The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Erroll Davis, Jr.

Education administrator Erroll Brown Davis, Jr. was born on August 5, 1944 and grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While Davis had a close relationship with his parents, Erroll, Sr. and Eleanor, his strongest influence as a child was his grandfather, John Boykin, a Georgia farmer who had migrated to Pittsburgh and worked as a chauffeur.
Davis graduated from high school at age sixteen, and then worked his way through Carnegie-Mellon University, becoming, along with his sister Diana who graduated the same year, the first members of his family to graduate from college. Davis received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1965 at the age of twenty. He moved to Chicago for graduate school, receiving his M.B.A. degree in finance from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business in 1967.

Following his graduation from Chicago, Davis worked briefly at ARCO, an international oil company, and then spent two years as an U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam War. In 1969, Davis joined the Ford Motor Company as a systems analyst. He later spent five years working in corporate finance at Xerox Corporation. Davis worked for Ford Motor Company until 1973, when he left for a position in Stamford, CT with Xerox Corporation, with whom he was affiliated until 1978. At Xerox, his focus was on strategic financial planning. Prior to the creation of Alliant Energy, Davis worked at Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL). From 1978 to 1990, Davis received several promotions through the senior management ranks at WPL, starting as vice president of finance and ending as CEO and President.

Davis’ higher education experience includes serving as a member of the University of the Wisconsin System Board of Regents from 1987 to 1994, and as a former chairman of the board of trustees of Carnegie Mellon University, where he is a life member. From 2006 to 2011, Davis served as chancellor of the University System of Georgia. He was appointed superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools in July of 2011. He is a member of the board of directors of General Motors and Union Pacific Corp., and serves on the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) board and on the advisory board of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) along with numerous professional associations and civic organizations. He is a former member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board (2004-2008) and the University of Chicago Board of Trustees.

Davis is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including recognition as one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “100 Most Influential Atlantans,” one of the “75 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise Magazine. Davis also was named one of the “50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America” by Fortune Magazine in 2002 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business in 1993. In addition, Davis was honored by the magazine U.S. Black Engineer as the “Black Engineer of the Year” in 1988.

Davis and his wife, Elaine, live and in work in Atlanta, Georgia.

Erroll B. Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.251

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/17/2012

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Schools

University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Carnegie Mellon University

Westinghouse Academy

First Name

Erroll

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

DAV27

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

All Problems Are Leadership Problems.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/5/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pork Chops (Smothered)

Short Description

Education administrator Erroll Davis, Jr. (1944 - ) served as the chancellor of the University System of Georgia and was appointed superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools in 2011.

Employment

Atlanta Public Schools

University System of Georgia

WPL Holdings

Wisconsin Power & Light, Inc.

