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Earl Lewis

Foundation president, historian and academic administrator Earl Lewis was born in 1955 in Norfolk, Virginia. Lewis attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he graduated in 1978 with his B.A. degree in history and psychology. After graduating from Concordia College, Lewis enrolled in the University of Minnesota and received his M.A. degree in history in 1981. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. in 1984 from the University of Minnesota.

In 1984, Lewis was hired as an assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Then, in 1989, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan as an associate professor of history and African American and African Studies. One year after his arrival at the University of Michigan, Lewis was appointed as the director of the university’s Center for African American and African Studies. He became a full professor of history and African American and African Studies in 1995, and a faculty associate in the Program in American Culture. In 1997, Lewis was promoted to interim dean of the University of Michigan’s Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Shortly thereafter, in 1998, Lewis became the vice provost for academic affairs for graduate studies and dean; and, in 2003, he was appointed the Elsa Barkley Brown and Robin D.G. Kelley Collegiate Professor of History and African American and African Studies. Then, in 2004, he was hired as both provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and as the Asa Griggs Candler professor of history and African American studies at Emory University. Lewis was Emory University’s first African American provost and the highest-ranking African American administrator in the university’s history. In 2013, he left Emory University and assumed a new role as president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Lewis has edited, authored or co-authored seven books. They include the 1991 monograph In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power in Twentieth-Century Norfolk, 2000’s To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans, 2001’s Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White, and 2004’s The African American Urban Experience: From the Colonial Era to the Present. Lewis is also the author of more than two dozen scholarly articles and has served on several academic and community boards, including the American Historical Review, Council of Graduate Schools, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Academy of Science’s Board on Higher Education and the Workforce, and the Center for Research Libraries. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.

Earl Lewis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 18, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.255

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/18/2013

Last Name

Lewis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Concordia College

University of Minnesota

Indian River High School

First Name

Earl

Birth City, State, Country

Norfolk

HM ID

LEW14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Favorite Quote

We Serve As, Rather Than We Are, Before Titles

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/15/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steamed Blue Crab

Short Description

History professor, academic administrator, and foundation chief executive Earl Lewis (1955 - ) , author of In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power in Twentieth-Century Norfolk, was Emory University’s first African American provost and the highest-ranking African American administrator in the university’s history.

Employment

University of California, Berkeley

University of Michigan

Emory University

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

University of Minnesota

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Earl Lewis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis shares his memories of his father, Earl Lewis, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes how his parents met and his father's death

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes the importance of education in his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his maternal grandmother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis describes his maternal grandfather's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about the churches his family attended

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis shares his earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis shares his earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis recalls the diversity of his childhood neighborhood in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis reflects on the opportunities he had as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis describes how his mother took care of him and his brother after their father died

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood responsibilities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis describes his experience attending Crestwood Elementary, Junior High, and High School in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about his experiences of racism at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his experiences of racism at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes integrating the Key Club at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his mother's experience as a teacher at an integrated elementary school in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to attend Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his initial impressions of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the black community at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and why it has diminished

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes his experience studying psychology and history at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes his experience at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about overcoming his ambivalence about an academic career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about his friends and mentors in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis talks about being hired as an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the reception of his doctoral thesis and his book, "In Their Own Interests"

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes what his dissertation taught him about the history of his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes the research methods he used on his dissertation at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis describes the quantitative study of social history at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis describes interviewing at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his mentors at the University of California, Berkeley and publishing his first book

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about his conflict with Henry Lewis Suggs after the publication of his first book

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to leave the University of California, Berkeley for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to leave the University of California, Berkeley for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes the University of Michigan's Center for Afroamerican and African Studies in 1989

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about his experience directing the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about publishing "The Young Oxford History of African Americans"

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his interdisciplinary approach to African American studies

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the work of one of his students, Merida Rua, and how the study of African American history has changed

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about writing his book with Heidi Ardizzone "Love on Trial," pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis talks about writing his book with Heidi Ardizzone "Love on Trial," pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis talks about the response to "Love on Trial"

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the structure of "Love on Trial"

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about his approach to publication

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis talks about balancing his administrative obligations with his teaching, publishing, and family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis talks about his family and divorce from Jayne London

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis describes his role in the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his role in the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the importance of the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about the presidents of the University of Michigan during his tenure

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes becoming Provost of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2004

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as Provost of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the diversity of staff and faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about leaving Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis talks about becoming President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis talks about becoming President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about the financial problems faced by universities

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his plans for promoting diversity and performing arts through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the future of African American studies departments, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about the future of African American studies departments, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis reflects on how race and his childhood affected his first book, "In Their Own Interests"

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes the problems facing African American historians in the academy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about other organizations that fund the arts, sciences, and humanities

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis shares his views on the future of the humanities

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis reflects on his life's journey, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis reflects on his life's journey, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis reflects on his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

