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Demetrius Venable

Physicist and physics professor Demetrius D. Venable was born on October 11, 1947 in Powhatan, Virginia to Josephine Viola Bell Venable and James Bernard Venable. He attended Pocahontas High School where Venable’s father, who was his high school math teacher, helped spark Venable’s interest in math and science. He received his B.S. degree in physics from Virginia State College in 1970. Continuing with his studies, he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from American University in 1972 and 1974, respectively.

Upon completion of his Ph.D. program, Venable was hired by IBM-East Fishkill where he studied semi-conductor measurement technology as a senior associate engineer. After two years with the company, Venable returned to academia at Saint Paul’s College as an assistant professor of physics and director of the Cooperative Physics Program. In 1978, he joined the faculty of Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) as an assistant professor of physics. One of Venable’s major accomplishments at Hampton was his instrumental role in founding the doctorate program in physics. He held numerous positions at Hampton, ultimately becoming executive vice president and provost in 1994. When he moved to Howard University in 1995, he was named the chairman of the department of physics and astronomy, a post that he held until 2007. During his tenure at Howard University, Venable helped create the interdisciplinary doctorate program in atmospheric sciences. He also was instrumental in establishing atmospheric physics research at the Howard University Beltsville Research Campus and the Raman Lidar Program. With a specialty in optical physics, Venable has studied water vapor mixing ratios and atmospheric dynamics to further his group’s goal of weather and climate predictability.

Throughout his career, Venable has received numerous recognitions including the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s Distinguished Public Service Medal and the White House Initiative Science and Technology Advisory Committee’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Science and Technology. Venable served as chairman of the American Institute of Physics’ Advisory Committee on Education from 1998 to 2001 and he is a charter fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists. He has served on various boards and committees at the state and national levels including on the U. S. Department of Energy's Fusion Energy Advisory Committee, The American Association of Physics Teachers, The Virginia Academy of Science, The Southeastern Universities Research Association, The Virginia Aerospace Business Roundtable and The National Physical Sciences Consortium. Venable is married Geri Turner. They have raised two children, Juanita and Jessica.

Demetrius Venable was interviewed by on June 14, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.133

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/14/2012

Last Name

Venable

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D

Schools

Virginia State University

American University

Columbia University

First Name

Demetrius

Birth City, State, Country

Powhatan

HM ID

VEN01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Knowledge Is A Value In Itself, It Need Serve No Other Purpose In The World.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/11/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Physicist and physics professor Demetrius Venable (1947 - ) was instrumental in the founding of the doctorate program in physics at Hampton University. He was also influential in establishing the atmospheric physics research at the Howard University Beltsville Research Campus and the Raman Lidar Program.

Employment

IBM

Saint Paul's College

Hampton University

Howard University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Demetrius Venable's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Demetrius Venable lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Demetrius Venable describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Demetrius Venable describes his family's hometown in Powhatan, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Demetrius Venable talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Demetrius Venable describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Demetrius Venable talks about his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Demetrius Venable talks about his father's service in World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Demetrius Venable talks about his parents and his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Demetrius Venable describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Demetrius Venable describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Demetrius Venable describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Demetrius Venable talks about his family's involvement in church

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Demetrius Venable describes his childhood interest in math and science

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Demetrius Venable describes his experience in school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Demetrius Venable talks about his growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Demetrius Venable describes the integration of schools in Powhatan, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Demetrius Venable talks about his experience at St. Frances de Sales Girls School and St. Emma Military Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Demetrius Venable describes his experiences at Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Demetrius Venable talks about his decision to major in physics at Virginia State University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Demetrius Venable describes his activities at Virginia State University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Demetrius Venable talks about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Demetrius Venable describes his employment opportunities as a physics major

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Demetrius Venable describes his choice of American University for graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Demetrius Venable talks about his African American mentors in physics

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Demetrius Venable describes his Ph.D. dissertation research at American University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Demetrius Venable describes how he met his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Demetrius Venable discusses African Americans in physics

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Demetrius Venable describes his experience at IBM and his decision to transition into teaching