Ford Motor Company

Xerox

Alliant Energy

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:9917,147:10382,153:13637,195:18106,217:25440,274:26104,282:28262,329:28677,337:29424,350:29839,356:30420,365:39790,480:40555,490:40980,496:41830,514:42680,530:46335,595:46760,601:47100,607:49140,654:50160,670:51180,684:55480,694:55890,700:56218,706:56628,713:58842,748:59580,758:60400,777:61056,788:61876,800:63434,818:65976,877:66468,884:82134,1085:83096,1102:83762,1113:85760,1159:86426,1173:86944,1181:91801,1227:92086,1234:92314,1239:95768,1294:98113,1347:98448,1353:99051,1365:100458,1395:100860,1402:102267,1453:108486,1521:109565,1536:113549,1611:113881,1616:116205,1659:116869,1669:120690,1738:121490,1751:125794,1823:126375,1831:130303,1879:130717,1887:130993,1892:131269,1897:131545,1902:134999,1937:135363,1942:139840,1993:142496,2015:144000,2031:144949,2047:145825,2062:148015,2095:148307,2100:149037,2113:150570,2141:151154,2151:151519,2157:152030,2165:153052,2190:153636,2200:154001,2207:154731,2221:155023,2232:155753,2244:161525,2287:163250,2320:163700,2327:164075,2333:164600,2342:165650,2358:174125,2516:174425,2521:175925,2577:176825,2583:196568,2759:197086,2768:200315,2816:201665,2838:202490,2852:202865,2858:203990,2880:204290,2885:205115,2898:205865,2912:207065,3051:207890,3064:208190,3069:208640,3076:211796,3089:212148,3094:212676,3110:213028,3115:213996,3134:214524,3141:216372,3169:217340,3182:218924,3203:220772,3236:225808,3290:226384,3300:226864,3306:228304,3326:228976,3334:229456,3340:235308,3402:235992,3413:237208,3432:237512,3437:240172,3476:241692,3504:243060,3525:243744,3537:244124,3544:249184,3575:249472,3580:249904,3587:250408,3595:250696,3600:250984,3605:251920,3619:252784,3632:254224,3650:254800,3659:255232,3666:263350,3794:263794,3801:264090,3806:264534,3813:265792,3832:266384,3841:268678,3883:268974,3889:269344,3895:270306,3911:272770,3931$0,0:1116,32:1426,38:2480,57:4348,74:4774,82:5271,90:5768,99:7259,131:11368,183:15068,266:15364,271:16252,285:26564,407:27096,427:27704,437:29148,468:34240,561:34772,569:36596,615:44356,691:45046,705:45391,711:47254,738:47806,747:48565,760:49186,772:50152,789:50842,801:51325,812:51739,819:52153,827:53947,859:54223,864:54499,869:55258,883:55810,892:56362,901:60482,911:61292,922:63560,965:69612,998:73760,1078:74032,1083:74780,1098:78150,1126:80175,1163:93910,1370:94360,1377:95410,1389:95935,1394:96535,1403:105685,1560:106585,1573:107260,1583:108235,1643:109810,1678:118779,1756:129460,1917:130190,1931:130555,1937:131285,1953:131723,1962:132599,1974:133621,1987:134424,2004:135008,2014:135957,2034:137636,2057:138877,2080:139242,2087:140264,2105:140775,2113:142308,2134:143111,2148:145301,2188:150624,2206:155853,2285:157430,2307:161930,2350:162690,2357:163735,2371:167139,2416:167867,2425:170051,2450:171871,2471:181902,2547:183594,2568:185944,2613:193062,2717:193751,2733:194228,2743:194758,2754:195023,2760:197968,2798:199302,2833:199592,2839:199998,2847:200578,2859:201274,2872:201680,2880:201912,2885:202202,2891:202434,2897:203014,2908:203420,2916:203652,2921:203942,2927:204348,2933:205334,2952:205856,2962:206726,2978:207132,2986:207712,2997:211536,3026:211992,3034:213892,3073:214272,3079:215488,3098:224294,3183:226042,3209:226346,3214:226954,3223:232654,3384:233414,3395:233794,3402:237610,3433
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640937">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Erroll Davis, Jr.'s interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640938">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640939">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640940">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his maternal grandparents' move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640941">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his maternal relatives' names</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640942">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his mother's education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640943">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640944">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his father's education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640945">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his father's aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640946">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his maternal grandparents' employers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640947">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his parents' personalities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640948">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his parents' discipline</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640949">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his sister</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640950">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the Homewood community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640951">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640952">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his parents' civic involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640953">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his father's career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640954">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his early academic success</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640955">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his early work experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640956">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers entering kindergarten at four years old</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640957">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers an influential teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640958">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his hobbies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640959">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his start at Westinghouse Junior Senior High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640960">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his favorite teacher at Westinghouse Junior Senior High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640961">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640962">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his high school graduation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640963">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his university applications</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640964">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers meeting his wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640965">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his course of study at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640966">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his course of study at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640967">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his activities at the Carnegie Institute of Technology</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640968">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his decision to attend the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640969">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers the black community on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640970">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his mentors at the University of Chicago, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640971">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his mentors at the University of Chicago, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640972">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his graduation from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640973">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers enlisting in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640974">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his time in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640975">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls working at the Ford Motor Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640976">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers joining the Xerox Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640977">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his time at the Xerox Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640978">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his career at the Wisconsin Power and Light Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640979">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls leaving the Alliant Energy Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640980">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about forming the Alliant Energy Corporation, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640981">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about forming the Alliant Energy Corporation, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640982">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the representation of African Americans among corporate executives</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640983">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his appointment as chancellor of the University System of Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640984">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his membership on the board of BP P.L.