9$5

DATitle
Earl Lewis describes his experience at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Earl Lewis describes becoming Provost of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2004
Transcript
And when I got into the University of Minnesota [Minneapolis, Minnesota] right after I finished Concordia [College in Moorhead, Minnesota], so I left Concordia and went right to Minnesota with, to University of Minnesota, with a break in the summer where I worked for Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Company and I designed an attitude survey for the whole company and implemented that attitude survey using my psychology degree. And then a few months later I left there, they hired someone else to do the data analysis and I went to graduate school at the University of Minnesota, initially just to get a masters. I was gonna get a masters. And I got into graduate school and I discovered I still, if, if I have something to work on, it was actually finding my own voice as a writer because I realized undergrad and even early graduate school, you're reading so many different people and you're trying to figure out how to be like one of them. And then Russ [Russell Menard] took me aside one day and he said, "Earl, let me tell you a secret." I said, "Sure Russ." He says, "I started out thinking I was gonna be the next generation Perry Miller and only discovered I couldn't do the work in intellectual colonial history the way Perry Miller did. And then I became an economic historian and it refocused who I was and I was able to find by own voice." He says, "Just think about who you wanna be. Stop thinking about who all these other folks have been, and see if you can't find your own voice." That was actually quite valuable and-- So my second year of graduate school in the masters program I thought, "You know what? I may be able to get a Ph.D." Meanwhile Joe Trotter [Joe William Trotter, Jr.] was ahead of me. So Joe pulled me aside and he says, "Earl," and I said, "What?" He said, "I got a prediction." I go "What's that's, Joe?" He goes, you gone be the next African American to get a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in the History Department. I said, "Well there are people ahead of me." He says, "I know. But you will be." And, and, and I to this day I thank him 'cause it was at that point where he was telling me something that I was just discovering about myself. That yeah, I could do this. And, and so after getting the masters then I talked to the professors and applied to get into the Ph.D. and, and with an understanding and said, "And this is how long I plan to be in graduate school." So I, tell me now if I can, I don't wanna be here more than six total years. I've had enough Minnesota winters. I know exactly how many more I plan. And they all agreed they thought I could move at pace and Joe had been able to do it in five and I figured I could do it in six. He was on full scholarship the whole time and I wasn't. And, and I did. And, and even in, even at the university I ended up discovering that I could do a lot of things in that graduate program and so I ended up my, my major was, area was U.S. History. But I also had a heavy secondary major in African Peoples History. And so I used to always joke with my own doctoral students who would complain about exams, I'd say "Look, I took an eight hour written exam in U.S. History. I took an eight hour written exam in African History. And then I took a two hour oral exam. So that was sixteen hours of writing. And four hours I think, you can survive." And, and, and that was the sense and I remember talking, Allen Isaacman and Lansine Kaba and I said "Why are you guys making me take this eight hour written exam.? I'm not an Africanist. I mean it's not my major area." And they, they said, "because we know you can do it."$So what made you decide to go to Emory [University in Atlanta, Georgia] then? What was that, that decision?$$It was probably driven by three factors. One, several people had come to me several times and said "Earl are you gonna be the next provost of the University of Michigan?" And I said, "I don't know." And my friend and colleague, Paul Courant, had been the acting provost when Joe [B. Joseph White] was the acting president. When Mary Sue [Coleman] came in, there were some who believed then there was gone be a search process for the next president, I mean provost. And Mary Sue decided that she was comfortable with Paul staying in that role. So she lifted the title of "acting" and made him provost. I said "Okay. So my, not gonna happen here at this moment." I get a call from Spencer Stuart's search consulting firm and the search consultant called me and says, "Earl last time we talked was about five years ago, and you said to me call you back in five years when your daughter is about to graduate from high school. By my records your daughter is about to graduate from high school. Would you be interested in thinking about being the provost at Emory?" And I said to her, "Paula (ph.) that is really good. I have dealt with a lot of search consultants but I've never known anyone to maintain a five year tickler file." I said, "You got, at least you got my interest here." And she said, "Well things have changed at Emory." And I said (unclear) 'cause I, I knew a little bit about Emory. And I go, I'm not sure to what the new president and at least consider it. And then several other peoples said to me, "Just think about it Earl." So I went and had a conversation in, with the folks at Emory. I met [James] Jim Wagner, who years older than I am and had grown up in the other place. If I had been a Virginia boy, he's a Maryland boy. And so, and we hit it off. And I thought "Okay. I, maybe I could be provost." So I went back to Michigan and I explained to them, to Mary Sue here's my, here's what I'm thinking. They offered me two more jobs (laughter). They were making me vice president of research and the head of international if I stayed. And I started to laugh. I had, and by that time I had remarried and, Susan [Witlock] and I were married, and I said and, and Susan had lived in Ann Arbor longer than I had and, and, I said "Well I can stay at Michigan and have three jobs and get paid for one, or I can go to Emory and be a provost and have the title that goes with those, in some ways, the elements of those three jobs." And so, and I went back to Mary Sue and just asked a question, a little bit about her view of the tenure of the provost and when that may open up again and whether or not I, help me think about whether or not I'd be better off biding my time at Michigan or going and being a provost in the next few months. And I didn't get the answer I wanted. And, and, and so I left. Now irony of ironies, right, I get to Emory, I'm there a year and I get a call back because Paul's stepping down as provost and, and would I come back and I go, "No." It was a missed moment. I several, board members had thought I was gone be the next provost and several, much of the campus had thought I would have been, it didn't happen, that door is closed. I had made at least a five year commitment to Emory, and I try not to renege on those kind of pledges and promises.$$And so you this, you're coming in as provost is historic--$$Yeah.$$--for Emory.$$It's historic for Emory--$$--because there's no African American provost--$$I was the highest ranked African American in Emory's history, ever period. I mean, and to be honest if you look across the South there probably have only been two African Americans that have been into the level of provost or above, or certainly the level of provost at one of the major southern universities. The other person was Bernadette Gray-Little at Chapel Hill [University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill]. And Bernadette and I were provost about the same time. And, but if you go through the history and, I mean, and truth, I mean sad truth is that right now and among the AAU [Association of American Universities] institutions, the leading research universities in the United States, there are no African American provosts. I mean in sixty-something institutions, there's one fellow who was African-born who I think has become a naturalized citizen who is provost at [University of Illinois] Urbana-Champaign [HM Ilesanmi Adesida], but when I stepped out of this role there is no one. So it's even more than Emory its, there's initial in my view, where the larger complex of American, higher education in particular at the major research universities.

