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Lloyd Douglas

Mathematician and education administrator Lloyd Evans Douglas was born on October 5, 1951 near the Polo Grounds in New York City. Douglas’ family moved to Brooklyn where he attended Lafayette Public School (now the Eubie Blake School) and Berriman Junior High School (J.H.S. 64) before graduating from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1968. He was awarded a New York State Regents Scholarship and enrolled in the City Colleges of New York where he graduated with his B.S. degree in mathematics in 1972. While there, Douglas earned three varsity letters as a lacrosse player. He then attended graduate school at Miami University and worked as a graduate assistant in the math department and as an assistant coach of the lacrosse team. Douglas received his M.S. degree in mathematics in 1974. Douglas went on to enroll in Boston University’s doctoral program where he studied algebraic coding theory under the late Dr. Edwin Weiss. He was awarded a senior teaching fellowship in the mathematics department and worked as a mathematics tutor in the resident tutor program.

From 1971 to 1976, Douglas worked at the law offices of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae in New York City as a paralegal assistant specializing in litigation. In 1976, he was hired as a mathematician in the U.S. Naval Underwater Systems Center (now called the Naval Undersea Warfare Center) in Newport, Rhode Island. Douglas joined the Trident Command and Control System Maintenance Activity in Newport in 1979 as a computer specialist where he was the on-site representative for the data processing subsystem on the first Trident submarines. From 1980 to 1983, Douglas served as an operations research analyst at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command in Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey.

In 1983, Douglas moved to Washington, D.C. where he was appointed as a computer specialist in the U. S. General Services Administration and in the U.S. Office of Advanced Planning. In those positions, Douglas assisted in conducting technology assessments for automatic data processing and telecommunications throughout all federal departments. In 1984, Douglas joined the National Science Foundation (NSF). While there, he oversaw a large increase in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in the Division of Mathematical Sciences. Douglas was then appointed as the assistant to the Vice President for Research at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2010, he became the associate director of the Office of Sponsored Programs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and, in 2012, he has been the associate director of the Office of Contracts and Grants at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Douglas served on numerous committees in the Mathematical Association of America. In addition, he was elected as president of two, the Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association and the NSF Employees Association. He received NSF’s Meritorious Service Award in 2007.

Lloyd E. Douglas was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 19, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.143

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/19/2013

Last Name

Douglas

Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Evans

Schools

P.S. 25

Berriman Junior High School

Brooklyn Technical High School

City College of New York

Miami University

Boston University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Lloyd

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

DOU05

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Favorite Quote

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

10/5/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Greensboro

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Candy

Short Description

Mathematician and education administrator Lloyd Douglas (1951 - ) served as a mathematician for the U.S. Army Communication and Electronics Command and the U.S. Naval Command Center, and as a research director at the National Science Foundation where he was instrumental in expanding the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in the mathematical sciences.

Employment

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

University of Nevada, Reno

National Science Foundation (NSF)

United States General Services Administration

United States Army Communications and Electronics Command

United States Navy Trident Command and Control System Maintenance Activity

United States Naval Underwater Systems Center

Dewey & Le Bouf, LLP

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lloyd Douglas' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his mother's immigration to the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lloyd Douglas describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his father's education and his employment in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his parents' marriage in 1948

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lloyd Douglas describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lloyd Douglas describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lloyd Douglas describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the Jamaican community in Brooklyn, New York while he was growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lloyd Douglas describes his interest in science in elementary school and talks about his father helping him with his studies

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his interests as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the schools that he attended in New York City and his experience in school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his involvement in Christ English Evangelical Lutheran Church

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the political climate in the United States in the early 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his childhood interest in space

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the 1964 New York City World's Fair and the Mobile Economy Run

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his family's infrequent vacations and their trip to Jamaica in 1961

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his desire to attend Brooklyn Tech High School in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas describes his decision to apply to the City University of New York (CUNY), and attend Brooklyn College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the reaction to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at the City University of New York (CUNY)

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lloyd Douglas describes his decision to pursue his graduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lloyd Douglas talks about starting a Ph.D. degree in mathematics at Boston University, and leaving the program to go to work

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at the U.S. Naval Underwater Systems Center

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience with the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience as a computer specialist at the U.S. General Services Administration

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lloyd Douglas talks about self-teaching himself computer programming

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas describes his role as the head of the central computer system at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the early 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas discusses the mission and funding mechanisms of the National Science Foundation, and Walter Massey becoming the head of the NSF

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience at the National Science Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lloyd Douglas discusses the National Science Foundation (NSF)'sfunding for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lloyd Douglas discusses his role as a program officer in the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lloyd Douglas talks about the National Science Foundation (NSF) Employee Association and his appointment at the University of Nevada at Reno

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lloyd Douglas describes the history of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience in the Office of Sponsored Programs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas describes his experience as associate director of the Office of Contracts and Grants at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his service at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI)

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lloyd Douglas lists the professional organizations where he is a member

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lloyd Douglas reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his interest in hockey

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lloyd Douglas describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lloyd Douglas reflects upon the approach to mathematics in the educational system and in the community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Lloyd Douglas discusses his operating philosophy while reviewing grants and the importance of communicating science

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lloyd Douglas talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lloyd Douglas talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lloyd Douglas describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$10