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Demetrius Venable describes his experience at St. Paul's College in Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Demetrius Venable describes his research at Brooks Air Force Base and NASA Langley Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Demetrius Venable describes his experience at Hampton University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Demetrius Venable describes his efforts to establish a Ph.D. program in physics at Hampton University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Demetrius Venable describes his research at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Demetrius Venable talks about the success of minority students in Howard University's atmospheric sciences program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Demetrius Venable discusses the scientific evidence for global warming

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Demetrius Venable talks about the Ph.D. program in physics at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Demetrius Venable describes his research contributions in optical physics

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Demetrius Venable describes his goals for future research

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Demetrius Venable reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Demetrius Venable describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Demetrius Venable describes his family and his personal life

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Demetrius Venable describes what it takes to become a physicist

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Demetrius Venable describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Demetrius Venable talks about his African American mentors in physics
Demetrius Venable describes his research at Howard University
Transcript
Tell us, first of all, before we go into American University, who is your mentor at Howard? Who is the--$$Arthur Thorpe. And Arthur Thorpe is still on the faculty here today, okay. So this is 1966, I mean 1970, right. My, Dr. [James] Davenport, who I spoke about earlier, was a graduate of Howard [Howard University in Washington, District of Columbia], and he and Dr. Thorpe were colleagues here. So Dr. Thorpe actually would come down to Virginia State [Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia] and served as my senior thesis advisor when I was at Virginia State. So he helped out a lot with developing and strengthening the program down there. You may have heard of John Hunter. John Hunter was one of, probably the third African American to get a Ph.D. in physics. And John Hunter established the program in physics at Virginia State. And that program went on to produce a lot of well-known people who became physicists later on. Dr. Branson was a graduate of that program. And Dr. Branson was here as chairman of the physics department at Howard.$$That's Herman Branson.$$Herman Branson, uh-huh, was a student of John Hunter's.$$He was president of Central State [Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio].$$President of Central State, right. I sometimes tell a story about, you know, those connections there. You go from John Hunter to Herman Branson to Arthur Thorpe and then to me, you know, so I can draw lines between us, right. And I tell my students that, you know, you need to put your name on there and put a line there and go to work at a, at a nice institution and, you know, send some folks along as well, make the line longer. But in any case, Arthur Thorpe was my mentor here at Howard. And he's been a real strong supporter of my entire career. He was instrumental in my coming back to work here, in fact. So, yeah, quite a good supporter.$Okay, so, now, so were you actually, were you seeking another spot or how did the Howard [University in Washington, District of Columbia] position--$$Well, you know, as I said, you know, I really didn't wanna be continuing to go up in administration. So Arthur Thorpe, again, came to me and said, look, you know, we need a chairman. This is an opportunity. Would you apply for it? And I said, yes, I'll apply for it, you know, as long as it means I can get back to doing research because I really couldn't do research and be vice president. It's just, just impossible to do that. So I said, yes, as long as I can get back to doing research, it's something that I would consider. So I put an application in, and they made me an offer.$$Okay, so you came over to Howard [University] in '95 [1995]?$$Ninety five [1995].$$Okay, all right.$$So I was at Hampton for seventeen years, and I was chairman and administrator there, and then I was, been at Howard, this is my seventeenth year at Howard.$$Okay, now, what have been--what have the years at Howard been like? Have you engaged basically in research?$$Yeah, well, I served as department chairman for, for twelve years here. Being a chairman is very different from being a vice president. I wanna say that first of all. That's like being a, just a regular part of the faculty, right. So, I spent a good fraction of my time developing research programs. My, my personal research has been focused around the, the laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland. Dr. Walter Lowe had done a lot, he spent a lot of time at (unclear) developing the facility out there--this is a facility that the university owned since the early '90s [1990s], I mean the early '70s [1970s]. And it was not a lot going on out there. Walter went out there and sort of renovated everything and got the lab back up and running for a project that he was doing in accelerator physics, synchrotron radiation with the Argonne Lab. So he spent a lot of time and effort and money and got the place back up and running. When Walter's project completed, he was building an accelerator that was gonna be moved to Chicago [Illinois]. So when it would move to Chicago, his activities at Beltsville were essentially completed. We started phasing in at about the time he was phasing out with the understanding of developing some laser physics activities. So we started by developing what's called a LIDAR [Light Detection and Ranging] facility. And that was primarily an effort on my part and Dr. Thorpe's part.$$Now, what was that? What was LIDAR--$$LIDAR is a technique where you use laser and you shine the laser into the atmosphere, and you study the light that is backscattered from the atmosphere, you know the laser light interact with particles and the molecules in the air. And some of the lights backscattered so you can detect it with a telescope. And you analyze the light that comes back into the telescope, and by analyzing the light that you collect, you are able to say what is in the atmosphere, and we were focusing on water vapor, although you can measure a lot of things. We were focusing on how much water vapor is in the atmosphere for us and how rapidly that water vapor concentration changed as a function of time and how that water vapor concentration changed as a function of altitude. So that's what we're using LIDAR for. So it had to do with efforts to do atmospheric studies. So I played a major role in developing--.$$And how do you spell the, that again--$$L-I-D-A-R. It's an acronym. It stands for light detection and ranging.$$Okay, light detection and ranging. Okay. So you've been, so this was established out at Beltsville.$$Um-hum, I started that in maybe '97 [1997], and, you know, maybe phasing over time. And as, in addition to that, the physics department was very much involved, the physics department here at Howard was very much involved in developing an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in atmospheric science. So physics, chemistry and mechanical engineering were all involved in developing this interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in atmospheric science. So my work was one of the research components of that interdisciplinary job. We hired Dr. Alvert--Everett, I'm sorry, I'm getting a little tired, Everett Joseph here in physics, and Dr. Gregory Jenkins here in physics to work with that effort, Dr. Vernon Morris in chemistry and I think Dr. Sonya Smith, all of these were people involved in developing that effort. She was in mechanical engineering. So, so my part was a research component within that overall picture, and I was developing that at Beltsville. Beltsville, since then, from an atmospheric physics standpoint, has grown extensively. We now have a full array of measurement capabilities out there with respect to atmospheric measurements. And we're using this data to go into models for, primarily for climatology, looking at climate change.

