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Reuben R. McDaniel

University professor and administrator Reuben Roosevelt McDaniel, Jr., was born on January 6, 1936, to Nannie and Reuben Roosevelt McDaniel, Sr. in Petersburg, Virginia. McDaniel received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University in 1964; his M.A. degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Akron in 1968; and his Ed.D. in higher education from Indiana University in 1971.

McDaniel was first employed as a mechanical designer at the Government and Industrial Division of Philco Corporation from 1956 to 1960. In 1965, McDaniel began his work in education at Baldwin-Wallace College Learning Center where, as the only African American in the administration, he held the positions of Director for Division of Educational Services, Assistant to the Dean, and Assistant Professor of Education. After leaving Baldwin-Wallace College, McDaniel held several positions over the years at the University of Texas-Austin, including Dean of Students (1972-73), Assistant Professor of Management (1972-75), and Associate Professor of Management (1975-1981). For six months in 1979, McDaniel served as Acting Deputy Commissioner for Medical Programs for the Texas Department of Human Resources. McDaniel served as Professor of Management Science and Information Systems for the University of Texas-Austin, in addition to being Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas Health Center in San Antonio. Over all, McDaniel accumulated over thirty-eight years experience in university education and administration.

As an expert in complexity science, McDaniel received numerous awards and recognitions, including Fellow at the IC2 Institute, and Outstanding Professor of the McCombs School of Business. McDaniel served on and chaired multiple university committees and councils, and held various leadership positions on community committees. McDaniel authored two books, The Uncertainty and Surprise in Complex Systems and Organizations: An Information Systems Perspective, completed chapters in thirteen books and wrote more than sixty articles.

McDaniel passed away in February 2016.

Accession Number

A2007.050

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/6/2007

Last Name

McDaniel

Maker Category
Schools

Matoaca Elementary School

D. Webster Davis Laboratory High School

University of Pennsylvania

Drexel University

Northfield Mount Hermon School

University of Akron

Indiana University

First Name

Reuben

Birth City, State, Country

Petersburg

HM ID

MCD03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Helsinki, Finland

Favorite Quote

Learn As If The World Never Ending Be, And Live As If Tomorrow Should End Eternity.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

1/6/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Austin

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Breakfast Foods

Death Date

2/10/2016

Short Description

Academic administrator and business professor Reuben R. McDaniel (1936 - 2016 ) held high-level academic and administrative positions at Baldwin-Wallace College Learning Center, the University of Texas-Austin, Texas Department of Human Resources, and the University of Texas Health Center in San Antonio. In addition to his work in the field of education, McDaniel also received many awards and recognition for his expertise in complexity science.

Employment

U.S. Government

Philco Corporation

Sperry Rand Corporation

Baldwin-Wallace College

Indiana University

University of Texas at Austin

Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration

Florida State University

Claremont Graduate School

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reuben R. McDaniel's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reuben R. McDaniel lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reuben R. McDaniel remembers the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Cumberland, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reuben R. McDaniel remembers his relationship with his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reuben R. McDaniel remembers lessons from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reuben R. McDaniel reflects upon his father's influence

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reuben R. McDaniel talks about his sister

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reuben R. McDaniel talks about his family's history of enslavement

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reuben R. McDaniel remembers Matoaca Laboratory Elementary School in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reuben R. McDaniel recalls his teachers at Matoaca Laboratory Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his experiences at D. Webster Davis Laboratory High School in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reuben R. McDaniel remembers the Mount Hermon School for Boys in Gill, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reuben R. McDaniel recalls the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his engineering career

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reuben R. McDaniel recalls earning a degree at the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his liberal arts education at the Mount Hermon School for Boys

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reuben R. McDaniel remembers joining the faculty of Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his civil rights activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reuben R. McDaniel recalls the shootings at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reuben R. McDaniel reflects upon his experiences in white communities

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his experiences at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his studies at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reuben R. McDaniel recalls earning an Ed.D. degree at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reuben R. McDaniel talks about his interest in college administration

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his research with the Texas State Department of Welfare

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his roles at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reuben R. McDaniel talks about his research at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reuben R. McDaniel talks about chaos and complexity theory

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes his research on family medical practices

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reuben R. McDaniel recalls teaching at the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration in Finland

