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Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. was born on August 13, 1935 in Marshall, Harrison County, Texas to Joseph A. Sr., and Juanita George Pierce. He attended Oglethorpe Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia. Pierce graduated from Jack Yates High School, in Houston, Texas in 1952. He joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Beta Kappa Chi National Scientific Honor Society in 1955 at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas where he received his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1957, and his father Joseph Pierce, Sr. served as dean of the graduate school in 1952; and later, president in 1967. He earned his M.D. degree in medicine in 1961 from Meharry Medical College of Medicine, in Nashville, Tennessee. Pierce completed his internship at GW Hubbard Hospital of Meharry College of Medicine.

Pierce entered the United States Army in 1962. He completed a residency in anesthesiology at Brooke General Hospital/Fort Sam Huston in San Antonio in 1967, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and he completed a tour of duty in West Germany from 1967 to 1970. Then, in 1970, Pierce received his Texas State medical license and entered into private practice with Anesthesia Consultants in San Antonio, and joined the American Medical Association.

Pierce and his wife, Aaronetta, co-founded the San Antonio Ethnic Arts Society in 1983 to increase the awareness and understanding of visual art of African American ancestry. They also started Premier Artworks, Inc., specializing in the marketing and sale of artwork and books by African Americans. Pierce amassed a collection of roughly 8000 books by African American authors, including mostly first editions. Pierce was also a part owner of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs basketball team from 1974 to 1988.

Pierce was a life member of the NAACP. His other memberships include the Texas Society of Anesthesiology, the San Antonio Society of Anesthesiology, Bexar County Medical Society and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Pierce was inducted into the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008.

Pierce and his wife, Aaronetta, have two sons, Joseph and Michael.

Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 8, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/8/2018

Last Name

Pierce

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Oglethorpe Elementary School

Jack Yates High School

University of Michigan

Texas Southern University

Meharry Medical College

First Name

Joseph

Birth City, State, Country

Marshall

HM ID

PIE04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

8/13/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

San Antonio

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

N/A

Short Description

Anesthesiologist Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. (1935- ) served in private practice for Anesthesia Consultants in San Antonio, Texas and was the co-founder of San Antonio Ethnic Arts Society in 1983, and Premier Artworks, Inc. in 1990 with his wife Aaronetta.

Employment

Anesthesia Consultants

U.S. Army

Favorite Color

N/A

Alvin Kennedy

Chemist and chemistry professor Alvin P. Kennedy was born on June 1, 1955, to Helen Augusta Kennedy and Amos Paul Kennedy. He grew up in Grambling, Louisiana, where he attended Grambling Laboratory School and later Grambling High School. Kennedy attended Grambling State University during which time he participated in several research internships, graduating with his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1978. He pursued graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley with funding from an AT&T Bell Labs fellowship. His graduate research focused on the development of chemical lasers and the kinetics associated with spontaneous reactions. Kennedy received his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry in 1985.

After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Kennedy was hired at Dow Chemical Company as a senior research chemist in central research, where he developed new polymer systems for microelectronic applications. He also produced sixteen internal publications and was promoted to project leader in central research at Dow in 1989. In 1991, Kennedy was appointed assistant professor of chemistry at North Carolina A&T State University, and in 1996, he was promoted to associate professor. He also received a NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)/ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) Research Fellowship at the Marshall Space Flight Center in 1997. In 2000, Kennedy joined the faculty at Morgan State University as associate professor of chemistry and chair of the chemistry department. Kennedy has been a tenured professor at Morgan State University since 2002.

Kennedy received several patents throughout his career including two patents on laminates of polymers in 1993 and 1995. In 1998, he patented the Resin transfer molding process for composites. Kennedy has been the recipient of several honors including his 1998 appearance in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and his 2008 Henry McBay Outstanding Teacher of the Year award from the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. He is married to Sharon Kennedy and has three children from a previous marriage.

Alvin Kennedy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 15, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.067

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/15/2010

Last Name

Kennedy

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alvin

Birth City, State, Country

Lansing

HM ID

KEN04

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chincoteague, Virginia

Favorite Quote

Do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

6/1/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Chemistry professor and chemist Alvin Kennedy (1955 - ) is chair of the chemistry department at Morgan State University. During his career, he worked at Dow Chemical Company where he received three polymer-related patents.

Employment

Morgan State University

North Carolina A&T State University

Dow Chemical Company

University of California, Berkeley

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alvin Kennedy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alvin Kennedy shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alvin Kennedy talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alvin Kennedy describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alvin Kennedy talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alvin Kennedy talks about his parents' academic careers

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alvin Kennedy discusses his family's emphasis on education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alvin Kennedy describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alvin Kennedy shares childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alvin Kennedy lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alvin Kennedy talks about growing up in Grambling, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alvin Kennedy talks about his early school experiences in Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alvin Kennedy details his childhood experience in Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alvin Kennedy recalls his early interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alvin Kennedy describes his junior high school and high school experiences in Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alvin Kennedy recounts his undergraduate experience at Grambling State University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alvin Kennedy remembers coaching his high school basketball team