Grant Venerable

Chemist, artist, and author Grant D. Venerable was born on August 31, 1942 in Los Angeles, California. After receiving his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1965, Venerable enrolled at the the University of Chicago and graduated from there with his M.S. degree in physical chemistry in 1967, and Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry in 1970. He completed the research for his doctoral dissertation as a Resident Research Associate in the Radiation Chemistry Section of the Argonne National Laboratory. Upon graduation, he was awarded the United States Atomic Energy Commission Fellowship for postdoctoral studies in radiation biology at UCLA’s Laboratory of Nuclear medicine.

In 1971, Venerable was appointed as a high school chemistry and biology instructor with the Duarte Unified School District. He then taught chemistry at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo from 1972 to 1978, and the University of California, Santa Cruz in Oakes College from 1978 to 1980. During the 1980s, he was as a systems scientist in the Silicon Valley industry. From 1982 to 1989, Venerable served as the executive vice president of Omnitrom Associates while simultaneously serving as a partner in the Coral and Courtland Groups. From 1992 to 1999, he was president and CEO of Ventek Software, Inc. Venerable has also consulted for several other California companies including Banks Brown, Inc.

From 1989 to 1996, he served on the faculty at San Francisco State University in the College of Ethnic Studies where he developed and taught a new field blending history of science and ethnic studies. Venerable was also integral to the development of the “Step To College.” In addition, Venerable served at Chicago State University as the Associate Provost and as a professor of chemistry and African American studies (1996-1999), at Morris Brown College as the Dean of Faculty, interim Dean of the College, Provost, and professor-at-large of science and civilization (1999-2002), as chair of the Council of Chief Academic Officers for the Atlanta University Center (1999-2002), and as the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs (2010-2011) and the Vice President for Academic Affairs (2002-2010) at Lincoln University (Pennsylvania). He held adjunct teaching appointments at the California Institute of Integral Studies in the MBA degree program in information and technology, and in the chemistry departments of Laney College of Oakland and California State University, Los Angeles.

His publications include six books, forty commissioned oil paintings on molecular structure, dozens of academic articles and editorials in such places as the San Francisco Examiner and the Wall Street Journal. Venerable’s honors and awards include the National Educational Leadership Award from the JGT Foundation, the Step To College Distinguished Teaching Award from San Francisco State University, the California Alliance for Arts Education Outstanding Achievement Award, and the Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity Molecular Art Appreciation Award, and the Distinguished Teaching Award of Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo.

Grant D. Venerable, II was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 9, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/9/2013

Last Name

Venerable

Middle Name

D

Schools

James A. Foshay Learning Center

University of California, Los Angeles

University of Chicago

First Name

Grant

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

VEN02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

California

Favorite Quote

To Everything, There Is A Season.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/31/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Stir Fry Vegetables, Rice, Salads

Short Description

Chemist and academic administrator Grant Venerable (1942 - ) taught chemistry and cultural studies in California universities, worked in Silicon Valley industry, and served as senior academic officer and as professor-at-large of science, technology, and civilization higher education institutions in Illinois, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

Employment

Argonne National Laboratory

United States Department of Energy

University of California, Irvine

Omnitron Associates

Coral Group and Courtland Group

Step To College/ASCEND

San Francisco State University

Ventek Software, Inc.

California Institute of Integral Studies

Morris Brown College

Lincoln University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Grant Venerable's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable describes his maternal family's migration to Kansas and later to California

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about his mother's life in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about his mother's education and employment in Los Angeles, California, and the Sugar Hill neighborhood in Los Angeles

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable describes his father's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Grant Venerable describes his father's family background - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable discusses his paternal family's cultural lineage, and the name "Venerable"

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about his father's education in Kansas City, Missouri and San Bernardino, California

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his father's experience attending college in California - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable describes his father's experience attending college in California - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable describes his father's trip to Chicago to meet chemist, Lloyd Hall

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable describes how his parents met and married in the late 1930s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable talks about his father's career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about his siblings, his mother's death, his step-mother, Ida Walls Lee, and his paternal aunt, Neosho Venerable Tatum

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about the neighborhood where he grew up in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about attending Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable describes his experience in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Grant Venerable talks about learning music, his interest in painting, and his lack of race consciousness as a young boy

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable reflects upon the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, and its influence on his racial consciousness - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable reflects upon the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, and its influence on his racial consciousness - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his early interest in science

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about his scientific curiosity in high school and college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable describes his experience in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about his teachers in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable talks about his leadership roles in high school and his relationship with James S. Cantlan at Pacific Telephone

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable talks about his experience as a senior in high school, and about applying for college

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about his mentors at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable talks about his mentors at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable describes how he created oil paintings based on chemical molecules

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about hearing prominent political and cultural figures speak at UCLA and in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable talks about meeting historian, John Hope Franklin, at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Grant Venerable reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement and the socio-political climate in the United States in the 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable describes his decision to pursue graduate studies at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about the African American scientists who graduated from the chemistry department at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable describes his experience as a graduate student at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about organic, inorganic and physical chemistry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about his master's degree advisor, Mark Inghram, at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable describes his doctoral dissertation research at Argonne National Laboratory

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Grant Venerable describes his doctoral dissertation research and its implications

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Grant Venerable talks about the Manhattan Project

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Grant Venerable talks about his postdoctoral work at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Grant Venerable talks about his involvement in the Black Students Alliance at the University of Chicago in the 1960s

