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Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Non-profit executive Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey was born on September 25, 1954 in Seattle, Washington to Dr. Blanche Sellers-Lavizzo and Dr. Philip Lavizzo. She attended the University of Washington before transferring to the State University of New York-Stony Brook for two years. Lavizzo-Mourey then continued her education at Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1979. In 1984, she was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, and earned her M.B.A. degree in health policy from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1986.

Lavizzo-Mourey joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant professor. During her tenure, she served as the director of the Institute on Aging from 1984 to 1992. She took a leave of absence from the university to work as deputy administrator for the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research under President George H.W. Bush’s administration. Lavizzo-Mourey then served as quality of care chair for President Bill Clinton’s panels on health care until 1994, when she returned to the University of Pennsylvania as a professor. Lavizzo-Mourey served as the associate executive vice president for health policy for the health system from 1994 to 2001, and the Sylvan Eisman professor of medicine and health care systems at the university from 1997 to 2002. In 2001, Lavizzo-Mourey was hired as a senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and was appointed to serve as the president and CEO of the foundation in 2003. While at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Lavizzo-Mourey continued to see patients at a clinic in New Jersey, and launched an influential campaign against childhood obesity in 2007. The initiative decreased the obesity rate among children aged two to five years and halted its rise among those aged two to nineteen years.

Lavizzo-Mourey was the recipient of numerous awards, including twenty honorary doctorates from institutions like Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. She appeared on Forbes’ list of the most important women in the world eight times, and as one of Modern Healthcare’s one hundred most influential people in health care eleven times.

Lavizzo-Mourey and her husband, Robert Lavizzo-Mourey, have two adult children.

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 14, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.038

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/14/2016

Last Name

Lavizzo-Mourey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Juanita

Schools

Our Lady of Mount Virgin

John Muir Elementary School

Asa Mercer Middle School

The Bush School

University of Pennsylvania

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Harvard Medical School

Harvard

First Name

Risa

Birth City, State, Country

Nashville

HM ID

LAV03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/25/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Roasted chicken, fresh salad

Short Description

Non-profit executive Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey (1954 - ) advised on health policies for the Bush and Clinton administrations, and became president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2002.

Employment

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Various

University of Pennsylvania

The Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls her mother's childhood in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about her mother's aspirations in the medical field

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls her father's childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her father's medical paper

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls her parents' careers after medical school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her parents' private practice in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey remembers the Mount Baker neighborhood in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey remembers Our Lady of Mount Virgin School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls discrimination in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey remembers her early aspirations to become a doctor

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her family's religious and civic involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls her high school education

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her early mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls the economic climate of Seattle, Washington during the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about the recession in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls famous people from Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about the Black Panther Party in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her experience at The Bush School in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey remembers her father's death

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her college education

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her influences at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls her acceptance to Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about affirmative action

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her experiences at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her mentors at Harvard Medical School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls the controversy involving Dr. Bernard D. Davis

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey remembers her challenges in medical school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls the racial climate of Boston, Massachusetts during the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about her former classmate, Jill Stein

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her former classmate, Dr. Augustus A. White, III

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls her residency at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about health care legislation

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about preventive medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes the challenges of medical residency

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls completing her medical residency

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes the Lewis Katz School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls the history of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her decision to specialize in geriatric medicine

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls attending the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her responsibilities at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey remembers her role as the W.E.B Du Bois College House faculty advisor

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about racial tensions in Philadelphia, Pennslvania during the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey remembers notable students and professors at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her work for the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls working with Hillary Rodham Clinton on The Health Security Act of 1993

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about universal healthcare reform

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about her medical research

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about violence as a public health issue

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls her appointment as Sylvan Eisman Professor of Medicine and Health Care Systems

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes her program to reinstitute house calls

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about alternatives to home health care

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recalls becoming president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about her campaign to combat childhood obesity

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes the factors of a healthy childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes the factors of a healthy childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about the endowment of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about the health crisis in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey reflects upon her family

Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

8$7

DATitle
Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey remembers her early aspirations to become a doctor
Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey talks about her campaign to combat childhood obesity
Transcript
I'm thinking you've got two parents [Blanche Sellers Lavizzo and Philip V. Lavizzo] who are physicians, did you spend or did your siblings spend a lot of time in the office?$$Um-hm.$$Or yeah, you know, downtown [Central District, Seattle, Washington]?$$I, that's a, that's a great question, we did, I probably spent more than the others, my fondest memory really is Saturday mornings because Saturday mornings was the special time that I had with my mother, she practiced on Saturday mornings, so a pediatrician, you--good time to be in the office if you're gonna take care of kids right? Saturday mornings, so every Saturday morning she and I would drive down to her office which was about three or four blocks from the YWCA [Young Women's Christian Association] and I would then walk to the Y, get a swimming lesson and after my swimming lesson I'd walk back to her office and hang out for the rest of the morning with her and thinking I was helping out in the lab and, you know, sitting in the waiting room with her patients and just being there and seeing her do her work and how people responded to her. And I think that, that really instilled in me the joy of being a doctor, yeah. There were other times that we spent time with them and those were usually when there was an emergency in the evening and they had to go into the hospital there was, there wasn't anybody who could take care of us, you know? The, they were three thousand miles away from their family and anybody who could really come and, come over and help out in the evening, so when that happened we all piled into the car and went to the emergency room, my parents would do their work and my brother [Philip Lavizzo] and I would hang out at the nurses station and, again that was, that was pure joy for me, I think it was just the opposite for my brother.$$Okay, okay. So, so you--you're learning, I guess directly and vicariously about the profession--$$Um-hm.$$--the medical profession by being around--$$Yeah (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) two doctors.$We've invested in ensuring that kids have a healthy weight, it really--a billion dollars in reversing the epidemic of childhood obesity (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) You know that was a big initiative that was launched soon after you joined Robert Wood (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yes.$$The Johnson Foundation [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, New Jersey], and one in which the first lady participated in, you know, to a great extent, I mean she was, you know, she made commercials and, and appeared around the country, you know, on behalf of exercise and eating the right foods and--$$Shortly after I became president, I really initiated our commitment to reversing the epidemic of childhood obesity. At the time, there were a lot of debates about whether it was really a problem and we were largely as a country ignoring the, the fact that rates of childhood obesity were steadily going up and the consequences of children being obese at a young age were going to be devastating because all of the illnesses that are associated with obesity like high blood pressure and heart disease and asthma were things that they would start to get at a much younger age. So instead of getting them, these diseases in middle age, they would--we were starting to see diabetes in childhood and in children in their teens and in their early twenties and that of course could lead to a situation where we were producing a generation that was gonna die younger than their parents' generation, in fact, we are seeing now a decrease in life expectancy. So we at the foundation and, and really was a signature program under my administration to address childhood obesity and I remember going to meet with Michelle Obama before she was the first lady, when she was Senator Barack Obama's [HistoryMaker President Barack Obama] wife working in community programs at the University of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois]. And it was very clear that then that she was passionate about this issue and so it was extremely gratifying to see her take that on when she became first lady and to essentially become a champion for good policies for educating parents and for changing the, the ways that communities addressed the health of children.

Martin Kilson

Professor Martin Kilson was born on February 14, 1931 in East Rutherford, New Jersey to Reverend Martin Kilson and Louisa Kilson. After his family’s move to Ambler, Pennsylvania, Kilson attended Ambler High School, graduating from there as an honor student in 1948. He then attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he studied under then university president Dr. Horace Mann Bond. Graduating as class valedictorian, Kilson received his B.S. degree in political science in 1953, and was awarded a John Hay Whitney Fellowship to study at Harvard University, where he earned his Ph.D. degree in political science in 1959.