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alvin Kennedy discusses his scientific influences during college at Grambling State University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alvin Kennedy talks about faculty members at Grambling State University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alvin Kennedy talks about football at Grambling State University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alvin Kennedy discusses being raised as a Methodist.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alvin Kennedy talks about the interplay between science and religion

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alvin Kennedy talks about himself as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alvin Kennedy describes his internships during college at Grambling State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alvin Kennedy discusses his internship at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alvin Kennedy talks about his graduate school experience at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alvin Kennedy describes the field of physical chemistry

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alvin Kennedy remembers racial difficulties during graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alvin Kennedy talks about graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, part 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alvin Kennedy describes his graduate research with chemical lasers

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alvin Kennedy talks about his graduate school experience at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alvin Kennedy details his final dissertation defense

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alvin Kennedy talks about how his family influenced his graduate school experience

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alvin Kennedy reflects on his decision to go into industry after graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alvin Kennedy describes his experience at Dow Chemical Company

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alvin Kennedy discusses his career move to North Carolina A&T State University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alvin Kennedy describes his awards and patents

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Alvin Kennedy remembers the reaction to one of his early National Science Foundation grant proposals

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alvin Kennedy talks about his transition to teaching at North Carolina A&T State University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alvin Kennedy talks about getting funding at North Carolina A&T State University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alvin Kennedy recalls leaving North Carolina A&T State University for Morgan State University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alvin Kennedy details his initiatives at Morgan State University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alvin Kennedy recalls Morgan State University students' reactions to focus on research

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alvin Kennedy talks about his involvement in NOBCChE and the American Chemical Society

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alvin Kennedy discusses the future of his field and his long-term vision for the Morgan State University chemistry department

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Alvin Kennedy talks about his spouse and children

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Alvin Kennedy reflects on his life's accomplishments

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Alvin Kennedy recalls his early interest in science
Alvin Kennedy talks about his graduate school experience at the University of California, Berkeley
Transcript
Let's go back to Grambling [Louisiana]. Are there special teachers there at the elementary school [Grambling Laboratory School] that stand out?$$Yeah, actually, there were. Ms. Turner, it was my fifth grade teacher. And I think that was when I first started, that's when I first started accepting the fact that I could do math. I mean I, and I realized that I was good at it and didn't--it wasn't a stigma associated with it. It was sort of, it was actually fun to a large extent. And so I think she was the one that really enabled me in terms of just being able to just recognize that I can do math and I was good at it.$$Is this also when you develop an interest in science?$$My interest in science? I think I've always had an interest in science to a certain extent. I've always been interested in fundamental questions, you know, the why am I here, what's going on type of thing? So I've always had that interest in general.$$Do you remember your earliest recollection about science?$$Well, yeah, actually, I do. It turns out that we used to go to my father's [Amos Paul Kennedy] office after church. And there, he actually had a chemical model set. And so that's when I first started putting models together, seeing what a water molecule was, what a methane molecule was. And it was pretty cool to be able to, but, you know, nobody had things to play with other than Tonka toys or something like that.$$Now, of the friends that you had at that stage, did most of them have parents who were educated like yours or were you unique in that respect?$$No, most of them were at the, educated. My best friend's father was actually a graphics artist. So he's a printer. So he did not have an advanced degree, but he was in the arts themselves. But, yeah, most of the, my friends had, their parents usually taught or else they at least had a college education.$$Do you recall having a discussion about science with your father [Amos Paul Kennedy]?$$Oh, yeah, and like I said, when we, we used to do the modeling things and stuff like that. A lot of my discussion, more of my discussions with my father were, have always been more of a philosophical nature as opposed to a scientific nature.$I'm getting ready to move on to your graduation from [University of California ]Berkeley, the PhD, but before we do that, are there any other things about that period of time that you want to talk about?$$Well, the funniest for me or the most enlightening, almost, well, two enlightening was, one of them was the, my final exam in quantum mechanics. And on the final exam in quantum mechanics, it was open everything. And we had five days to do it, sweated bullets day and night. So I finally took the exam to the guy, and I was like, I just, I did the best I can, but there's a lot of blanks here. He said, "I didn't make that exam for anybody to pass it." I said, "what?" He said, "no, I made it to check people's ego." I said, "well, you certainly did that sir" (laughter). The other thing was in a discussion with my advisor about some results I had gotten in the lab. And we were throwing ideas around, and I've forgotten exactly what it was. But he put up on the board what I thought was the stupidest thing in the world. And he just put it up there just as casually as possible. And I was like, "George, that doesn't make any sense", and I started laughing because I realized at that point that we were doing work that no one else did. And that no one knows what the answer is at that point. And it was--that's one of the things that I look for now in my students today is, when they realize that I'm not the oracle, that I don't know this thing either and that now we're sharing our ignorance in trying to figure out how to get to the next level.$$When did that first hit you, that realization that you could talk with the big boys?$$That was that. That was the point. That was when I, it was like okay. You know, there's no intimidation. This is strictly, we're just out here on our own. And so that was the one that, where--I mean there were other events that, you know, keyed me in. Like I said, throughout the years, I knew that my education was equivalent if not better than most people's education, but that was the one that really kind of said, okay, you know, there really is no God man (laughter).