Lillian Lambert

Small business executive Lillian Lincoln Lambert was born on May 12, 1940 in Ballsville, Virginia to Willie D. Hobson, a farmer and Arnetha B. Hobson, a school teacher and homemaker. Lambert graduated from Pocahontas High School in Powhatan, Virginia in 1958. Her mother, a college graduate, urged Lambert to pursue an advanced degree, but she wanted to move to New York City instead. She worked as a maid on Fifth Avenue, a typist at Macy’s Department Store and a travelling saleswoman. Lambert then moved to Washington, D.C. in 1961, where she worked for the federal government as a typist in the Veteran Affairs Division and later with the Peace Corps while going to school at the District of Columbia Teacher’s College (now the University of the District of Columbia). In 1962, Lambert enrolled as a full-time student at Howard University at the age of twenty-two. Under the mentorship of Professor H. Naylor Fitzhugh, she majored in Business Administration and applied to Harvard Business School. Lambert graduated from Howard University in 1966 with her B.A. degree in business administration and started Harvard Business School in 1967. At Harvard Business School, she worked with four other black students to increase the number of African American enrollments and in 1968, they founded the African American Student Union. Lambert graduated in 1969 and was the first African American woman to receive her M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School.

Lambert was then hired at the Sterling Institute in Washington, D.C. and later as a manager at the National Bankers Association. In 1972, Lambert joined Ferris & Company as a stockbroker. In 1973, she began teaching at Bowie State College and became the executive vice president of Unified Services, a janitorial services company. Then in 1976, Lambert left Unified Services to start her own janitorial company, Centennial One, Inc. Starting in her garage, she grew Centennial into a business with more than 1,200 employees and $20 million in sales. In 2001, Lambert sold her company and in 2002, she became president of LilCo Enterprises. She now serves as a coach, consultant and public speaker.

Lambert is the recipient of numerous awards including the Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Maryland in 1981 and the Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award in 2003, the school’s highest honor for its alumni. She has served on the board of visitors for Virginia Commonwealth University, the board of regents for the University System of Maryland, the board of directors for the African American Alumni Association of Harvard Business School and committee vice chair for the Manasota Chapter of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Lambert is married to John Anthony Lambert, Sr. and has two adult daughters, Darnetha and Tasha.