After finishing his doctorate degree, Kilson spent eighteen months conducting field research in West Africa under a Ford Foundation Fellowship. He then returned to Harvard as a research associate in the Center for International Affairs, and was appointed lecturer in Harvard’s Department of Government in 1962. As one of only two African American junior faculty members at Harvard, Kilson also served as the faculty advisor for the newly founded Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Students Association during the 1960s. In 1966, he published his first book, Political Change in a West African State: A Study of the Modernization Process in Sierra Leone, based on his field research in Sierra Leone. In 1969, Kilson became a full professor of government at Harvard College, making him the first African American professor to gain tenure there. A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1975, Kilson was instrumental in the development of African American studies both as an academic discipline and as a department at Harvard University. He was appointed the Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government in 1988, a position he held until his retirement in 1999.

In addition to authoring hundreds of academic articles, Kilson also served as a co-editor of numerous essay collections, including The African Diaspora: Interpretive Essays, which was the first published work to use the term “African diaspora.” He returned to Harvard to deliver the annual W.E.B. DuBois lectures in 2010, and published his book, The Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880-2012, in 2014.

Kilson and his wife, Marion Dusser de Barenne Kilson, have three children: Jennifer, Peter, and Hannah.

Martin Kilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 22, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.103

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/22/2016

Last Name

Kilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

L.

Schools

Lincoln University

Harvard University

First Name

Martin

Birth City, State, Country

East Rutherford

HM ID

KIL02

Favorite Season

Spring and Fall

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Hampshire Summer House

Favorite Quote

Hard Work And Discipline Produce Good Results.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

2/14/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Okra

Short Description

Professor Martin Kilson (1931- ) was the first African American tenured professor at Harvard University, where he taught for forty-two years. He retired in 1999 as the Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government.

Employment

Harvard University

Favorite Color

Blue

Judith Jamison

Dancer and choreographer Judith Jamison was born on May 10, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Tessie Brown Jamison and John Jamison, Sr. While encouraged by her parents to study the piano and violin, Jamison gravitated towards ballet. At the age of six, Jamison began taking lessons at the Judimar School of Dance in Philadelphia. She went on to study the techniques of African American dance pioneer Katherine Dunham. Jamison graduated from Germantown High School in Philadelphia, and enrolled at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. However, she left Fisk to study dance and kinesiology at the Philadelphia Dance Academy, now part of New York City’s University of the Arts.

In 1964, Jamison earned critical acclaim for her work with choreographer Agnes de Mille and the American Ballet Theatre in New York. A year later, Alvin Ailey invited Jamison to join the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where she was featured in numerous productions, toured with the company to Africa and Europe and earned international acclaim for her signature performance of Cry, a fifteen minute solo piece written by Ailey for Jamison. Jamison went on to appear as a guest performer with the San Francisco Ballet, the Swedish Royal Ballet, the Cullberg Ballet, and the Vienna State Ballet. In 1980, Jamison performed on Broadway in Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies with Gregory Hines. That same year, Jamison began her own work as a choreographer. She premiered her first ballet, Divining, with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1984. In 1988, Jamison founded The Jamison Project Dance Company.

Jamison returned to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1989, assuming the role of artistic director following the death of founder Alvin Ailey. In 1993, Jamison choreographed Hymn, a tribute to Ailey, and published her autobiography, Dancing Spirit. Under her leadership, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater joined forces with Fordham University to establish a joint bachelor of fine arts program with a multicultural dance curriculum. Jamison also spearheaded the construction of the company’s first permanent home, the Joan Weill Center for Dance. Although Jamison stepped down as artistic director in 2011, she remained associated with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as artistic director emerita.

Judith Jamison was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 30, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.014

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/30/2016

Last Name

Jamison

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Schools

Charles W. Henry School

Germantown High School

Fisk University

University of the Arts

First Name

Judith

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

JAM07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Toubab Dialao, Senegal

Favorite Quote

Pray, Prepare And Proceed.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/10/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salad

Short Description

Dancer and choreographer Judith Jamison (1943 - ) gained international acclaim as a dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, before taking over as the company's artistic director in 1989 following the death of founder Alvin Ailey.

Employment

American Ballet Theatre

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Harkness Ballet

Jacob's Pillow

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Judith Jamison's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Judith Jamison lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Judith Jamison describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Judith Jamison describes her religious upbringing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Judith Jamison describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Judith Jamison recalls her family's support during her early years in dance

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Judith Jamison describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Judith Jamison describes her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Judith Jamison describes her early dance training with Marion Cuyjet

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Judith Jamison remembers her childhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Judith Jamison describes her schools in Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Judith Jamison remembers her decision to attend Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Judith Jamison describes her experiences at Fisk University

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Judith Jamison recalls her introduction to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Judith Jamison describes the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater style

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Judith Jamison recalls auditioning for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Judith Jamison reflects upon her dance training

