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Marcus McCraven

Electrical engineer Marcus R. McCraven was born on December 27, 1923 in Des Moines, Iowa to parents Marcus and Buena McCraven. After graduating from high school, McCraven enrolled at Howard University but was drafted into the U.S. Army during his first year of college. He was listed as an expert rifleman but went on to serve as a supply clerk with an engineering regiment in Papua, New Guinea and in the Philippines. Returning to the United States, McCraven continued his studies at Howard University and graduated with his B.S. degree in electrical engineering.

Upon graduation, McCraven was hired at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. After six months, he was promoted to electrical engineer and became the project leader of the Nuclear Systems Branch. McCraven soon moved to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California where he worked on the hydrogen bomb. His area of expertise on the project was diagnostics and he was instrumental the early development of nuclear weapons, including nuclear tests on Bikini Island and in Nevada. McCraven then joined the research staff at the California Lawrence Radiation Laboratory; and, in the 1960s, he left California and moved to Connecticut where he began to work for Phelps Dodge. In 1970, he joined United Illuminating Co. as the director of environmental engineering and was later promoted to vice president.
McCraven has also served as trustee at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. In 2011, McCraven received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut.

McCraven lives in Hamden, Connecticut with his wife, Marguerite McCraven, a former social worker in the Hamden Public Schools. They have three children: Paul McCraven, the vice president of community development at New Alliance Bank; Stephen McCraven, a musician living in Paris, Carol McCraven.

Marcus McCraven was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 8, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.069

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/9/2013

Last Name

McCraven

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

University of Maryland

University of California, Berkeley

Bowman High School

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Marcus

Birth City, State, Country

Des Moines

HM ID

MCC14

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Iowa

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Birth Date

12/27/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Haven

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Southern Food

Short Description

Electrical engineer Marcus McCraven (1923 - ) is an electrical engineer who worked to develop the hydrogen bomb at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Employment

United Illuminating Co.

Phelps Dodge Electronics

University of California, Livermore

Naval Research Laboratory

Favorite Color

Blue, Gray

Timing Pairs
0,0:10795,70:11731,79:52100,293:52856,304:55895,316:58812,338:69982,477:70510,483:81578,640:86666,718:89474,747:90878,802:102840,890:103608,903:106782,912:113561,1003:117805,1064:118470,1093:128110,1206$0,0:535,3:3460,58:4955,68:14740,159:20185,210:24516,286:24846,292:25374,302:25902,308:26364,317:27816,344:28080,349:34190,387:39360,410:39640,415:41040,445:44222,507:44768,516:45080,521:45470,527:46250,539:48500,544:48850,550:49760,572:50460,586:50810,592:51090,597:52280,613:53400,643:59123,709:62738,749:66728,790:67184,795:73694,838:73998,843:74378,849:76768,864:77058,870:77406,878:77638,883:77986,890:81372,907:84187,926:84908,934:91842,945:92874,960:99972,1032:100382,1038:103088,1091:111000,1116:111630,1124:114134,1150:114544,1156:114954,1162:115282,1167:116594,1184:120933,1196:121788,1216:123850,1228:124870,1243:125210,1248:126400,1268:126825,1274:128440,1291:128865,1297:129460,1305:129800,1310:130650,1323:133285,1364:134560,1388:134900,1393:135665,1403:142100,1422:142504,1427:143211,1435:143817,1446:146050,1464:146298,1469:146546,1474:147042,1490:150788,1516:151397,1528:151919,1535:156206,1560:157026,1566:159990,1582:160782,1598:162739,1610:163640,1627:163852,1632:164329,1642:164647,1650:166385,1659:167335,1668:167715,1673:168190,1679:168665,1685:169235,1692:174543,1729:175035,1734:176388,1746:184441,1814:188860,1854:189409,1864:189836,1873:190263,1880:192138,1897:206450,2019:207278,2029:214508,2108:215712,2128:230778,2236:236140,2290:243036,2388:247620,2455:254730,2556:255555,2571:255855,2576:260030,2639:260450,2647:260750,2653:260990,2658:263162,2678:264410,2693:264794,2698:265370,2708:265946,2715:268620,2722:273377,2744:274445,2760:276047,2786:277560,2800:278094,2807:278539,2813:281465,2829:281717,2834:281969,2839:282410,2852:284552,2886:284930,2893:285434,2905:285875,2913:286820,2934:293410,2947:295250,2959:297160,2973:299160,3002:299480,3007:304310,3083
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marcus McCraven's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven talks about his mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven talks Port Gibson, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven talks about his parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marcus McCraven talks about his family during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marcus McCraven describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven talks about his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven describes how his parent's met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven describes the beginning of his interest in engineering

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marcus McCraven talks about his activities as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marcus McCraven talks about his junior high and high schools

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven talks about living with his aunt while in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven talks about his interests in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven talks about his time at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven describes his time in the Army during World War II pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven describes his time in the Army during World War II pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven describes the racial prejudice he faced in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marcus McCraven describes his time at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven describes meeting his wife Marguerite