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Grant Venerable talks about his experience looking for university faculty positions in 1971

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Grant Venerable describes his experience at Duarte High School and his recruitment to California Polytechnic State University

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$7

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Grant Venerable describes his early interest in science
Grant Venerable talks about his involvement in the Black Students Alliance at the University of Chicago in the 1960s
Transcript
Now, you were also drawn to science, of course, and were you--is there a place in your elementary school experience where you really focused in on science or did it occur at home?$$It started right at home. It started with my becoming nearsighted at the age of seven. This 'Book of Knowledge' collection--there were about twenty volumes of the 'Book of Knowledge' sitting in my parents' [Thelma Lorraine Scott Venerable and Grant Venerable] bookcases flanking this big fireplace in the living room; other volumes of literature, which they purposely placed there for their children's curiosity, to lead them there. And once I got hold of the 'Book of Knowledge' around age five--I really learned to read from Grandmother Venerable, who would just drill us, just read to us. Parents would read to us, and then I would learn to read; all of us learned to read. Then it was accelerated in school. We had out loud reading sessions in school. But, anyway, I could pick up and read anything that was drawing my attention, whether it was how the food is processed in the body and goes in the throat to the stomach, passes through the colon to how does the moon go through eclipses? And I would get so excited with what I would learn, I would further ask my father [Grant Venerable] for further clarification. And he was full of ways of demonstrating things. He could demonstrate the eclipse. We had a little globe, a model globe, and he would have a light bulb and a lamp without the shade, and he would have a little baseball that would be the moon, and show how this baseball would cast a shadow on this little globe from the light. I got so excited by things like that. I would have to share it now. Here's where the teaching instincts start to come out. I'd go up to the fifth grade and tell my teacher, "Can I show the class how an eclipse works?" That was the only male teacher I had in elementary, but he was also focused on science. And he said, "Sure." So that's how he encouraged--you can imagine it if he had said, "Oh, well, not today." No, he said, "Sure. Can you do it tomorrow?" And so I brought a little--a little duffle bag with all these things in it and showed the class. So when we reached geography of California, and we were making a papier-mache topographic map of California showing the mountains, the bays, the coastline, and I said, "The mountains are not high enough. The coastal mountains are lower than the Sierras." And I--so I was the one who oversaw the correction of the mountains' heights because I was keyed into that. Maybe that happened in the fourth grade--I don't know. But that's really what got it started.$You realize, again, you acknowledge this was the 1960s of turmoil. And I had done some innocent things that did not look innocent to certain people. In applying for my Argonne [National] Laboratory [near Chicago, Illinois] Fellowship and my AEC Fellowship, there's questions on race, which they've always been. And there was a box to check for "Negro," and I averted it and went--and then there's a box for "Other," and I wrote "Black" and checked that. And I dare say I was probably investigated as a possibly risky black radical, because nobody used black then other than the Black Panthers [black revolutionary socialist organization active in the United States from 1966 until 1982].$$In those days, now, these are the days in Chicago [Illinois]--$$This is 1967.$$Yeah. '67 [1967], '68 [1968], '69 [1969]. These are the days you had a Black Panther Party in Chicago. You had the Communiversity going on at the (unclear) studies, a lot of--$$So I realize--and then I was also the convener of the Black Students Alliance on the campus; all made me eligible for FBI [Federal Bureau of Intelligence] surveillance. And so I know there's video footage of me in the university archives, because one of the professors told me he had watched some of it after he had met me. Yeah, I was a figure to keep track of on the campus, but they also found me quite clean, as they say in those days, so.$$Yeah. So this is also the time when Dr. [Martin Luther] King--you were working on your Ph.D. when Dr. King's assassinated.$$Yes, I was.$$Though, the Chicago riots took place on the West Side (simultaneous)--$$I was.$$There was--$$Yeah. Half of the Black Students Alliance took over my apartment with my three other roommates, one of whom was a black Panamanian from Brooklyn [New York]; the other two were white upper middle class from America. So that was quite an interesting experience we all had, 'cause these students--I was their convener there, like, their chairman, and they were mainly undergraduates. There was a woman there--have you heard of Leath Mullings (ph.)? Yeah. Leaf was in that group. She was one of the undergrads there then. Roscoe Giles [also a HistoryMaker] was there. Roscoe was--he was an undergrad in physics, then, who went on to MIT [Massachusetts Institute fo Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts]. But these were some of the smartest kids--$$Yeah. Leath Mulligan--$$--you've ever saw in your life. They were in the first large group of black students admitted by the University of Chicago as a prestige Ivy League caliber institution. Sharp as a tack. And they're the ones that felt they wanted me to be the convener of the alliance as a buffer between them and the black graduate students, most of whom were in sociology and political science, who had two different agendas. The undergrads had a more practical, immediate agenda; was like in the--when the West Side went up in flames after the King assassination, they wanted to be free to get out there to take food and clothing to people. The black graduate students were more interested in theorizing about the coming revolution, the black revolutions. The undergrads weren't interested particularly because it was too abstract for them. The university actually curfewed all the students in the dorms where a lot of the undergrads lived. So that's why the thirty to forty undergrads deposited themselves at my apartment so they would not be hemmed in, and they could have access to things they felt they needed to do. So that was an interesting moment. They disappeared. The administration didn't know where they were. If you were a president of a college and you could not account to the parents of your students where they were, that's a difficult situation. So it took me and one of my chemistry professors to be able to establish a communication with the administration so that they were assured that all was well, and then all was well. Edward Levi was president then. Do you remember who he was? Well, he was also--had been dean of the law school, a very careful legal thinker, but he was [President] Gerald Ford's--President Ford's Attorney General. He handled student--shall we say, uprising in a whole different way than Governor [Ronald] Regan did in California. So when the students took over the administration building at Chicago, Levi simply moved out to another building and said, let him know when you're done, but just stay as long as you want to (laughs). So they eventually came out on their own. California--Regan's technique was "Teargas them." And it just radicalized all the students on the--well, a lot of the students everywhere in the system. So, it was two different administrative approaches that also affected me (laughs), my development.$$Okay. So, this is--so you were involved in a lot of political activity during the time you were doing intense research as well.$$Very deeply, but not as aware of them as I am now in hindsight.$$Okay.$$I said, "Geez, you were lucky you got your Ph.D."