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

9$7

DATitle
Judith Jamison describes her early dance training with Marion Cuyjet
Judith Jamison recalls auditioning for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Transcript
So, but Marion Cuyjet, what, can you talk about her role?$$Yeah.$$Because she also was an interesting person (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, Marion, Marion, oh my goodness; Ms. Marion, we called her--$$Ms. Marion.$$--Ms. Marion, we never called her Marion. I didn't even call her Marion when she came to see me dance and I was an adult. I was like, "Hi Ms. Marion," and became this little kid again, you know. She was an amazing black woman who looked white. She had red hair, white skin and green eyes and she was as black as you and me and she was proud of that and she started a school [Judimar School of Dance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] for the little black kids who study ballet because you couldn't study back then. To this day people still have trouble getting in schools to study classical ballet; so she made that possible, I mean that's her, she made, she opened a world to us that was not just about classical ballet, but about [HistoryMaker] Katherine Dunham 'cause she was studying--she was teaching Dunham's technique, tap. I'm so glad I had tap because I ended up on Broadway starring in 'Sophisticated Ladies' with Gregory Hines, the greatest, oh my goodness, what a dancer he was and there I was on the stage with him. Thank God I had--Ann Bernardino [Veda Ann Bernardino] was my tap teacher back then. We had the, in--I said Dunham classes, we had acrobatics, that's when I found out there was no way I was going to be a gymnast, no way, this back does not do what gymnasts' backs do, didn't enjoy that, but learned something, had to try it, right. So she gave us the--and she gave tea dances. On Saturday afternoons and she would have guys, the guys in the school and the girls in the school and we'd have gloves on and little skirts and it would be tea on the side and she would actually have dances where you know, you had to stay that far apart and the guy was like this (gesture) and you danced you know, it was, it was very formal and very enriching, I mean you learned so much about how, how to be social even though I wasn't, but you learned how to be, you know, and to engage other people in conversation other than dance. This was one thing I loved about Alvin [Alvin Ailey], Mr. Ailey, he taught us how to do, how to, how to live outside of the box of dance and engage everyone because everyone's your audience.$$Well I was surprised also with how many people she, you know, what, how much you were exposed to--$$Oh yeah.$$--from a dance perspective, through, through, through Ms. Marion (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right. And she was, and she also farmed me out so-to- speak, farmed me out. Was--and she--I don't know if everybody was getting the same attention I was getting and I'm not, I can't remember that everyone got a chance to study with Antony Tudor when you, they were ten years old, you know, or that--I started taking private lessons with a, oh, what was his name, Yuri Gottschalk, he was a marvelous--I think he was a Latvian, please be Latvian. When I, when I was a kid, I was ten, eleven, twelve and I would take class at his home holding on--there's a thing called the barre; you start class with the barre, you're at the barre, you hold on to the barre and you do--I use to hold on to his stove and he use to put oil on the floor and if anybody knows anything about maintaining these positions that we have in, in ballet, first position, second position, it's based on rotation of the hips, so you were turned out, very unnatural way to stand, but you rotated and turned out, your, your feet are turned out this way (gesture) and in order to hold that properly you really have to use muscles that you don't think you have, you've got to find them and if somebody puts oil under, you better find those muscles otherwise your feet just slide back and, so here I was learning these little tricks of the trade that really would help me later on because Marion passed me on as I was studying her to all these different teachers, excellent teachers.$So you, you tell the story of how you were at the audition and you know he [Alvin Ailey] (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh, it was a disaster.$$--sees you, what does he see, that's what I'm saying--he called--$$I have no idea.$$You've never, you've (unclear)--$$I did not. I was terrible at that audition. All I know is I've always had an upward trajectory in my head that I had God's ear and that I was just going this way (gesture) up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up; okay, so in that can you imagine my emotions after not having danced for three months; because I was working the World's Fair [1964 New York World's Fair, New York, New York], you know (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) (Unclear)--$$--from '64 [1964], '65 [1965] after Ballet Theatre [American Ballet Theatre]. There're no black people in Ballet Theatre, hello, now, what do we have, one, two, three something, but you know, every step, what can I say, but there was no gigs, so I was there at the log flume ride Texas Pavilion, that's when Martha Johnson comes in, the pianist I was telling you about at Ballet Theatre, she tells me to go to an audition. I haven't danced for three months. I'm at an audition with people who have been dancing for their lives and back then in 1965, black women were wearing wigs like crazy, lashes like this (gesture), heels, stiletto heels. You went to an audition for a television show. You didn't show up in pink ballet shoes and tights, which is what I did and, and then I couldn't learn a step because it was a wonderful woman named Paula Kelly, who was an extraordinary dancer, who was demonstrating Mr. McKayle's, [HistoryMaker] Donald McKayle's steps and I had never seen steps like that before and I was so stunned by the steps and by her executing them and I was like (gesture), I couldn't learn a thing. I was too stunned. I was just (gesture) so that he calls me three days later after I failed this audition miserably and I didn't even see him at the audition. I didn't know he was there. I just passed by somebody that was sitting on the steps. I didn't know it was him because I was like this (gesture). I was totally in a state of shock, calling my mother [Tessie Brown Jamison] on the phone saying, "I don't know what I'm going to do, but I want to stay in New York [New York], but I don't know, you know," I'm boohooing. And that's the three days later then he calls me and said, "Would you like--this is Alvin Ailey, would you like to join my company [Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater]?" And of course I go, "Yeah, fabulous," and I'm excited and all that, but it's like a blur. It's like a blur. I didn't, I didn't go like, "What did he see in me that he would--?" I didn't then, that, and then I walk into the, the, rehearsal, my first rehearsal and all those people that I saw on stage, not all of them, but some of them are in that, and the first partner I had is the person that I--you know, I mean that, that, you just kind of--and you walk in, I walked in like, like this (gesture), you know like, "Oh, Mr. Truitte [James Truitte]." And then he says, "Girl get over there and learn those steps," you know, I mean--it was just shut down right away, that come on, this is terra firma, you've got a gig now. We're going out in, in four weeks, in three weeks, you got two weeks, you've got to learn eight ballets, go learn them, boom, boom. I went to work right away, there was no like awe and you know, like, like people on pedestals or anything like that, you had your chance when you saw him on stage, then you put him on a pedestal, now you're working with him, guess what, no time for that other stuff. So it wasn't until much later that I figured he saw--and he would tell me that I was probably the most musical dancer he had ever had. I was totally musical, innately musical, that there were things that, how did he call it, revatto [ph.]. There were things that I understood about continuing movement and stopping movement and just a, in, just a natural talent, not a technique talent, you, you've got to learn technique. A lot of people, black people, get into that all the time where it takes no thought, you can dance, you've always been able to dance, not like that, I had to go to school to learn how to do this, period, you know. But yes, he saw that musicality in me and he would, he would--that's why when we were working together that he didn't have to turn around and tell me a whole bunch of stuff. He didn't have to explain a lot of things to me. He would do the movement and I would do the movement copying him and there's no way I could look like him doing the movement, but what, when he would turn around he would be pleased.$$With what he saw--$$Yeah, most of the time (laughter), most of the time. So, yeah, that, he, he, he saw something--I always, when I see dancers that are really special to me it's like they're, they're not from this planet. They are from someplace else you know, they've, they've just arrived, they're here for a little bit then they go on back to where they, where they came from in the first place. They, they're creatures. They're creatures. They, they're human when they step off the stage and do whatever they're doing there, but they are, they are creatures that have, that are full of, of this loving humanity that they only want to share with you for that two and a half hours on stage, isn't that a wonderful thing you know, and when that, when that hits you know it, the audience knows it, you know it and you go away with an experience that you'll never forget. That's what I saw when I saw the company the first time, you know.

Earl Lewis

Foundation president, historian and academic administrator Earl Lewis was born in 1955 in Norfolk, Virginia. Lewis attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he graduated in 1978 with his B.A. degree in history and psychology. After graduating from Concordia College, Lewis enrolled in the University of Minnesota and received his M.A. degree in history in 1981. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. in 1984 from the University of Minnesota.

In 1984, Lewis was hired as an assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Then, in 1989, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan as an associate professor of history and African American and African Studies. One year after his arrival at the University of Michigan, Lewis was appointed as the director of the university’s Center for African American and African Studies. He became a full professor of history and African American and African Studies in 1995, and a faculty associate in the Program in American Culture. In 1997, Lewis was promoted to interim dean of the University of Michigan’s Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Shortly thereafter, in 1998, Lewis became the vice provost for academic affairs for graduate studies and dean; and, in 2003, he was appointed the Elsa Barkley Brown and Robin D.G. Kelley Collegiate Professor of History and African American and African Studies. Then, in 2004, he was hired as both provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and as the Asa Griggs Candler professor of history and African American studies at Emory University. Lewis was Emory University’s first African American provost and the highest-ranking African American administrator in the university’s history. In 2013, he left Emory University and assumed a new role as president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Lewis has edited, authored or co-authored seven books. They include the 1991 monograph In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power in Twentieth-Century Norfolk, 2000’s To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans, 2001’s Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White, and 2004’s The African American Urban Experience: From the Colonial Era to the Present. Lewis is also the author of more than two dozen scholarly articles and has served on several academic and community boards, including the American Historical Review, Council of Graduate Schools, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Academy of Science’s Board on Higher Education and the Workforce, and the Center for Research Libraries. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.

Earl Lewis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 18, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.255

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/18/2013

Last Name

Lewis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Concordia College

University of Minnesota

Indian River High School

First Name

Earl

Birth City, State, Country

Norfolk

HM ID

LEW14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Favorite Quote

We Serve As, Rather Than We Are, Before Titles

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/15/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steamed Blue Crab

Short Description

History professor, academic administrator, and foundation chief executive Earl Lewis (1955 - ) , author of In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power in Twentieth-Century Norfolk, was Emory University’s first African American provost and the highest-ranking African American administrator in the university’s history.

