in fact how we saw it. Though we knew that Atlanta University needed something, an infusion of, of money or restructuring to, to survive, Clark College was, was constricted in terms of its development. It was landlocked, couldn't do anything really beyond what it was doing. Both schools were without a president so if there was a time to bring them together this was it. The only time. And after having lost a lot of sleep and deliberated and consulted with a lot of people, I finally decided in September of '87 [1987] to, to accept the assignment. Because, if it's gonna happen, I thought it was a, a situation whose time had come. There had been a lot of prior attempts to bring the schools in the Atlanta University Center together, none of them had been successful. In fact, the word was you are not gonna be able to do, and so, being a known entity to Atlanta University and being--having been president of Clark College at the time meant I could bring a little bit of both to the conversation that would, that would eventually lead to consolidation. And so for four months I commuted from West Virginia to Atlanta [Georgia] meeting privately with the board members to orchestrate, if you will, to talk about how do you pull this off. And so by December--between September and December then word was already out that I was coming as president of Clark College and that there is talk--they had a press conference and said that they were talking about bringing the schools together, but really between September and October we had worked it out. The chairs of both boards wanted to do it and so it was really just a matter now of dotting the I's and crossing the Ts and making sure that people who needed to know knew. So they created committees and the usual process like that and deliberated on the issues, the academic issues, the financial issues, the alumni issues, the student issues, and all that. And between January and March of 1988, we decided, or the committee actually decided with my--in--I was really kind of like the, the staff person to the committee. The committee decided on a name, decided on a mascot, decided on, on a motto, decided on all of that because the atmosphere among the members of the committee representing both schools was we wanna make this work. The question is how do we make it work? We know who the president's gonna be so that's a non-issue. Getting the name may be an issue, some of the--where people will end up might be an issue but we'll just have to work that out. And between--in that three-month period they had decided, went public.