Vernon Morris

Atmospheric scientist Vernon R. Morris Vernon was born on [month day, year?] in [city, state?]. Morris graduated from Morehouse College in 1985 with his B.A. degree in chemistry and mathematics. Following graduation, he enrolled at Georgia Institute of Technology. Morris received the Regent’s Scholarship and the NASA Graduate Student Research Fellowship to pursue his theoretical and experimental studies of inorganic peroxides in the Earth’s stratosphere. After graduating with his Ph.D. degree in earth and atmospheric sciences from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1991, Morris was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship where he worked on the chemical dynamics of free radical systems important in comets and the interstellar medium.

Morris served as a part-time instructor at Spelman College while striding for his Ph.D. degree. Later, he joined Howard University’s Chemistry Department as an assistant professor. In 1996, he became the deputy director of the Howard University Center for the Study of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Atmospheres (CSTEA). From 2001 to 2004, Morris served as the director of the Howard University Graduate Program in Atmospheric Sciences (HUPAS) and was instrumental in developing atmospheric sciences as a major focus of the university’s research portfolio. Morris was then named director of the Howard University Component of the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center. Morris also served as director of the NOAA Center in Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) as well as the co-director of the Laboratory for Molecular Computations and Bioinformatics at the National Institutes of Health Research Center for Minority Institutions. He was a visiting scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch and served briefly as chair of the chemistry department at Howard University.

Morris is a member of several scientific boards and professional organizations. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) and the Advisory Board of the Benjamin Banneker Institute for Science and Technology. Morris is also a member of the American Meteorological Society, the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, the American Geophysical Union, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Advanced Study Institute.

His combined concentration on academic research and focus on atmospheric sciences has garnered for him recognition from professional and academic associations. Morris is a recipient of the University Merit Award, the Howard University Faculty Merit Award and Howard University’s Most Productive Faculty Researcher in Natural Sciences award. Morris received the prestigious NSF Career Award from the Geosciences Directorate for his research on the photochemistry of carbonaceous aerosols.

Vernon R. Morris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 29, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.083

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/29/2013

Last Name

Morris

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Schools

Morehouse College

Georgia Institute of Technology

NATO Advanced Study Institute

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Vernon

Birth City, State, Country

San Antonio

HM ID

MOR13

Favorite Season

None

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/23/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Atmospheric scientist Vernon Morris (1963 - ) is the director of the Howard University Component of the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center, director of the NOAA Center in Atmospheric Sciences, and co-director of the Laboratory for Molecular Computations and Bioinformatics at the National Institutes of Health Research Center for Minority Institutions.

Employment

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

University of California

Howard University

Center for the Study Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Atmospheres