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reuben R. McDaniel talks about the graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reuben R. McDaniel reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reuben R. McDaniel shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reuben R. McDaniel describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reuben R. McDaniel narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
Reuben R. McDaniel remembers lessons from his mother
Reuben R. McDaniel talks about chaos and complexity theory
Transcript
What was the lesson, one of the lessons learned from your mother [Nannie Finney McDaniel]?$$People ask me how did you get so smart. First thing is I don't think I'm very smart, but that's the question people ask and there really is an answer. When I was about eight, I had this question. I was interested in knowing whether or not boiling water would freeze, which is a reasonable question exactly as a scientist would say. It's a very reasonable question. So I boiled some water and put it in the--took out the ice out of the ice cube trays and put the boiling water in the refrigerator and closed the door. My mother came home from work and the refrigerator was defrosted as you would know and she said, "Well has the electricity been off?" I said, "No ma'am." "Was the refrigerator door open?" "No ma'am." "Wonder how everything got defrosted?" And I remember we ate the steaks 'cause (laughter) they had come--had been frozen now they weren't frozen anymore. So a little bit later on in the evening when my mother was washing dishes I went and opened the refrigerator door and tapped on the ice cube trays and my mother said, "What are you doing?" 'Cause she was watching, 'cause this was her refrigerator that just messed up all her food. "What you doing?" And I told--said, "I wanted to find out if boiling water would freeze so I put some boiling water in here." So she said, "Well does it freeze?" I said, "Yes ma'am." She said, "Fine." She never said, "You know you defrosted my refrigerator." "Well if you wanted to know why didn't you ask me," you know, yes, okay fine. I was five, seven, eight years later before I realized I had defrosted that refrigerator, but that was the kind of thing that my mother did and that particular incident of course I remember because almost every parent including myself would say, "Well now listen, if you wanna know if water freezes, you ask me you know 'cause I know whether it freezes or not," but she didn't she just says, "Well did it?" "Yes ma'am, it sure did." She didn't say, "Well you ruined my dinner," or, "You melted my ice cream," or any of those things which she could've said, and I think that has encouraged me to be curious, to be willing to ask questions, to be willing to find out for myself (laughter). So that--there're lots of other lessons of course, but that was one of which I remember a lot.$Now in 2007, okay, the thing that I do is I studied the, the management of healthcare delivery systems from the standpoint of complexity science. Now it's two, two parts to that.$$Okay.$$I don't study insurance companies, I don't study government policy, I don't study financing of healthcare. What I study is how healthcare is delivered to people. So I'm interested in the organization that puts their hand on your body (laughter) okay, not, not I' not arguing about the others. It's just what I know a lot about, so family practices, specialty practices, hospitals, nursing homes, places where they actually, as I say, kill people (laughter). Now, the other thing I do is something that I'm getting to be fairly well known for is that I have learned lot about complexity science. I'll say in a moment what that is, how it applies to help us understand better how to manage healthcare delivery systems. Complexity science is lots, I mean it's really a complicated thing to explain, but I can give you an explanation, it's very straightforward.$$Okay.$$Most science is about how simple things create simple things or how complicated things create complicated things. Complexity science is about how simple things can create complicated things.$$Okay.$$In general that's under the rubric of chaos theory. It is also about how complicated things can create simple things, and that under the rubric of complexity theory. So let me see what I mean by it. First, a simple thing creating a complicated thing--a manager goes in and says something to a worker and the next thing you know there's a strike, and the manager goes, "What happened?" Okay, or somebody gets a round tube of plastic and their daughter swings it around their hips and the next thing you know you have hula hoops, and you've got hula hoop contests all over the United States. You've got men, women, old men and women stupidly standing around twisting and you've got Rueben McDaniel [HistoryMaker Reuben R. McDaniel] driving his son [Reuben McDaniel III] to Dallas [Texas] to compete in the state hula hoop contest. In the heat in the summertime that was really stupid (laughter), but that's a complicated thing that comes out of a very simple thing and that, that is, that's a very sophisticated way of analyzing those issues. Now a simple thing out of a complicated thing--okay. The best way to think of it is how do you get order in a system where you would not expect to have any order. So how do things become orderly in a system where, well why would you expect that it would become orderly? Let's take an example. If you go into an elementary school it doesn't take you long to figure out it's a pretty complex thing. Lots of children, all ages, mothers and fathers doing this, that and the others, teachers young, old and in between, principals smart and stupid, but somehow or the other out of that emerges order. (Makes noise) Kids go to their rooms, they study curriculum, they learn to read often. So how do you get order out of a--that kind of a complicated thing? So that's what complexity--complexity science is about a lot of other things, but it's about those two things primarily.