Lillian Lincoln Lambert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 9, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.018

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/9/2012

Last Name

Lambert

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lincoln

Schools

Pocahontas Middle

Harvard Business School

Howard University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Lillian

Birth City, State, Country

Powhatan

HM ID

LAM03

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Youth, womens groups, business groups, education institutions.

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Defeat Is Not An Option.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

5/12/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Richmond

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Business chief executive Lillian Lambert (1940 - ) was the first African American woman to graduate with her M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School and went on to found her own company, Centennial One, Inc.

Employment

LilCo Enterprises

Centennial One, Inc.

Unified Services

Bowie State University

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lillian Lambert's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert describes her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert talks about her father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert talks about her family's property in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert considers her likeness to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lillian Lambert lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lillian Lambert remembers nearly being crushed by a falling tree

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lillian Lambert talks about the schools she attended in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Lillian Lambert remembers her neighbors in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Lillian Lambert describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Lillian Lambert describes her childhood home in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert describes family conflicts over the value of education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert talks about her family's attitudes towards money

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert talks about her schooling and extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert talks about her childhood church, Mt.Pero Baptist Church

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert describes race relations in Ballsville, Virginia during her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert recalls watching boxing with her father and listening to stories told outside the local store

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert describes working as a nanny in Riverhead, New York, as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert talks about attending Pocahontas High School in Powhatan County, Virgina

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert describes her high school aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lillian Lambert describes her time living in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Lillian Lambert explains her move to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert describes working at the Veteran's Administration in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert talks about her decision to enroll at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert describes how she financed her education at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert talks about her mentor, H. Naylor Fitzhugh

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert talks about her time at Howard University in Washington, D.C. as a commuter student

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert talks about her college extracurricular activities and reflects on being a nontraditional student

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert recalls professors from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert recalls her various jobs during the summers in college

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert describes her admission to Harvard Business School

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Lillian Lambert talks about the lack of African Americans at Harvard Business School from the 1930s to 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Lillian Lambert describes her efforts to have Harvard Business School enroll more black students

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert describes her efforts to recruit black students at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert reflects on Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination and its possible effect on diversity at Harvard Business School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert recalls her professors from Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert recalls her time at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert talks about a business school project for American Express

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert talks about working at the Sterling Institute after earning her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert reflects on being the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert talks about working at the Sterling Institute and the National Bankers Association

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert describes working as a stockbroker and as a consultant for a janitorial company

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert talks about teaching and consulting while pregnant and her work for Unified Services full time

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert talks about being fired from Unified Services and starting her own business, Centennial One, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert talks about her committee work and her contracts awarded in the 1970s, including a government contract through the SBA's 8(A) Program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert describes her commercial cleaning business, Centennial One, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert talks about her largest contracts and financial losses

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert recalls winning the Small Business Person of the Year Award in 1981

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert considers President Nixon's role in the creation of the Small Business Administration

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert talks about her mother's death

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert talks about her first husband's involvement in her business

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Lillian Lambert talks about her second marriage

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert talks about her involvement with the Harvard Business School African American Alumni Association in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert talks about the success of her business, Centennial One, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert talks about selling Centennial One, Inc. in 2001

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert talks about starting LilCo Enterprises and working as a realtor

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert talks about writing her book, 'A Road to Someplace Better'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert reflects on how her life has changed since her childhood in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert reflects her interactions with the people in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert describes her volunteer activities

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert talks about her student talks

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert describes her mentoring relationships

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert describes her hopes and concerns for African American communities

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert talks about the racism shown HistoryMaker Barack Obama

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert talks about discrimination in her business dealings

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert considers what she might have done differently

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert considers her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert talks about serving on the board of regents at the University System of Maryland and Virginia Commonwealth University

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert talks about her marriage to John Lambert

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Lillian Lambert narrates her photographs