Employment

University of California, Berkeley

University of Michigan

Emory University

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

University of Minnesota

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Earl Lewis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis shares his memories of his father, Earl Lewis, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes how his parents met and his father's death

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes the importance of education in his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his maternal grandmother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis describes his maternal grandfather's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about the churches his family attended

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis shares his earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis shares his earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis recalls the diversity of his childhood neighborhood in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis reflects on the opportunities he had as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis describes how his mother took care of him and his brother after their father died

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood responsibilities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis describes his experience attending Crestwood Elementary, Junior High, and High School in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about his experiences of racism at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his experiences of racism at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes integrating the Key Club at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his mother's experience as a teacher at an integrated elementary school in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to attend Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his initial impressions of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the black community at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and why it has diminished

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes his experience studying psychology and history at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes his experience at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about overcoming his ambivalence about an academic career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about his friends and mentors in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis talks about being hired as an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the reception of his doctoral thesis and his book, "In Their Own Interests"

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes what his dissertation taught him about the history of his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes the research methods he used on his dissertation at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis describes the quantitative study of social history at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis describes interviewing at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his mentors at the University of California, Berkeley and publishing his first book

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about his conflict with Henry Lewis Suggs after the publication of his first book

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to leave the University of California, Berkeley for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to leave the University of California, Berkeley for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes the University of Michigan's Center for Afroamerican and African Studies in 1989

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about his experience directing the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about publishing "The Young Oxford History of African Americans"

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his interdisciplinary approach to African American studies

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the work of one of his students, Merida Rua, and how the study of African American history has changed

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about writing his book with Heidi Ardizzone "Love on Trial," pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis talks about writing his book with Heidi Ardizzone "Love on Trial," pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis talks about the response to "Love on Trial"

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the structure of "Love on Trial"

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about his approach to publication

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis talks about balancing his administrative obligations with his teaching, publishing, and family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis talks about his family and divorce from Jayne London

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis describes his role in the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his role in the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the importance of the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about the presidents of the University of Michigan during his tenure

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes becoming Provost of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2004

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as Provost of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the diversity of staff and faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about leaving Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis talks about becoming President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis talks about becoming President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about the financial problems faced by universities

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his plans for promoting diversity and performing arts through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the future of African American studies departments, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about the future of African American studies departments, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis reflects on how race and his childhood affected his first book, "In Their Own Interests"

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes the problems facing African American historians in the academy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about other organizations that fund the arts, sciences, and humanities

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis shares his views on the future of the humanities

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis reflects on his life's journey, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis reflects on his life's journey, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis reflects on his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

9$5

DATitle
Earl Lewis describes his experience at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Earl Lewis describes becoming Provost of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2004
Transcript
And when I got into the University of Minnesota [Minneapolis, Minnesota] right after I finished Concordia [College in Moorhead, Minnesota], so I left Concordia and went right to Minnesota with, to University of Minnesota, with a break in the summer where I worked for Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Company and I designed an attitude survey for the whole company and implemented that attitude survey using my psychology degree. And then a few months later I left there, they hired someone else to do the data analysis and I went to graduate school at the University of Minnesota, initially just to get a masters. I was gonna get a masters. And I got into graduate school and I discovered I still, if, if I have something to work on, it was actually finding my own voice as a writer because I realized undergrad and even early graduate school, you're reading so many different people and you're trying to figure out how to be like one of them. And then Russ [Russell Menard] took me aside one day and he said, "Earl, let me tell you a secret." I said, "Sure Russ." He says, "I started out thinking I was gonna be the next generation Perry Miller and only discovered I couldn't do the work in intellectual colonial history the way Perry Miller did. And then I became an economic historian and it refocused who I was and I was able to find by own voice." He says, "Just think about who you wanna be. Stop thinking about who all these other folks have been, and see if you can't find your own voice." That was actually quite valuable and-- So my second year of graduate school in the masters program I thought, "You know what? I may be able to get a Ph.D." Meanwhile Joe Trotter [Joe William Trotter, Jr.] was ahead of me. So Joe pulled me aside and he says, "Earl," and I said, "What?" He said, "I got a prediction." I go "What's that's, Joe?" He goes, you gone be the next African American to get a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in the History Department. I said, "Well there are people ahead of me." He says, "I know. But you will be." And, and, and I to this day I thank him 'cause it was at that point where he was telling me something that I was just discovering about myself. That yeah, I could do this. And, and so after getting the masters then I talked to the professors and applied to get into the Ph.D. and, and with an understanding and said, "And this is how long I plan to be in graduate school." So I, tell me now if I can, I don't wanna be here more than six total years. I've had enough Minnesota winters. I know exactly how many more I plan. And they all agreed they thought I could move at pace and Joe had been able to do it in five and I figured I could do it in six. He was on full scholarship the whole time and I wasn't. And, and I did. And, and even in, even at the university I ended up discovering that I could do a lot of things in that graduate program and so I ended up my, my major was, area was U.S. History. But I also had a heavy secondary major in African Peoples History. And so I used to always joke with my own doctoral students who would complain about exams, I'd say "Look, I took an eight hour written exam in U.S. History. I took an eight hour written exam in African History. And then I took a two hour oral exam. So that was sixteen hours of writing. And four hours I think, you can survive." And, and, and that was the sense and I remember talking, Allen Isaacman and Lansine Kaba and I said "Why are you guys making me take this eight hour written exam.? I'm not an Africanist. I mean it's not my major area." And they, they said, "because we know you can do it."$So what made you decide to go to Emory [University in Atlanta, Georgia] then? What was that, that decision?$$It was probably driven by three factors. One, several people had come to me several times and said "Earl are you gonna be the next provost of the University of Michigan?" And I said, "I don't know." And my friend and colleague, Paul Courant, had been the acting provost when Joe [B. Joseph White] was the acting president. When Mary Sue [Coleman] came in, there were some who believed then there was gone be a search process for the next president, I mean provost. And Mary Sue decided that she was comfortable with Paul staying in that role. So she lifted the title of "acting" and made him provost. I said "Okay. So my, not gonna happen here at this moment." I get a call from Spencer Stuart's search consulting firm and the search consultant called me and says, "Earl last time we talked was about five years ago, and you said to me call you back in five years when your daughter is about to graduate from high school. By my records your daughter is about to graduate from high school. Would you be interested in thinking about being the provost at Emory?" And I said to her, "Paula (ph.) that is really good. I have dealt with a lot of search consultants but I've never known anyone to maintain a five year tickler file." I said, "You got, at least you got my interest here." And she said, "Well things have changed at Emory." And I said (unclear) 'cause I, I knew a little bit about Emory. And I go, I'm not sure to what the new president and at least consider it. And then several other peoples said to me, "Just think about it Earl." So I went and had a conversation in, with the folks at Emory. I met [James] Jim Wagner, who years older than I am and had grown up in the other place. If I had been a Virginia boy, he's a Maryland boy. And so, and we hit it off. And I thought "Okay. I, maybe I could be provost." So I went back to Michigan and I explained to them, to Mary Sue here's my, here's what I'm thinking. They offered me two more jobs (laughter). They were making me vice president of research and the head of international if I stayed. And I started to laugh. I had, and by that time I had remarried and, Susan [Witlock] and I were married, and I said and, and Susan had lived in Ann Arbor longer than I had and, and, I said "Well I can stay at Michigan and have three jobs and get paid for one, or I can go to Emory and be a provost and have the title that goes with those, in some ways, the elements of those three jobs." And so, and I went back to Mary Sue and just asked a question, a little bit about her view of the tenure of the provost and when that may open up again and whether or not I, help me think about whether or not I'd be better off biding my time at Michigan or going and being a provost in the next few months. And I didn't get the answer I wanted. And, and, and so I left. Now irony of ironies, right, I get to Emory, I'm there a year and I get a call back because Paul's stepping down as provost and, and would I come back and I go, "No." It was a missed moment. I several, board members had thought I was gone be the next provost and several, much of the campus had thought I would have been, it didn't happen, that door is closed. I had made at least a five year commitment to Emory, and I try not to renege on those kind of pledges and promises.$$And so you this, you're coming in as provost is historic--$$Yeah.$$--for Emory.$$It's historic for Emory--$$--because there's no African American provost--$$I was the highest ranked African American in Emory's history, ever period. I mean, and to be honest if you look across the South there probably have only been two African Americans that have been into the level of provost or above, or certainly the level of provost at one of the major southern universities. The other person was Bernadette Gray-Little at Chapel Hill [University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill]. And Bernadette and I were provost about the same time. And, but if you go through the history and, I mean, and truth, I mean sad truth is that right now and among the AAU [Association of American Universities] institutions, the leading research universities in the United States, there are no African American provosts. I mean in sixty-something institutions, there's one fellow who was African-born who I think has become a naturalized citizen who is provost at [University of Illinois] Urbana-Champaign [HM Ilesanmi Adesida], but when I stepped out of this role there is no one. So it's even more than Emory its, there's initial in my view, where the larger complex of American, higher education in particular at the major research universities.