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center

NOAA Center in Atmospheric Sciences

National Institute of Health (NIH) Research Center for Minority Institutions

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:490,6:4214,127:7056,202:7546,208:8526,224:9604,237:15952,288:16979,311:21166,458:32138,570:32410,575:33022,587:33566,597:37260,642:38470,656:38910,661:47858,778:48596,785:49744,806:50072,811:51384,828:52286,841:53516,867:56350,878:68260,1029:78519,1144:82371,1164:83504,1189:90248,1274:91968,1311:95484,1342:95946,1351:99230,1380:100010,1405:100465,1413:102415,1452:102675,1457:103000,1463:105610,1477:106050,1483:116416,1591:116800,1596:117568,1604:121440,1620:122952,1650:123384,1657:124608,1689:132481,1794:141390,1961:141750,1967:151970,2171:153038,2190:155886,2223:156420,2230:156776,2235:168140,2363:169190,2375:173040,2397:173661,2407:175179,2438:188716,2605:189540,2614:190570,2627:197710,2663:200080,2675:200850,2687:201550,2699:202530,2776:217389,3067:219759,3105:220075,3111:247557,3455:267840,3614:268290,3620:269010,3633:269640,3642:273139,3670:273991,3682:274275,3687:274843,3698:275624,3715:275908,3722:277186,3748:277754,3758:280901,3768:287644,3831:288828,3847:289124,3852:291122,3908:302906,4054:303686,4069:308600,4150:315030,4226$0,0:2214,33:4230,61:4734,69:5526,88:15310,234:21660,424:24220,465:27340,511:28140,523:29020,542:30220,560:33796,596:34204,605:34612,615:34969,623:38686,685:39342,695:41638,737:41966,742:42294,747:42622,752:43114,760:44016,777:44426,783:48362,897:57397,979:59666,1006:60050,1016:60242,1021:66358,1053:66826,1060:67684,1077:69910,1098:71076,1113:71818,1125:74040,1156:81956,1245:82940,1258:83596,1267:84826,1284:92047,1392:92371,1397:92776,1403:93181,1410:93586,1417:94153,1425:94801,1444:95287,1451:95611,1458:98851,1507:100066,1527:104064,1551:106416,1596:106836,1603:107508,1628:114654,1737:115046,1742:130980,1945:131488,1982:134765,2009:135733,2018:145100,2096:146300,2136:147560,2166:148160,2177:148400,2182:150865,2190:151157,2195:151668,2211:154077,2308:157581,2348:161544,2362:162164,2373:162412,2378:163814,2388:164507,2399:165431,2415:166432,2430:172260,2508:172592,2513:173173,2521:173754,2530:174750,2545:175331,2554:175663,2559:178226,2578:178698,2583:181049,2627:181317,2632:181786,2640:182054,2646:183193,2670:183662,2678:185136,2708:188686,2730:189178,2738:190326,2756:191310,2775:192212,2788:192786,2797:193114,2802:202284,2869:202776,2876:205890,2894:206502,2904:207250,2918:207794,2927:210718,2996:210990,3001:211262,3006:211942,3017:212622,3030:214730,3085:215274,3101:215614,3107:216566,3130:217314,3149:217722,3169:217994,3174:224980,3246:227868,3311:228172,3316:237900,3494:238550,3507:238810,3512:241470,3529:245952,3577:247488,3599:248256,3610:249312,3622:250176,3636:254680,3678:255517,3690:255982,3696:256447,3702:256819,3707:257284,3714:258679,3736:267035,3820:267580,3826:268016,3833:268452,3838:279574,3884:280384,3894:281275,3906:281599,3911:282571,3925:283543,3940:285325,3967:285811,3975:286783,3990:287917,4008:293310,4040:293990,4052:294534,4061:295078,4071:296030,4093:296982,4110:297458,4118:298206,4132:298682,4141:299226,4153:304711,4204:311221,4245:311569,4250:312787,4261:313222,4268:314005,4279:314788,4290:315832,4307:317920,4339:338460,4557:338820,4562:339990,4572:340350,4577:340890,4585:341790,4596:343320,4622:350750,4686:352290,4711:353900,4736:354530,4748:355090,4757:355650,4766:355930,4771:356420,4780:357050,4791:357820,4803:360300,4814:363700,4839:364652,4848:370340,4876
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vernon Morris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vernon Morris lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vernon Morris describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vernon Morris talks about his maternal great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vernon Morris talks about his maternal grandmother, and his mother's growing up in Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vernon Morris describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vernon Morris talks about his father's growing up in Arkansas City, Kansas, and his career in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vernon Morris talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vernon Morris talks about his likeness to his father, and lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vernon Morris talks about his mother's personality and her career as an educator

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Vernon Morris describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Vernon Morris talks about his family's frequent relocations while his father was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Vernon Morris describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vernon Morris describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vernon Morris talks about going to school in Japan

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vernon Morris talks about continuing his schooling in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vernon Morris talks about attending school in Spokane, Washington, and going to Expo 74, The Spokane World's Fair

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vernon Morris talks about his interest in the outdoors, and his middle school science project

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vernon Morris talks about his interest in TV shows and books about exploration

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vernon Morris talks about his experience in the Cub Scouts and his interest in tinkering with gadgets

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vernon Morris talks about his experience in school in Washington State

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Vernon Morris talks about the African American community in Spokane, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Vernon Morris talks his interest in reading, stamp collecting, music, and in electronics and programming

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vernon Morris talks about his interest in space exploration and airplanes

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vernon Morris talks about his involvement in sports in high school and being a member of the choir at Bethel AME Church in Spokane, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vernon Morris talks about his academics and social life in high school in Spokane, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vernon Morris talks about his father and a the network of African American college students who influenced him to go to college - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vernon Morris talks about his father and a the network of African American college students who influenced him to go to college - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vernon Morris talks about his academics in high school and graduating from high school in 1981

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vernon Morris talks about taking the bus from Spokane, Washington to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vernon Morris describes his first encounter with chemistry professor, Henry McBay, and his experience in his classroom

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vernon Morris talks about his professors at Morehouse College and his formative education there - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vernon Morris talks about his professors at Morehouse College and his formative education there - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vernon Morris describes his social and extracurricular activities at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vernon Morris describes his involvement with the Frederick Douglass Tutorial Institute while at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vernon Morris talks about his experience in Henry McBay's chemistry classes at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vernon Morris talks about his experience as a student in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vernon Morris describes his experience as an undergraduate researcher with HistoryMaker, John Hall, Jr., at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vernon Morris describes his undergraduate work on matrix isolation of short-lived chemical intermediates that influence atmospheric chemistry

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vernon Morris talks about the technological advancements in computers and lasers in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vernon Morris describes his decision to pursue his doctoral studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vernon Morris describes his experience as a doctoral student at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Vernon Morris describes his Ph.D. dissertation on the investigation of short-lived organic compounds of stratospheric significance

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Vernon Morris describes the chemical destruction of the ozone layer, and the implications of the depletion of the ozone layer

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Vernon Morris shares his perspectives on global warming and its implications

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Vernon Morris reflects upon being the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in geophysical sciences at Georgia Tech

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Vernon Morris describes his note-taking strategies as a graduate student at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Vernon Morris talks about those that influenced his scientific career

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Vernon Morris talks about graduating from Georgia Tech, and his postdoctoral experience at the NATO Advanced Study Institute in Italy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Vernon Morris describes his experience as a postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Vernon Morris describes his experience as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Vernon Morris talks about joining the faculty at Howard University in 1994

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Vernon Morris talks about the establishment of the Howard University Program in Atmospheric Sciences (HUPAS)

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Vernon Morris talks about his early days as a faculty member at Howard University's department of chemistry