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640985">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his chancellorship of the University System of Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640986">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the historically black colleges in the State of Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640987">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his appointment as the interim superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640988">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers the discovery of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640989">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes the aftermath of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640990">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. reflects upon the problems in the Atlanta Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640991">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the strategies for increasing student achievement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640992">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about school disciplinary policy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640993">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640994">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640995">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640996">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640997">Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Erroll Davis, Jr. reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640998">Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his advice to aspiring businesspeople</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640999">Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641000">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his mentors at the University of Chicago, pt. 1
Erroll Davis, Jr. describes the aftermath of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal
Transcript
So, now, were there any particular--did--was there--did you have an advisor, I guess, in the business department there?$$ No, I didn't, but I had truly great professors who were giants in their field, such as Sidney Davidson. I wanted, in my naivete, to waive accounting, which I just thought seemed boring and dull. And, and after a while, after going back and forth, they finally said, "Look, son, you are going to take accounting." And so I took accounting, and I found it trivially easy, because they were solving for the concept of an unknown, and that's what engineers do every day of their life, except there's a lot of dog work and rules and steps to get to these. And I just aced every exam, every, every homework because it was just trivially easy. But the one thing I do remember is that Dr. Davidson called me in after one exam, and he said, "You've got this entire section 100 percent wrong on the test." And I said, "What, what are you talking about?" And he said, "Well, your answers are all wrong." And I looked at them, and I said, "Oh, my God, I misread the instructions. I thought it meant this." And he said, "That's what I was afraid of. I thought that I had done something wrong 'cause you're such a good student." And he said, "And I could see how you could interpret it that way. So I'm just gonna give you a quick quiz on the spot." So he gave me a quick verbal quiz, and I aced them, and so he gave me like an A plus in the course. But I never forgot that, because he knew I was such a student that I wouldn't screw up, other than the directions not being good, and he took that upon himself. But then he says to me after the course, he said, "You know, Erroll [HistoryMaker Erroll Davis, Jr.], this was too easy for you, and you obviously are walking around here with this I'm a hotshot attitude. So I'll tell you what: how would you like to make even more money by being a grader for me the next semester?" And I said, "Sure, no problem; I'll do that." And I learned more accounting being a grader, looking at how people could go wrong than I did from sitting in a lecture listening to how it should be done, because once they told me how it should be done I would do it. That way I would apply rules, solve for unknowns, but it was just stunning to me the mistakes that people could make and misapplying the rules. And I had fun caustically correcting them and saying such things as, "Congratulations, you just proved two plus two equal five." And we had a, had a good time. But I'll never forget him. He is a great man, a great professor. And a lot--and I went through life and went through there with a, I think, a, an unmerited and unwant- unwarranted degree of insouciance and arrogance. I remember having a course with Gene Fama [Eugene Fama], who is the father of random walk theory of the stock market. But he was a full professor at University of Chicago [University of Chicago Graduate School of Business; University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Chicago, Illinois], and he was probably not even thirty years old at that point in time a full professor. And we played basketball together. And I remember one question on one exam where he said you know, list the contributions of Pierce [ph.], Arrow [Kenneth Arrow], couple of other people, and Fama to capital asset pricing theory. And I said you know, how arrogant, to give a course and have somebody list your contributions on their--I mean, he was right. But at that point I remember writing the answer, was that I felt that Fama's contributions were really nothing more than sophisticated mathematical reformulations of somebody else's theories. You know, that sort of set him off, but we got a kick out of that as, as well. And so, I had a great time. I mean, things that people take for gospel in business education and in M.B.A. programs were, in fact, being invented in the middle '60s [1960s].$I don't want to be known as the worst performing school, because with the rise of charter schools, people will take kids out of my school, and pretty soon they'll close it. And so I have to demonstrate to parents that they should send their kids here. They'll get good education and good grades here, even though there is not a lot of integrity in that process.$$Okay, okay. So, you said it's taken a, a year to, and you're still not quite at the, at the--finished with this investigation?$$ Well, the--one of the reasons this has taken so long is that the special prosecutors turned their evidence over to the district attorney. They didn't turn their evidence over to us. And so the only evidence we've ever had is that which the district attorney has seen fit to share. And that sharing has been a lot slower than we would have liked, but I respect that he's trying to put together criminal cases and conspiracy cases. So they're not giving out a lot of information, particularly at the admin level or in this office, as opposed to, well, we're not gonna bother with some people at this school, so you can have the information related to such and such school.$$So the, the perpetrators of these, of this cheating [on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests] face two forms of jeopardy I guess. They, they can lose their job, or, or be penalized in Atlanta Public Schools, or face criminal prosecution too, or both.$$ Yeah, there's three, actually, avenues.$$Okay.$$ One, of course, is our administrative reviews here at APS. The second is the Professional Standards Commission [Georgia Professional Standards Commission], our licensing body; they can get their license revoked. And in fact, they've revoked some licenses before we get to hearing our own administrative hearings. And we say well, you know, you're not gonna have a license. I can't put you in a classroom without a license anyway. Even if it is under appeal, I can't take the risk of the appeal being sustained and me having to take you out of the classroom. And so, my need to serve children with a stable teacher is greater than your need to be placed in the classroom. And the third avenue is the criminal avenue. When you falsify official documents it's criminal. When you order somebody to destroy evidence it's criminal, for example. And so we have all three, three avenues working, you know--$$Okay.$$ --although the district attorney has yet to file anything or make any charge.$$Okay, okay. All right, so this is--but, I guess the scandal side, what, what are--what things are you trying to do with the Atlanta public school system to bring it up to where--$$ Well--$$--it needs to be?$$ --we spend a lot of time here putting an effective teacher in every classroom. And then we surround that effective teacher with some of the worst systems imaginable, registration systems that don't work, scheduling systems that don't work, inconsistently and sometimes inappropriately applied discipline systems, et cetera. And so, what we have is a plan that says I'm gonna get these operational things working; I'm going to hire and train and retrain great people, that's a second. The third is I'm gonna put in more rigorous curriculum around the Common Core [Common Core State Standards Initiative]. And this is all this three tiers should lead to improve student achievement, higher graduation rates, lower dropout rates, et cetera.