Kenneth C. Frazier

Pharmaceutical executive, lawyer, and corporate general counsel Kenneth C. Frazier was born on December 17, 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to janitor and former sharecropper Otis Tindley Frazier and homemaker Clara Elizabeth Frazier. The second of three children, Frazier grew up in the deeply impoverished neighborhood of North Philadelphia. Frazier’s parents strongly encouraged education and hard work, ensuring that each of their children knew what it took to succeed. In 1966, when Frazier was twelve, his mother passed away, leaving Otis Frazier to raise three children alone. Frazier graduated from Northeast High School in Philadelphia before attending Pennsylvania State University. Upon completing his B.A. degree in 1975 with highest honors, Frazier enrolled at Harvard Law School, receiving his J.D. degree in 1978.

For the next fourteen years, Frazier worked as a lawyer and, eventually, partner at the Philadelphia law firm of Drinker, Biddle, & Reath. There he represented many corporate clients, including AlliedSignal and Merck & Co., Inc. However, the case which brought Frazier the most praise during this time was the pro bono work he contributed to freeing the innocent Willie “Bo” Cochran after twenty-one years on death row. Frazier accepted a position at Merck & Co., Inc in 1992. Frazier has served in various capacities at Merck, including general counsel, secretary, and vice president. During his tenure as general counsel, Frazier achieved great success in leading the company through more than 5,000 lawsuits regarding the alleged harmful effects of Vioxx.

In 2007, Frazier accepted the role of president of Merck & Co., Inc, and was given the additional roles of CEO and chairman in 2011, making him the first African American to serve as CEO of a major pharmaceutical company. Frazier has served on the boards of several organizations, such as Exxon Mobil, Penn State University, and Cornerstone Christian Academy, a private charter school serving at-risk youth in Philadelphia, which he also co-founded. Due to his professional success and his position on the board of trustees, Frazier was selected to lead the investigation of the allegations against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and university officials. Frazier has received numerous awards, including the 2001 Penn State Alumni Fellow Award, the Association of Corporate Counsel’s 2004 Excellence in Corporate Practice Award, and the Equal Justice Initiative’s 2009 Equal Justice Champion award.

Frazier lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Andréa, and their son, James. Their daughter, Lauren, is an engineer.

Frazier was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 2, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.124

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/2/2012

Last Name

Frazier

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

C.

Schools

M Hall Stanton Elementary School

Northeast High School

Pennsylvania State University

Harvard Law School

First Name

Kenneth

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

FRA09

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

You Can Be Anything You Want To Be.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

12/17/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Whitehouse Station

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Pharmaceutical executive, lawyer, and corporate general counsel Kenneth C. Frazier (1954 - ) was the first African American to serve as CEO of a major pharmaceutical company and was known for his success in corporate law.

Employment

Merck & Co.

Astra Merck Group

Drinker Biddle & Reath

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenneth C. Frazier's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenneth C. Frazier lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenneth C. Frazier lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes his household growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers an influential teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes the Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his mother's death

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kenneth C. Frazier recalls the role of his maternal aunts after his mother's death

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his early understanding of race

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers North East High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his influences at Nort East High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenneth C. Frazier recalls his admission to Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers entering college at sixteen years old

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenneth C. Frazier recalls his decision to study political science and history

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes the racial discrimination at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his graduation from Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his social life at the Harvard Law School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kenneth C. Frazier recalls his accomplishments at the Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his club football team at the Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about the school busing crisis in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his mentors at the Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his first legal case

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers the case of Cochran v. Herring

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about African Americans in the law profession

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers being one of two black partners at Drinker Biddle and Reath LLP

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his role as general counsel for a joint pharmaceutical venture

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kenneth C. Frazier recalls his promotion to vice president of public affairs at Merck and Co., Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his promotion to general counsel of Merck and Co., Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about the recall of Vioxx by Merck & Co., Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kenneth C. Frazier explains his strategy as general counsel of Merck and Co., Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his perserverance during the Vioxx trial

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers becoming the CEO of Merck and Co., Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his accomplishments at Merck and Co., Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers being named CEO of Merck and Co., Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his performance as the CEO of Merck and Co., Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his role as the CEO of Merck and Co., Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes his involvement at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his interest in education

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kenneth C. Frazier reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kenneth C. Frazier shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Kenneth C. Frazier narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