Ronald Mickens

Physics professor and research physicist Ronald Mickens was born in Petersburg, Virginia on February 7, 1943 to Daisy Brown Mickens and Joseph Mickens. Mickens spent much of his youth with his maternal grandparents, and his grandfather, James Williamson, was responsible for introducing him to science. By the time Mickens was eight years old, he knew he wanted to become a scientist. Mickens attended Peabody High School in Petersburg where he took algebra, plane and solid geometry, chemistry, biology, and physics. Because he took courses during the summer, Mickens graduated early at the age of seventeen.

After high school, Mickens entered Fisk University with a full scholarship where he studied chemistry, mathematics and physics. He graduated in 1964 with his B.A. degree in physics and one of the highest academic averages in the history of the school. Mickens immediately enrolled in a graduate program at Vanderbilt University where, in 1968, he received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics. By that time he had been elected to the honor societies of Sigma Chi and Phi Beta Kappa. Additionally, Mickens won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, a Dansworth Fellowship, and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, which allowed him to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Beginning in 1968, Mickens spent two years conducting research in elementary particle physics at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics. In 1970, Mickens returned to Fisk University where he accepted a teaching position in the physics department. During that time, he spent brief stints conducting research at other institutions including Vanderbilt University and the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics in Boulder, Colorado. In 1982, Mickens became a professor at Clark Atlanta University and was named a Callaway professor of physics in 1985. In 1987, he published a book on chaos theory entitled, Difference Equations .

Mickens has conducted research in the areas of complex functions, theoretical elementary particle physics, mathematical epidemiology and modeling of non-linear oscillations. He has authored five advanced mathematics textbooks in addition to his contributions to over 120 scientific research papers. In 1990, Mickens produced an edited volume entitled, Mathematics and Science . Mickens' research in the area of African Americans in science allowed him to write, The African American Presence in Physics and Edward Bouchet: The First African American Doctorate as well as biographies of several African American women scientists. Mickens and his wife Maria, had two children, Lea Mickens and James Williamson Mickens.

Ronald Mickens was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 11, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.159

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/11/2006

Last Name

Mickens

Organizations
Schools

Peabody High School

Fisk University

Vanderbilt University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Ronald

Birth City, State, Country

Petersburg

HM ID

MIC02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Scientific / Historical Presentations

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

None

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: Whatever organizations can give me.

Preferred Audience: Scientific / Historical Presentations

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

It Wasn't Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

2/7/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Physics professor and physicist Ronald Mickens (1943 - ) has written five advanced mathematics textbooks, contributed research to over 120 scientific papers, and served on the faculty at both Fisk University and Clark Atlanta University.

Employment

Fisk University

Clark Atlanta University

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ronald Mickens' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens talks about his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens shares stories from his maternal grandparents about Br'er Rabbit, Night Riders and folk medicine

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ronald Mickens talks about his church experience

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ronald Mickens talks about his mother and his childhood community

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ronald Mickens talks about his father and his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ronald Mickens talks about growing up in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens remembers childhood games and holiday activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about radio shows and integrating the library

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens talks about his teachers and elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens talks about his interest in science in junior high and high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ronald Mickens talks about his decision to attend Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ronald Mickens talks about being a paperboy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens talks about Petersburg, Virginia's racial diversity

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about his participation in the soap box derby

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens talks about Fisk University and its then president Stephen Wright

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens discusses the study of science and mathematics

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ronald Mickens talks about his classes at Fisk University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ronald Mickens talks about President Kennedy's death and avoiding the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens talks about SNCC and Stokely Carmichael at Fisk University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about his Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens recalls his grandfather's death

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens explains his mathematics research in complex functions

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ronald Mickens explains theoretical elementary particle physics

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ronald Mickens talks about particle accelerators

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens talks about mathematical epidemiology and the ethics of vaccination

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about his work on non-linear oscillations

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens talks about his work on the history of African Americans in science

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens talks about his NSF post doc at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ronald Mickens explains his decision to return to Fisk University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ronald Mickens talks about his research, teaching and textbook writing at Atlanta University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ronald Mickens describes his published books

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens talks about his project honoring African American physicists