Dr. Louis W. Sullivan

Federal cabinet appointee and college president Dr. Louis Wade Sullivan was born on November 3, 1933 in Atlanta, Georgia to Lubirda Priester and Walter Wade Sullivan. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, Sullivan received his B.S. degree in biology from Morehouse College in 1954. He went on to receive his M.D. degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1958, completing his residency at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

In 1960, Sullivan began a pathology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, before working at Boston City Hospital and studying hematology at the Thorndike Laboratory. He was hired as co-director of hematology at Boston University Medical Center in 1966; and, in 1967, he founded the Boston University Hematology Service. In 1975, Morehouse College Medical Education Program was founded and Sullivan returned to Atlanta to serve as its first dean, teaching biology and medicine and founding the Medical Education Program at Morehouse College. The Morehouse School of Medicine became independent from Morehouse College in 1981, with Sullivan as its president and dean. In 1988, President George H.W. Bush appointed Sullivan to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. He returned to Morehouse School of Medicine in 1993 as president, retiring from the position in 2002.

In 1976, Sullivan helped found the Association of Minority Health Professions Schools to promote a national minority health agenda; and, in 1999, he hosted the public television show “Frontiers of Medicine.” In 2003, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to chair the White House initiative on historically black colleges and universities advisory committee. He also served as chairman of the National Health Museum and on the boards of United Therapeutics, Emergent BioSolutions, General Motors, Cigna, and Equifax.

Sullivan has received more than sixty honorary degrees, including an honorary M.D. degree from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He received the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases in 2008 and his autobiography received the NAACP Image Award for Literature in 2015.

Sullivan and his wife, E. Ginger Williamson Sullivan, have three children: Paul, Shanta, and Halsted.

Dr. Louis Wade Sullivan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 21, 2002 and August 17, 2019.

Accession Number

A2002.028

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/21/2002

11/6/2004

11/29/2004

8/17/2019

Last Name

Sullivan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Wade

Schools

Boston University School of Medicine

Booker T. Washington High School

Morehouse College

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Louis

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

SUL01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All, and Medical, Business, Scientific and Governmental Groups

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $10,000+

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: $5000-25000
Preferred Audience: All, and Medical, Business, Scientific and Governmental Groups

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

We can do it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/3/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Federal cabinet appointee and college president Dr. Louis Wade Sullivan (1933- ) served as founding dean and president of Morehouse School of Medicine, and as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services from 1988 to 1993.