10$7

DATitle
Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his mother's death
Kenneth C. Frazier remembers being named CEO of Merck and Co., Inc.
Transcript
So then high school, name of your high school?$$Was Northeast High School [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]--the academic high school in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] is called Central High School, but Northeast High School had just started a program for scientifically gifted children who were interested in the space exploration effort and I really was very interested in space and science. And so I chose to go Northeast High School to this program within there that was again sort of a magnet program for scientifically strong children.$$Now are your parents encouraging you in this regard?$$Well there's an important fact that we've not covered in the academic thing which is that, when I was in the seventh grade, my mother [Clara Frazier] passed away. So at this point, I had only my father [Otis Frazier] who raised me.$$And your father is raising two other children in addition to you?$$Correct.$$So in seventh grade, that's you're what you're twelve?$$Something like that.$$Twelve, thirteen, something around that age?$$Uh-hm.$$That had to be devastating?$$It was, it was, I have to say the most pivotal moment in my life because my mother died of a blood clot that was secondary to a hysterectomy. So she went into the hospital to have a pro- a procedure that I wouldn't call routine, but it was also not something that where we thought she was sick and in jeopardy of her life. And I can still remember my father, we came downstairs to go to school and my father said, "There's something I need to tell you kids and it's that your mother died last night." And I sa- you, know, I can still remember it like was yesterday, how devastating that was.$$And you made it through the seventh grade even this, I mean academically well and in spite of (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh yes.$$And was that because of your father?$$Yes.$$Tell us a little bit, what your father did. How he kept you guys, how he moved you guys through this?$$Well let me just put it this way. My father was a wonderful man, but he was not very sentimental about his children. And he had very high standards and I remember, I didn't finish the story. We were all devastated when my mother died and I remember he said, "You guys, you kids go up to your room and you can cry a little bit, but when you come down, we're going to have to keep going in life." And we did cry a little bit, but we came down and we had breakfast. And my father said, "Life goes on." And my father was very distant man before then because I think like many families of that time, the mother was the nurturer, the one that raised us. My father, his job in the family was to work and earn money and to hand out the discipline when my mother encouraged him to do that. He taught us obviously how to throw a baseball and things like that. But, like unlike modern parenting where I think my children [Lauren Frazier and James Frazier] feel like they know me, I didn't feel like I knew my father. I knew my mother, my mother was the, was the nurturing parent. And then when she died suddenly my father had to step into that role, and I think that for him it was a great opportunity. Years later he would say, "I would not have even known my children had my wife died." But he, he became the mother and the father. He had no domestic skills but he learned to cook, he learned to do all the things that you needed to do to raise children.$Let's move on to the day that you become chairman of this company. You've been here what (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) CEO.$$CEO.$$First I became CEO and then chairman$$CEO and then chairman. But you've been at Merck [Merck and Co., Inc.] about what seventeen years when you become the CEO?$$Yes.$$Tell, tell me about that day. What was that when the announcement was made, and how you felt and what it meant, what's your thought?$$I felt overwhelmed by the announcement. I've never been a person to feel glad that I got somewhere. My wife [Andrea Wilkerson Frazier] always says, you don't enjoy anything because you're always on to the next thing. So when I became CEO, I was worried about whether or not I could run this company in a way that I would make a very satisfactory mark as CEO. I knew I felt really good when, I can't lie when the announcement came out and I looked at it and I realized I'm the CEO of Merck and my father [Otis Frazier] had a third grade education and was a janitor, I felt really good about that. My family felt really good about that. But I really am honest when I say that it's really not about me. This company Merck is no ordinary place. The work that we do here is incredibly important to mankind. And so, if you step into that CEO role. My office, I feel like I'm renting that office and that it's my obligation to leave this company better than I found it. And so, I think my overwhelming feeling was a feeling of huge, awesome responsibility. And if you knew the scientific enterprise of this company and the people who comprise it, the quality of the scientists and the physicians who make up the core of our research labs. In some ways, you're saying, I'm a mere mortal. How can I be the CEO of people that are that sort of otherworldly smart? And so, I also say, how can I do my job so that I can enable great science since I'm not a scientist. So it's not a kind of thing that you feel very--at least I don't feel very egotistical about it. I feel like I have to prove to the world that my tenure here put this company back on track to greatness.$$Well let's talk a little bit about the symbolic torch at, at Merck that gets passed from one CEO to the next CEO. You, you were telling me a little bit about that previously. Tell us about that on the record?$$Well I think--again I say this is not the ordinary company and one of the exemplars of that is that the modern day founder of Merck is a guy named George W. Merck and he had a saying that every Merck employee knows by heart. He said, "Medicine is for the people, not the profits," and the more we've remembered that the better the profits have been and then he went on to say that, "It's our obligation to ensure that our finest achievement," meaning the medicine and vaccines we created, "are made available to everybody." So everybody knows that and there is a Time magazine article from I believe it's 1951 [sic. 1952] where he made, a, a medical school commencement speech in which he uttered those words. He became a cover story of Time in 1951. And that Time magazine (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) The year you were born. No sorry, I'm wrong sorry.$$No, I was born in 1954, but it's, that, that Time magazine, the original magazine is preserved in a, in a glass case and that glass case is handed from one CEO to the next CEO and you're supposed to display it prominently in your office as a reminder that, that's what this company is about. It's about the people, not the profits. And although, we're under the same pressure any other publicly traded company is, I think it's my obligation all the time to remember that while I have to do the short term performance that drives the stock price. What I'm really here is to create long term medical value and societal value. If I do that, that would drive the economic value, which in term will drive the stock price.$$So when you say this is no ordinary place. Then for you, it's a very special place.$$It is, I mean you just look at any indicator of the number of Nobel Prize winners. The work that was done to commercialize penicillin. The work that was done to commercialize the corticosteroids. The work--something like thirteen of the seventeen vaccines that are required for American children are made by this company. So the, the nation trust its newborn to us. The work that we've done in past on HIV [human immunodeficiency virus], which I've talked about a few minutes ago. Work that we're doing on cardiovascular and infectious diseases. What this company has done single handily to expand life expectancy. The work that we've done in Africa where by donating products, we've almost eradicated a horrible series of diseases exemplified by river blindness. When you come to work in a company like that and you realize that the company exists to alleviate human suffering, if you just say that, the company's reason for existing is to apply cutting edge science to develop medically important products, vaccines, and medicines that alleviate human suffering and improve and extend human life. It is no ordinary place.

Shirley Malcom

Education administrator and science education advocate Shirley Malcom was born on September 6, 1946 in Birmingham, Alabama to ¬Lillie Mae and Ben Mahaley. From an early age, she wanted to be a doctor because of her love of biology. At George Washington Carver High School, Malcom was a top student and graduated in 1963. She then attended the University of Washington and received her B.S. degree in zoology in 1967. Malcom went on to attend the University of California at Los Angeles where she graduated with her M.A. degree in zoology in 1968. She taught high school biology in Los Angeles before attending Pennsylvania State University where she obtained her Ph.D. degree in ecology in 1974.

After completing her education, Malcom joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington as an assistant professor. In 1975, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she began working as a research assistant in the Office of Opportunities in Science (OOS) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She co-published “The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science” in 1976. Then, Malcom served as a program officer for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Science Education Directorate. She became head of the AAAS Office of Opportunities in Science in 1979 and head of the AAAS Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs in 1989. In 1993, Malcom was appointed to the National Science Board by President Bill Clinton and in 1995, she became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was also named to the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology from 1994 until 2001. Malcom has authored several reports on engaging women and minorities in science and is considered a pioneer in the field.

Malcom has served as co-chair of the Gender Advisory Board of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development and has chaired many national committees on scientific education and literacy. In 2006, she was named co-chair of the National Science Board Commission on 21st Century Education in STEM. Malcom serves as a trustee of California Institute of Technology and a regent of Morgan State University. She has sixteen honorary degrees, received the University of Washington’s Alumna Summa Laude Dignata Award in 1998, the university’s highest honor and in 2003, was given the Public Welfare Medal of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Shirley Malcom is married to Horace Malcom and they have two adult daughters.

Shirley Malcom was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 9, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.060

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/8/2012

Last Name

Malcom

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

M.