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Vernon Morris talks about receiving the National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award in 1997

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Vernon Morris talks about his experience with the NASA Center for the Study of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Atmospheres and HUPAS

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Vernon Morris talks about his experience at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Vernon Morris talks about competing for a NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences position at Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Vernon Morris describes his work with the AEROSE (Aerosol and Oceanographic Science Expeditions) project - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Vernon Morris describes his work with the AEROSE (Aerosol and Oceanographic Science Expeditions) project - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Vernon Morris describes the findings from the AEROSE project, and using the data to study the throughput of biological mass between continents

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Vernon Morris talks about student participation on the AEROSE cruises, and the land-based measurement sites in Africa

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Vernon Morris talks about the parallels between the AEROSE expeditions and historic passages along the same route

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Vernon Morris talks about the NOAA Center in Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) Weather Camp

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Vernon Morris reflects upon improving the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences' visibility on Howard University's campus

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Vernon Morris talks about collaborating with the Department of African Studies at Howard University on NCAS's work in Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Vernon Morris talks about his career goals for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Vernon Morris discusses the Howard University NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences' work in Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Vernon Morris reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Vernon Morris describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Vernon Morris talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Vernon Morris talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Vernon Morris talks about his professors at Morehouse College and his formative education there - part one
Vernon Morris talks about his experience with the NASA Center for the Study of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Atmospheres and HUPAS
Transcript
So we were just talking about Henry McBay [chemist and teacher at Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia] and his--$$Yeah.$$--the legend of Henry McBay--$$Yeah.$$--amongst all the black chemists.$$Yeah, I think he's definitely influenced a generation of African American chemists, certainly through Morehouse, but also through Clark Atlanta [University, Atlanta, Georgia]. And I wouldn't have made it in chemistry and math had it hadn't been for him. I would have been on a completely different track, there's no doubt. I used to go to him, I went to him throughout the four years I was there. I never did research with him. I actually did research with John Hall, Jr. [chemist; also a HistoryMaker], and really it was those two guys who--you know, that department changed my course significantly.$$Now, what made Henry McBay special, you know? You talk about his ability to deliver all this information--$$Oh yeah.$$--but what actually made him special?$$You can tell he loved what he was doing. I mean there's the, the joy that he had in figuring out a chemistry problem, or relaying knowledge was just, it was tangible. And for me, not having particularly influential teachers--or teachers who could hold my attention, to sit in a lecture--and you know, my mouth is open the whole time. And I'm seeing things that I never saw in the same way before. And then, you could talk to him. He was the easiest person, ever, to talk to. I mean, and talk about anything, you know, from girls to, you know, mathematical organic chemistry. And you know, that's, you know, you need a person like that, I think at an age where you can be influenced. You're looking for guidance, you know, which way should I go? And I was like, you know, that's a guy I'd like to, you know--he's relaxed, he's comfortable, he's doing what he loves. And that's a job I'd like to do. And I saw a similar thing in John Hall. I mean, he really did the things, he appeared to be doing things the way he wanted to do them, on his terms. He had a joint appointment between Morehouse and Georgia Tech [Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia] at the time, you know. Dr. McBay was known all over the world. And he said, okay, I can master this area. And I love math, and chemistry is okay, I can deal with chemistry. And the physics department there--Carlisle Moore was another big influence of mine, an extremely difficult professor. Very few people got As. Henry Gore was my math professor. So I was really fortunate to go to Morehouse at that time, when you really had these sort of giants of education in physical sciences and mathematics. Just some outstanding people, and outstanding teachers as well. They really knew the material, but they really knew how to convey the material and challenge you. There was no, no slacking off in those classes.$$Now, was Benjamin Mays [minister, educator, scholar, social activist; president of Morehouse College from 1940 to 1967; mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King] president at that time?$$Now, Bennie Mays was not. He had retired, maybe a year or two before I left, because I went to his memorial service while I was Morehouse. Gloster, Hugh Gloster, was the president.$$Okay.$$And then Gloster left, and it was, I forgot his name. It'll come to me. But it was Hugh Gloster, it wasn't--$$Was it a Luther White, not Luther White--$$No, it was, he was a businessman, a business background.$$Well, don't worry about it. We'll just--$$Yeah, it'll come to me.$$Okay.$$But yeah, I believe I was fortunate. You know, J.K. Haynes [biologist; also a HistoryMaker], J.K. is still there. I go back and visit. You know, Morehouse replaced my high school, in terms of a place that I would go back to and say, that's my formative development. You know, Dr. Gore left, Henry Gore left. But I think Dr. Moore just retired, but I go back and visit Dr. Moore, who was the chairman. I majored in chemistry and math, minored in physics. So once I got started there, you know, it was a great set of guys I was studying with, and just fantastic and motivating teachers.$$Okay.$$So, if I could have triple majored in four years, I'd have done that. You know, I loved the courses I was taking.$Okay, so how was your time spent basically, proportionately, between teaching and doing research and administration [at Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia]?$$It was probably equally split. Administration wise, I had responsibilities in the NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] Center [Center for the Study of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Atmospheres] as deputy director. And so, I was responsible for the day to day work--the reporting, you know, development of strategic mission and goals and business spokesman for the center. And I also ran some of the outreach programs, writing proposals to help supplement some of our other programs. And early on, teaching. The teaching load was probably more than most people, because I had to teach both in chemistry--in order to earn tenure in that department--but I also had to teach in atmospheric sciences so that we could spin up that program. And then research, you just have to do. You have to, you gotta publish papers to stay solvent. And so it was, it was really taxing. But the early, you know, the first probably five or six years was a lot of nose to the grindstone. But, you know, looks like it's paid off.$$Okay, alright. Alright. So, the program, the graduate program actually starts up in '98 [1998]?$$Right, '98 [1998], it got approved by the Board of Trustees.$$Okay.$$So, that was four years which, again, looking back, it's kind of record time. It's the only inter-disciplinary degree granting program here at the university. And we put together and had it approved within the four years, which is actually pretty remarkable.$$Now, how big was your staff, I mean in terms of your, I mean the faculty of the department?$$At that time?$$Yeah.$$We probably had in '94 [1994], I think, I mean '98 [1998], was we probably had three people--(simultaneous)$$(simultaneous)$$--three or four people. It's Sonya [Smith], Everette [Joseph], Greg [Jenkins, also a HistoryMaker], myself.$$Okay, four.$$Yep, three or four.$$Alright.$$And, and that's when we spun up, yeah.$$Okay. Now--$$But we also had, so we had a good relationship with NASA. So we had adjunct professors from NASA at that time. We had a couple of adjunct professors from NASA, probably two. I think it was Rich and Walls. Actually Rich, Walls and Dean Duffy. So, it was three adjunct professors from NASA. It turned out that one of the professors who taught me at Georgia Tech [Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia] left Georgia Tech and became the lab chief at NASA Goddard. In fact, NASA Goddard [Maryland] recruited pretty heavily from Georgia Tech, because the atmospheric science program there had pretty high prestige, and did the type of modeling and data assimilation, data integration, that was very germane to NASA's earth science program. So, it was, we had a per chance meeting. I had a technical review of the research center at NASA that called over to Goddard. And so we're sitting at this long conference table in his office. He's sitting at one end and I sit down at the other end. And we're talking, and I see him looking at me, you know, kind of, do I know this guy? But I didn't say anything until the end of the meeting and I walked up and I said, "You know, you taught me fluid dynamics in grad school." And he was like, "I knew I knew who you are." (laughter). Franco Einaudi, who was probably one of my favorite professors there. Actually, even though he's not, didn't teach in the area that I performed research in or emphasis, but Franco was the lab chief for the lab of, used to be atmospheric chemistry and dynamics at Goddard. And we sat down and talked, and after that, he's been a huge supporter of our program here.$$How do you spell his last name? It's Franco--$$Franco, F-R-A-N-C-O, first name. Last name, E-I-N-A-U-D-I.$$Okay.$$And you know, he basically allowed for NASA scientists to become adjunct professors. He encouraged them to become adjunct professors in our program. You know, allowed our faculty and students access to facilities there. My first lab, I had trouble finding a lab space on campus. My first lab was at NASA Goddard. He provided me lab space to do experiments over there. So, he's definitely been a mentor and friend and colleague. He's retired now, but we're still in touch.$$Okay. So, Howard has this ongoing partnership with NASA Goddard-$$Yeah.$$And now what is, now is this in Beltsville [Maryland], or--$$No, Beltsville is different. So the Beltsville facility is in--Howard has some land, had some land in Beltsville since the '60s [1960s] or late '60s [1960s], early '70s [1970s]. And basically we saw an opportunity out there to develop an observational facility, a research facility that would be focused on atmospheric sciences. Because I left Howard to work for NASA in 19--, in about 1998.