DATitle
Lloyd Douglas talks about his family's infrequent vacations and their trip to Jamaica in 1961
Lloyd Douglas describes his experience as a computer specialist at the U.S. General Services Administration
Transcript
Now, did your parents [Calvin Sylvester Douglas and Lurline Isylda Brown] have a chance to go on many vacations in the car?$$No, in fact, they may--went on very few vacations. I think in '59 [1959] we went to Massachusetts. That was, my sister and I and my parents went. I think that's maybe the only vacation that we went on as a family. In '61 [1961] when I went to Jamaica to visit my grandmother, it was just my sister and my mother and I who went. And then we started going to New Jersey, to Asbury Park, and that was my sister and my mother and I who went. And then later, my mother would go to Pennsylvania and go on vacation. So it wasn't, we didn't vacation a lot. My father thought that he was going on vacation every time he left the house. So.$$So from what I gather, he had a keen appreciation of everything that was around him.$$Um-hum, yeah.$$Okay, so, now, your trip to Jamaica in '61 [1961], you would have been like what, nine [years old] or--$$Right, and so that's one of the reasons we went is because, so my sister is a little bit older, a year older than I am, and she--it was because of the airfares, because we could both go for less than adult fare because my sister was still young enough. And so that was the last year. So that was the year that my mother decided that we should go to Jamaica.$$Okay, 'cause if she had waited another year--$$Then my sister would have had to pay adult fare.$$Okay, so, all right, so what impression did Jamaica make on you?$$You know a lot of people go on vacation to Jamaica. I would never go on vacation (laughter) to Jamaica. It was, I mean saw the, you know, all the poverty side. And so that was, that's what struck me the most, you know. See my grandmother had a farm, but it was, there was really, there were dirt floors, and the house was pretty much a shack. And then there was, you know, a barn. And so it was, you know, even though things weren't really wonderful in New York, we lived in a house, and it was, it was a house. You didn't have chickens running in and out of the house and other creatures flying in and things like that. So that was sort of an awakening.$$Okay, so you could understand why your parents left Jamaica?$$Yeah, in fact, that was my father's thing. So people would go back to Jamaica or say they were gonna go back to Jamaica, a lot of Jamaicans (unclear)--maybe a lot of them thought they'd come to the U.S. and they'd make money and then go back. And my father would say, why would you go back? That's the reason you left there. So I think he had been in the U.S. forty years before he went back. And he had relatives there.$$It seems strange to hear that when most people consider it a vacation spot--$$Yeah, exactly.$$--but if you don't have the money there, it's not that much fun.$$Yeah, no.$$Okay, so, well, now, okay, anything else about the World's Fair? Now, but, you know, the trip in '61 [1961] in Jamaica, that's--you're actually going abroad for the first time. Did you learn anything about--$$Right, so that was the first time I had been out of the U.S. There was, as I mentioned before, the money was different, so that was unusual. People, although they supposedly spoke English, my mother had to translate for us. And so that was unusual too.$Okay, now, you started with the GSA [U.S. General Services Administration] in '83 [1983], right?$$Um-hum.$$And what was, how did that come about?$$So, I sort of had gotten back to, also--not back to New Jersey 'cause I hadn't lived in New Jersey, but New Jersey was sort of, it was close to home because it's close to New York, having lived in Ohio and Massachusetts and Rhode Island. And I thought I would just stay there because it was close, but then I started sort of looking at other opportunities, and, you know, a lot of them--being a federal employee, a lot of them were in the Washington, D.C. area, and I sort of resisted for a while, moving to D.C. I said, well, I can always move to D.C. later, and but all the interesting jobs I found were in Washington, D.C. And the job at GSA was the second that I applied for, that, where I was hired over the phone. I had applied for the job. They interviewed me over the phone, and they hired me, and they even told me that they were very reluctant to do that because they had never hired anybody over the phone before, but they, then compared my application to the other applications, they said it wasn't close. And so they, so then I moved to D.C., working at GSA as a computer specialist.$$Well, you know, you hear so many stories about job discrimination of black candidates going to an interview, and when they find out they're black, they won't even interview 'em or that sort of thing.$$Um-hum.$$And then the government's not necessarily--$$Right.$$--at this stage, it's not, isn't known for doing that kind of thing. But here you get two jobs on the telephone (laughter).$$Yeah, (laughter).$$This is fairly lucky it seems, to me. So, now, what did you--you worked for the GSA as a computer specialist, right?$$Um-hum.$$And so were you doing programming for the GSA?$$No, I was actually doing planning. So back then GSA was the government's purchaser. So if you bought anything, you had to go through GSA. So whether you bought pens or pencils or telecommunications systems, you have to go through GSA if you're with the federal government. And so I worked then in office, called the Office for Advanced Planning, and our job was to do--was to look at emerging technology to see where it could be applied throughout the federal government. And that was a really interesting job because you got to do technology--technical analysis, technology assessment, just looking at new technology and seeing where it could be applied.$$Okay, now, this is a time period when the whole computer world is changing rapidly, you know.$$Um-hum.$$Some people are still using mainframes, some people--PCs [personal computers] have come out and--$$Right.$$Just talk about some of the changes and--$$So that was the first time I ever used a PC. It was a Compaq computer, and, you know, it probably has hundredth of the capability that my phone does now. But it was not large in the sense of a mainframe. It was sort of like a desktop now and it was actually things that you could write and program and have it actually do things. So, again, with my interest in computers, I thought that was something that I really enjoyed doing.$$Okay, at this juncture, then, would you--the kind of programming you're doing, I guess would, you know, is PC-based, were you aware of Macintosh [from Apple, Inc.] computers at this point?$$No, no, I wasn't.$$Okay, and was the government--I guess the government was basically PC-based?$$Right, um-hum.