Schools

University of Washington

University of California, Los Angeles

Pennsylvania State University

George Washington Carver High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Shirley

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

MAL06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/6/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Education administrator and science educator Shirley Malcom (1946 - ) is head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs. She is a pioneer of minority science education serving on the National Science Board and the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Employment

Los Angeles Schools

University of North Carolina, Wilmington

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

National Science Board

President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Shirley Malcom's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom talks about her mother's growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about her father's growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Shirley Malcom talks about the demographics of Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Shirley Malcom talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Shirley Malcom describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about her childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom talks about her high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom talks about her elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom talks about her experience at Lewis Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about the significance of Sputnik to aspiring scientists

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Shirley Malcom talks about her teachers at Lewis Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Shirley Malcom talks about her interest in television, radio and football

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Shirley Malcom talks about her grandmother registering to vote

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about voting challenges for black people during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom talks about the bombing of Bethel Baptist Church and Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom talks about Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom reflects on her experience of being a student during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom talks about her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about her decision to attend the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Shirley Malcom talks about the civil rights disparities that women face

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Shirley Malcom talks about her experience at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about the disparity of educational resources between minority schools and white schools

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom talks about innate scientific ability

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom talks about her decision to forego medical school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom talks about her social life at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom talks about her experience at the University of California in Los Angeles

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about her studies at the University of California in Los Angeles

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Shirley Malcom reflects on the challenges in her personal life during her graduate studies

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about Pennsylvania State University, where she received her Ph.D. degree in ecology

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom describes her dissertation on the factors that relate to the termination of imprinting in birds

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom talks about football at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom talks about her professional activities with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and the NAACP

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom talks about the book she published called, 'The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about her work at the National Science Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about her work with the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom talks about her professional activities and the importance of STEM education

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom talks about her work with the United Nations (part one)

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom talks about her work with the United Nations (part two)

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Shirley Malcom talks about women's access to science education

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Shirley Malcom talks about her professional activities with the AAAS

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Shirley Malcom reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Shirley Malcom talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Shirley Malcom talks about society's perceptions of scientists and celebrities

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Shirley Malcom reflects upon her life choices

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Shirley Malcom talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Shirley Malcom reflects upon how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$5

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Shirley Malcom talks about her professional activities and the importance of STEM education
Shirley Malcom talks about the book she published called, 'The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science'
Transcript
Early 90s [1990s] you're saying--?$$Yes, it would be, it would have been kind of the early 90s [1990s]. And so we had a number of places apply and we had independent selection process and the people came here for training cause we wanted them all to do something that related to building math skills, whatever they happened to be. And then we basically sent them computers and they established community computing centers. We were trying some of everything. The notion is that we saw, we found holes we wanted to plug you know. We were trying to help communities, trying to build awareness to start with and then trying to build strategies so that you would get some sense that you weren't at, you know you weren't hanging out there by yourself. I mean there were things that you could do to try to move this. At the same time that you're trying all these projects, you're also trying to establish or support policies that you knew in the long run would likely provide federal resources or something for undertaking these efforts. You were protecting disaggregated data because you know if you lose it you're not going to be able to keep score and know how, know if you're making any kind of difference. So you're working on various fronts you know all at the same time, building, trying to build capacity in organizations, trying to build awareness in the scientific community, trying to get other organizations within the scientific community to take on some of these issues. So you have lots of different stuff going on at any one time. In 1989, there was a reorganization that pulled not only office of opportunities but also the general issues that relate to science education as well as public understanding of science into the same unit and I became the head of that unit. And again this was a situation where you are coming to understand that this is a system's problem and you've got to figure out how to take on different parts of a system be it K-12, be it higher education, be it graduate education, be it community engagement and community literacy that you've got to build partnerships, that you've got to reach out beyond yourself. You have to engage the media, the technology and what have you in order to make a difference. I had the opportunity too to kind of do more in the policy world and around the policy, and the policy area to effect things as well. I served on the National Science Board, the policymaking body of the National Science Foundation and participated in their efforts around strategic planning, around the systemic initiatives that they undertook. I instigated the activity that eventually led to the change in criteria at the foundation that--around broader impacts to try to get people to focus on the fact that it was great to be able to do your research but maybe we should be able to expect that you would do things to support education, do things to support diversity, do things to support other kinds of worthy efforts and initiatives within the sciences and engineering. And I served on President Clinton's counsel of advisors se science and technology at the same time and so trying to lift the discussion to the numerous agencies, trying to help people understand that this was an area of national need. We had once again returned to the Sputnik [1957] moment. It might not look like it but we were there again and that if we didn't really understand that the demographics were headed in one direction but we really weren't capitalizing on the need to build talent out of all those groups that had been marginalized in the past and we had a real problem. And so we were trying to change the discourse and tried to get the science community to own this problem at the same time that we could get the national policies to own all of this as an issue that had to be addressed. And I think that to a very large extent we look at, we look today and we listen to President Obama and his remarks, he's there. He gets that in fact that we--that stem education is critical to being able to move ahead in terms of our national security, our defense, our health, our economics but also that we have to be very smart about talent development and talent utilization. But you, when I think about kind of the odyssey that it has taken to kind of get to that point it's really amazing that we can still be having this conversation this many years later. You know I have these regular moments of deja vu all over again. I was you know I undertake on a--I can get an open slice of time every once in a while to start trying to attack the mess in my office and I'll find a speech that I gave in 1980 something and I read the presentation. I shouldn't, I should just go on and file it. But I read it and I thought oh my goodness this is too fresh. I could have given this speech last week. And I think that as much progress as we have made and the numbers tell us and we have in fact made progress, as much progress as we have made, the movement has been glacial. I mean it's so slow but we have just, we are just not taking hold of these things with the speed and urgency that is really required.$Okay. Now in '76 [1976] you wrote, you published 'The Double Bind'--$$The Double Bind.$$--The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science.$$Yes.$$Okay.$$And that was, it was interesting how that happened. The person with home, for whom I worked said at that time, what's it like basically to have these two things hitting you at the same time? She had gone to a meeting of people who were writing projects that related to minorities in science. There had been no women there. Then she went to a meeting on women in science projects and there had been no minorities there. And I said to her, I said what it is like is that you're in no person's land because if you--for example you go into a living room and you have a lamp that's there and there's a switch on the lamp and there's a switch on the wall. The switch on the lamp can be on but the wall switch isn't. The wall switch can be on but if the lamp switch isn't on the lamp still won't light. Essentially the light, the wall switch has to work and the lamp has to be on in order for anything to happen. I mean it's similarly that you know this notion of following slavery when the amendment was put in place giving blacks the right to vote, black women couldn't vote. You know so women were arguing at the time that women should, white women should be allowed to vote before these illiterate black men who had been slaves. But until both of those things happened, we weren't going to get the vote. So it didn't matter who you told, who you tossed your hat in with, nothing was going to happen for you until both of those things happened. And that's really the major issue that we began to understand as women of color that early on we might be more affected by the issues of being members of minority groups in terms of our early education. But at some point we were also going to be hit by sexism and the realization that there were certain things that women were expected to do and not do. And that we, until both of those sets of conditions were addressed that we weren't really going to be able to progress. And not having being able to put those ideas, to articulate those ideas and begin to understand what might a pathway be for women of color, I mean that was the first time that that had actually been discussed as an issue. And trying to help people understand what that was like was a really hard thing to do and it was a hard thing to do in terms of putting it to words. One young woman who wrote me at the time kind of--after she found 'The Double Bind', she was looking for something that spoke to her to the situation that she felt at the time. And I was trying to help her sort through it and make suggestions about what she should do as she was trying to map out her life, is now the Dean of the College at Harvard [University], Evelyn Hammonds. She was at Spelman [College] when she wrote to me after that book. And it means a lot that she felt that for the first time that someone understood, someone was articulating her reality. And unfortunately while a lot of things have changed from that reality, a lot of things haven't changed from that reality. There's a recent piece that I did with my daughter for Harvard Educational Review that kind of brings it, this up to date at the thirty-fifth anniversary you know of 'The Double Bind.' And we entitled it, 'The Double Bind-The Next Generation,' you know looking at how now younger women are experiencing some of the same issues that their mothers did and how, what is likely--what we now understand is likely to be necessary in order to really address these things.$$Now culturally, did you get more, I mean for those who were aware of what you wrote, did you get more pushback form the black community or the white community?$$Did we get pushback?$$No, from those who actually read what you wrote, did you get more pushback from the black community or the white community or did it make any difference?$$Okay, that's a hard one. We got probably more pushback from black males. White females didn't like it either because in a way when you're kind of in the middle of a women's movement the idea that you're going to call out that our separate needs aren't being addressed. And largely our separate needs weren't being addressed, partly our separate needs weren't being addressed because there was this in some corners kind of a condemnation of what, of the behavior of all men. And what we were trying to say is, hey wait a minute. Our brothers have issues, have had issues trying to move ahead as well. So even though they aren't necessarily being the most supportive people right now by saying we, you know we're calling out things that we need to keep in the family--I mean you think about it. You think about the civil rights movement and you think about the fact that the women in many cases were organizing things and they got pushed to the side. You don't hear about the women who were critical in the civil rights movement.$$Like Ella Baker [Ella Josephine Baker, African American civil rights and human rights activist].$$Yeah. You don't hear about Ella Baker. You don't hear about Diane--$$Nash [Diane Nash, student leader and strategist of the 1960s civil rights movement].$$You know, you don't hear about them. You may hear about Dorothy and I think that Dorothy Height [Dorothy Irene Height, administrator, educator, social activist: former head of National Council of Negro Women] who was a great supporter of our work because she understood this science/technology connection to really being able to take hold of one's future moving forward. I think that she, they gave her some props because she was senior to them all you know. And, but you know how that worked. It was, there was the expectation that you provided the coffee, you provided the support, you made the signs, you did whatever, but you were not out in front and that was a part of the reality. Did people like to be called on it? No. And I think that that's just the way it was.