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven describes his patent on a high current photodiode pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven describes his patent on a high current photodiode pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven describes his work at the University of California at Berkeley Lawrence Radiation Laboratory pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven describes his work at the University of California at Berkeley Lawrence Radiation Laboratory pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven talks about the hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marcus McCraven talks about the hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven describes nuclear testing pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven describes nuclear testing pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven describes Operation Plowshare

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven talks about the Phelps Dodge Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven describes being hired by the Phelps Dodge Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven talks about the politics of nuclear weapons

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven talks about being a charter member of the advisory committee for establishing the Environmental Protection Agency

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven describes the licensing of a low-sulfur coal burning plant for United Illuminating Company

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven talks about his involvement in several organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven talks about the work of painter Rudolph Zallinger

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven talks about William Strickland and Carlton Highsmith

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven describes his travels pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven describes his travels pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven reflects on his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Marcus McCraven describes the beginning of his interest in engineering
Marcus McCraven describes his patent on a high current photodiode pt. 2
Transcript
Other thing I had influence for going into engineering because in the extended family, my father's sister--my father's sister's husband's sister married Archie Alexander. And Archie Alexander was a noted civil engineer. He had the company Alexander and Repass, and they built, while I was a student at Howard, his company built the big cloverleaf intersection, you know, where you go off the highway in all different directions.$$In D.C.?$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$So I--$$So this is a black construction company?$$--Yeah. It's a black construction. The senior partner, they had two partners, Alexander and Repass, Repass was white, Alexander was black, he finished Iowa State [sic, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa]. So that was, you know, being at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.], having that job when I was at Howard, I was certainly in a position where I took classmates down to the construction site. I knew them. So I had a little in--I knew the extended family type person there who was the president of the company. It kind of makes you feel kind of good-$$Yes, yes sir.$$--as a student, but that was one of the reasons I said I was going into engineering, but I decided not to go into civil.$So what you patented was not only just a photodiode but a process?$$Most of these units give only various little current. It exists. A flash of light that's lasting for so many nanoseconds, how much light is that, you know, you can see it. The photodiode can see it, but it's such a small amount of light that the signal that's generated is very small and if you were going to record that, you have to have very sensitive recording material, even if you got an oscilloscope on the end. But when you got ready to test these devices you were miles away. So that little signal that's going back through coaxial cable all the way back can be wiped out. So you needed, you needed something that was going to give you big currents. So this was, so this photodiode that I patent was called high current photodiode. That means it was one that would deliver-- you could look at very bright lights and get a signal and see the coaxial cable, the fifty ohm type cable just one foot had so much attenuation, two feet, and here you are miles back, because your equipment got to be away from the blast. So we had device sitting here monitoring equipment right there with miles of coaxial cable going back to a recording station and this is not an easy thing to do, to get those signals and it's those signals that gave you the reaction history of the device. This is what the physicists who were designing them, they come up with certain design and configuration and said they think this will work. What we did in the testing and system division was to take the first design, take it into the field, fire it and look at actually what happens. Look at what the reaction that takes place during that explosion, and we can then feed that information back to the physicists and they said, "Oh, now we know we should do this and make corrections." That's one advantage that the United States had on in this whole development program, we did--we got a lot of information from testing and though you had to have detectors and recording equipment, and that's how I got involved with the Naval Research Lab, I worked with developing the detector. And the ones I designed we used for one of the detonations. I was--$$Now, did you have to go to California to do that?$$I had-- I built them at Naval Research in Washington, D.C. and now they want them, got them and say we're going to ship them to California. Well, they were hand-carried. I mean when I say hand carried, these were too big to carry all these detectors but I was the person. This was my project, these were the ones that were accepted to be used and kept in a test. So I was to deliver those from Washington, D.C. to California and they hired the Flying Tigers Airline, me and these detectors. And this was so secret at the time that the Flying Tiger pilots couldn't know what they had and where they were going. I changed pilots three times between Washington, D.C. and California. That was my first big job there. After that I went to work directly for the University of California [at Berkley, Berkley, California].

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

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Erroll Davis, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his maternal grandparents' move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his maternal relatives' names

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his father's aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his maternal grandparents' employers

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his parents' discipline

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his sister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the Homewood community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his parents' civic involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his early academic success

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his early work experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers entering kindergarten at four years old

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers an influential teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his hobbies

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his start at Westinghouse Junior Senior High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his favorite teacher at Westinghouse Junior Senior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his high school graduation

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his university applications

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his course of study at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his course of study at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his activities at the Carnegie Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his decision to attend the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers the black community on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his mentors at the University of Chicago, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his mentors at the University of Chicago, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his graduation from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers enlisting in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his time in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls working at the Ford Motor Company

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers joining the Xerox Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his time at the Xerox Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his career at the Wisconsin Power and Light Company

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls leaving the Alliant Energy Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about forming the Alliant Energy Corporation, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about forming the Alliant Energy Corporation, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the representation of African Americans among corporate executives

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his appointment as chancellor of the University System of Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his membership on the board of BP P.L.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his chancellorship of the University System of Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the historically black colleges in the State of Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his appointment as the interim superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers the discovery of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes the aftermath of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. reflects upon the problems in the Atlanta Public Schools

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the strategies for increasing student achievement

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about school disciplinary policy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Erroll Davis, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his advice to aspiring businesspeople

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. narrates his photographs

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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.