Employment

Thorndike Memorial Laboratory Boston City Hospital

New Jersey College of Medicine

Boston University Medical Center

Morehouse College School of Medicine

United States Department of Health and Human Services

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13763">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Louis Sullivan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13764">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan's favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13765">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan discusses his mother's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13766">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan discusses his father's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13767">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan talks about growing up in Albany, Georgia and Blakely, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13768">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Louis Sullivan talks about his father's funeral home business and his parents' activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13769">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Louis Sullivan describes his personality during his early years</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13770">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Louis Sullivan talks about attending school in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13771">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan shares memories from his childhood in Blakely, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13772">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan discusses his high school experience</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13773">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan reflects on his early interest in becoming a doctor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13774">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan talks about making the decision to attend Morehouse College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13775">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Louis Sullivan discusses his experiences at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13776">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Louis Sullivan talks about several distinguished professors who taught at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13777">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Louis Sullivan reflects on numerous leaders from Atlanta's black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13778">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Louis Sullivan talks about his decision to attend medical school at Boston University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13779">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan talks about his experiences as a student at Boston University School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13780">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan explains why he chose to help found the Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13781">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan discusses the various phases of his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13782">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan discusses the origins of the Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13783">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Louis Sullivan explains the strategy behind founding the Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13784">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan discusses the significance of fundraising in the success of Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13785">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan explains how he became Secretary of Health and Human Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13786">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan discusses how Morehouse School of Medicine received federal funding</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13787">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan talks about his experiences as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13788">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Second slating for Louis Sullivan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13789">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan talks about other black students during his time at Boston University Medical School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13790">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan discusses his mentors while attending Boston University Medical School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13791">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan talks about his interest in hematology</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13792">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan talks about developments in the practice of hematology</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13793">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Louis Sullivan discusses the challenges of medical school and his decision to specialize</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13794">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Louis Sullivan discusses how his decision to become a doctor was significant for his family and community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13795">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Louis Sullivan reminisces about the first time he saw a cadaver</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13796">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Louis Sullivan talks about death and objectivity in the practice of medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13797">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan talks about his interview with and decision to intern at New York Hospital</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13798">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan shares a story from his early experiences at New York Hospital</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13799">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan discusses race and class demographics of patients at New York Hospital</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13800">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan discusses his decision to return to Boston, Massachusetts as a hematology fellow</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13801">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Louis Sullivan describes his hemalogical research</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13802">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Louis Sullivan talks about early research on sickle cell anemia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13803">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Louis Sullivan talks about the formation of the National Center for Sickle Cell Disease</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13804">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan discusses his decision to pursue medical research rather than become a general practitioner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13805">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan explains how his administrative skills helped him found Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13806">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan explains the conditions that led to the founding of Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13807">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan provides historical details on the formation of the Atlanta University Center consortium</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13808">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Louis Sullivan explains how Atlanta University Center accepted the formation of Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13809">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Louis Sullivan talks being recruited to become dean of Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13810">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan talks about the areas of specialization offered by Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13811">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan explains the strategy used to build the faculty of Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13812">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan explains how Morehouse School of Medicine gained full accreditation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13813">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan describes Morehouse School of Medicine's relationship with the Atlanta University Center consortium</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13814">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Louis Sullivan discusses various resources that have helped fund Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13815">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Third slating for Louis Sullivan interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13816">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan talks about the significance of state funding for Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13817">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan discusses the financial challenges of founding Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13818">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan identifies individuals who were instrumental in the development of Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13819">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan discusses the recruitment of the first students to attend Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13820">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Louis Sullivan describes Morehouse School of Medicine's relationship with other historically black medical schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13821">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Louis Sullivan discusses several early challenges to the development of Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13822">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Louis Sullivan talks about Barbara Bush joining the board of trustees of Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13823">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan explains how black members of Congress helped secure federal funding for Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13824">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan reflects on the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on politics and education in Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13825">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan discusses the relationship between Morehouse School of Medicine and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13826">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan talks about the challenge of developing a strong medical institution</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13827">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Louis Sullivan provides additional details about his selection as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13828">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Louis Sullivan continues his discussion about accepting the nomination for U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13829">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan reflects on leaving Morehouse School of Medicine to serve as the Secretary of Health and Human Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13830">Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan discusses various tasks and duties as Secretary of Health and Human Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13831">Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan discusses dealing with controversial issues as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13832">Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan talks about dealing with the press during his Senate confirmation process</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13833">Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Louis Sullivan talks about his accomplishments as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13834">Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Louis Sullivan tells of how he fought with the tobacco industry as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, part 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13835">Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Louis Sullivan tells of how he fought with the tobacco industry as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, part 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13836">Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan discusses the health dangers of smoking and the fight for ingredient labels for cigarettes and food</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13837">Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan talks about the challenge of addressing the AIDS panic of the late 1980s and early 1990s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13838">Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan explains challenges unique to the office of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13839">Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan talks about the responsiblities associated with being U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13840">Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Louis Sullivan identifies memorable experiences as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13841">Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Louis Sullivan talks about his decision to return to Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13842">Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Louis Sullivan discusses David Satcher's recruitment developing a succession plan at Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13843">Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Louis Sullivan discusses his hopes and vision for Morehouse School of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13844">Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Louis Sullivan discusses the present state of the medical profession</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13845">Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Louis Sullivan explains his feelings of commitment and responsibility to the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/13846">Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Louis Sullivan considers his legacy</a>