Warren Morton Washington

Distinguished scientist Warren M. Washington was born on August 28, 1936, in Portland, Oregon. As a high school student, Washington had a keen interest in science; after graduation he went on to earn his B.A. degree in physics and his M.A. degree in meteorology from Oregon State University. After completing his Ph.D. in meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, Washington became a research scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 1963. While serving in the position of senior scientist at NCAR in 1975, Washington developed one of the first atmospheric computer models of the earth’s climate; soon after, he became the head of the organization’s Climate Change Research Section in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division.

As an expert in atmospheric science, climate research, and computer modeling of the earth’s climate, Washington received several presidential appointments. From 1978 to 1984, Washington served on the President’s National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere; in 1990, he began serving on the Secretary of Energy’s Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee; and in 1996, he assumed the chair of the Subcommittee on Global Change. Washington also served on the Modernization Transition Committee and the National Centers for Environment Prediction Advisory Committee of the United States National Weather Service. In April 2000, the United States Secretary of Energy appointed Washington to the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee. Washington was also appointed to the National Science Board and elected chair of the organization in 2002 and 2004.

Among his many awards and honors, Washington received both the Le Vernier Medal of the Societe Meterologique de France, and the Biological and Environmental Research Program Exceptional Service Award for atmospheric science. Washington's induction into the National Academy of Sciences Portrait Collection of African Americans in Science, Engineering, and Medicine, was announced in 1997. Washington also received the Celebrating Twentieth Century Pioneers in Atmospheric Sciences Award at Howard University, and Reed College in Portland, Oregon, awarded him the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology. Washington held memberships in the National Academy of Engineering and the American Philosophical Society.

In addition to his professional activities, Washington served as a mentor and avid supporter of scholarly programs and outreach organizations that encouraged students to enter the profession of atmospheric sciences.

Accession Number

A2006.080

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/20/2006

Last Name

Washington

Maker Category
Middle Name

Morton

Schools

Jefferson High School

Oregon State University

Pennsylvania State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Warren

Birth City, State, Country

Portland

HM ID

WAS03

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Oregon

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Italy

Favorite Quote

Nobody loves me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

8/28/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Atmospheric scientist Warren Morton Washington (1936 - ) developed one of the first atmospheric computer models of the earth's climate, and was elected chairman of the National Science Board in 2002 and 2004.

Employment

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Warren Washington interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls his mother's family and her life history

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Warren Washington discusses the lives of his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Warren Washington recounts his maternal grandparents' move from Texas to Oregon

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls the history of his great-grandparents and the origin of his last name

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Warren Washington discusses his father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Warren Washington discusses his father's employment and the hospital where he was born

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Warren Washington recalls his maternal lineage

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Warren Washington shares his earliest memories of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recalls his experiences growing up in a mixed neighborhood and the racial tensions in Oregon during the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Warren Washington remembers how he would spend the summers of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls his time in elementary school and high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Warren Washington recalls his fondness of public libraries while he was growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Warren Washington remembers teachers who inspired him

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his job during college and his first car

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Warren Washington recalls the Civil Rights Movement and his involvement with the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Warren Washington describes racial attitudes in Oregon during the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls the impact of World War II on his family

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recalls his feelings of discouragement during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Warren Washington shares his impressions of entering college

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Warren Washington discusses his determination to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes some of his experiences during college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Warren Washington recalls having segregated fraternities and sororities on campus

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Warren Washington stresses the importance of diversity in higher education organizations

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Warren Washington discusses the importance of diversity in science

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Warren Washington recalls his fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Warren Washington discusses his career path after graduating from college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Warren Washington talks about his work with early computers

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Warren Washington talks about starting his graduate work

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Warren Washington explains the background of his graduate thesis

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Warren Washington discusses how he became an adjunct associate professor

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls the racial tensions on a college campus during the late 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Warren Washington recalls his experience first working for the National Center for Atmospheric Research

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Warren Washington discusses African American scientific communities

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his work under several presidencies

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Warren Washington recalls his first experiences as a scientific advisor

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Warren Washington talks about connecting science to greater societal issues

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Warren Washington talks about explaining his work to his parents and the publication of his book

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Warren Washington recounts a few of his presidential appointments

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls his experiences working with the president's chief of staff

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Warren Washington shares how he responds to a special request from the president's chief of staff

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Warren Washington describes the process of building more complex computer models for climate prediction

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Warren Washington relates the importance of creating better weather prediction models

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Warren Washington discusses his beliefs on the social impacts of global warming

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Warren Washington shares his thoughts on Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes an incident in which he provides testimony before Congress

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Warren Washington describes working under different presidents

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Warren Washington discusses his thoughts on global warming and meeting Vice President Gore

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recounts his experiences as a mentor and role model

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Warren Washington describes the awards he has received

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Warren Washington describes his most rewarding professional achievement

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Warren Washington considers his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Warren Washington comments on the importance of young people to consider a career in science

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Introduction to Warren Washington's interview

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Warren Washington describes his family background and educational history

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Overview of Warren Washington's family's migration to Portland, their early life there and his interest in science

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Warren Washington talks about his early interest in science and his decision to pursue science in college

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Warren Washington describes his involvement in the youth chapter of the NAACP

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes his experience at Oregon State University

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Warren Washington talks about studying physics at Oregon State University, and his introduction to the mathematical modeling

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his experience at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Warren Washington talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Warren Washington describes his decision to join the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Warren Washington describes his experience in Boulder, Colorado in the 1960s, and his encounter with journalist, Dan Rather, in 1968

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Warren Washington describes his service on the National Science Board

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Warren Washington talks about working with President George H.W. Bush's administration

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Warren Washington talks about the evolution of computer processing capabilities, and his work on climate models at NCAR

Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Warren Washington shares his perspective on the debate on climate change and global warming

Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Overview of Warren Washington's awards and achievements

Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Warren Washington discusses the significance of climate change

Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Warren Washington reflects upon his legacy and how he wants to be remembered