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about his wife and children

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens reflects on his career and his message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Ronald Mickens talks about his decision to attend Fisk University
Ronald Mickens talks about his Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University
Transcript
Okay, and so at this point now, when you're getting ready to leave high school, what are you thinking?$$Well, when I finished high school, I had no idea of what I was gonna do. My father [Joseph Percival Mickens], like many people at that time, thought I should go into the military. I mean, you know, you look around, and you know, you have a son who says, hey, I'm gonna be a scientist, 1960, and you say, "Eat, fake, eat, you remember, 5:00 o'clock every day" (laughter). So he wanted me, cause that was the standard kind of a thing. I graduated from high school in June of '60 [1960]. I had four fellowships to Virginia State [University, Petersburg, Virginia] to Union [College], to Norfolk State [University, Norfolk, Virginia], to Hampton [University, Hampton, Virginia], and I decided I was not going to any of them. My view was, I'm gonna get the hell out of Virginia as soon as I can. I had no idea what I was gonna do. In July, I was, I just happened to drop by the high school. And the guidance counselor there asked me, well, what are you gonna do? And I told her the same thing. She says, that doesn't make sense. You know, you, she called up someone at Fisk University because she was a graduate of Fisk [University, Nashville, Tennessee]. And I was there when she called them, and I talked to the person, and the fellow says come on down. We'll pay for you to come down to Fisk. But that was just for the summer. You know, this is right after Sputnik [satellite, 1957], and they were trying to get people interested in science and all of that. So I went to Fisk. At the end of or near the beginning of August, I was offered a scholarship of four hundred dollars, out of maybe twelve hundred dollars.$Okay, so you graduated from Fisk [University, Nashville, Tennessee] and went immediately into the Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt [University, Nashville, Tennessee], right?$$Right.$$Who was the president of Vanderbilt at that time?$$Oh, I think it was [Alexander] Heard.$$Heard.$$Um-hum.$$Okay, and tell me about your time while you were working on your Ph.D.?$$I had fun. Well, remember that I had already, as an undergraduate, I was taking courses over there. And the chair of the department who became my advisor, I had invited as president of the physics club, I had invited him over. And he, good ole, southern boy--$$Who was this?$$Wendell Holiday. In fact, we've maintained, he died a year and a half ago, but we've maintained our contact throughout the years. I mean in some sense, it became interesting because he was my mentor. Then in later life, I became his mentor, and I'm, you know, I call his wife once a month, and, you know, I, you know, she considers me like a son. I mean it's, it's just interesting. But what he told me was when I went there, he says, do physics. He said, whatever else you do, I don't care about. I don't care about one way or the other. And that brings up a very interesting event. My last year at Vandi [Vanderbilt University], I took a job, well, I had a full, I had a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship that I used for the first year, and I had a Ford Fellowship for three. So I finished in four years. So I didn't need any money. But I still needed more money. I took a job at Tennessee State [University, Nashville, Tennessee], and we were not paid. And I went to see the department chair and says, look, hey, you realize that I took this job because I needed money (laughter), and I'm not getting any money. So he says, well, okay, just be patient. So I waited two weeks. Then I went to see the dean, and I went by the president's office. I didn't see the president's office. So after a month, I called the governor's office. Now, keep in mind, this is '68 [1968]. Of course, you know precisely what happened. I got fired on the spot. The next day when I went to my office, all of my, well, I didn't have that many things, just some books, was outside. The key wouldn't work. Now, I don't know whether this was, whether this was just done with purely coincidence, I went out to my car and somebody cut my fan belt. Now, that I can attribute to nature, but I don't think that was nature. And my check, apparently, I was the only one that got paid (laughter) for about another month, you know. But that just gives you some of the attitudes. People were, you know, when I called the governor, I didn't talk to the governor. I talked, I'd say, look, you know, I took this job because I needed money. Secondly, I said, now, I was told that I'd be paid at certain intervals, and I have not been paid. I said, now, is this the way you folks do the University of Tennessee [sic, Tennessee State University]? You know, I mean, cause that'll just eliminate several schools that I'll work at (laughter). Anyway, I got my check, and I was basically--oh, but that's not the end of it. The chair of the math department, I don't remember his name, wrote a letter to my advisor at Vanderbilt University, saying all kinds of stuff, all lies. And so my advisor just came to me one day and says, look, hey, I got this letter. He says, you wanna read it? Do I have to? He says, nah. He says, I said, what does it say? He said, well, I don't believe it so unless you wanna read it. He said, okay, and that was the extent of it. I ran into this fellow later who was chair of the department, and he admitted that it was lies. I said, okay, all right. But I was just, you know, during that time, particular blacks who worked at black schools, you know, I mean they would tolerate not being paid and all of this.$$But you were--$$I had, well, you know, they were a little bigger than me. I mean they probably had some reserve fat. I was, I only weighed 114 pounds, I mean (laughter), you know. I couldn't do that (laughter).