George Philander

Professor and atmospheric scientist S. George Philander was born on August 25, 1942 in Calendon, Republic of South Africa. His father was the noted Afrikaans poet and the headmaster of the Belgravia High School in Athlone. Philander received his B.S. degree in applied mathematics and physics from the University of Cape Town in 1962. When apartheid laws were sanctioned in South Africa, his family decided to move to New York City. He went on to attend Harvard University and graduated in 1980 with his Ph.D. degree in applied mathematics.

Following graduation, Philander was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the department of meteorology. He then became a research associate in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Program at Princeton University, and was promoted in 1978 to senior research oceanographer of the program. Philander held the position for eleven years until he was appointed as a full professor of geosciences and director of the program in atmospheric and oceanic studies at Princeton University in 1990. He served as chair of the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University from 1994 to 2001 and was then named the Knox Taylor Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University in 2005. Throughout his career, Philander has served as a consultant to the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and as a visiting professor at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France. His research on oceanic and meteorological changes have resulted in the publication of over one hundred academic papers, nine chapters in books, and three books on such topics as El Niño, the Southern Oscillation, and global warming. In 2007, he finally returned to South Africa and joined the University of Cape Town as a research professor.

Philander was elected as a Fellow into the American Meteorological Society in 1986, the American Geophysical Union in 1991, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2004. The University of Cape Town bestowed upon Philander an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree in 2007.

S. George Philander was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 8, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.064

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/8/2013

Last Name

Philander

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

University of Cape Town

Harvard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

Calendon

HM ID

PHI04

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southwestern United States

Favorite Quote

Why Not?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

8/25/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Princeton

Country

South Africa

Favorite Food

French Food

Short Description

Atmospheric scientist George Philander (1942 - ) , former Knox Taylor Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University, is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Princeton University

World Meteorological Society

NOAA

Museum National d'Histoire

California Institute of Technology

University of Cape Town

African Centre for Climate and Earth System Science (ACCESS)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
525,0:1120,9:2905,30:4520,58:5880,91:6985,103:7750,113:12301,145:13225,157:13841,167:14688,181:19100,248:22108,324:22672,332:27950,407:31560,479:32320,485:33365,500:44248,634:44840,643:45210,649:46172,671:49206,723:56950,841:57310,849:59890,906:60130,911:68468,1028:68836,1033:71788,1055:72100,1060:72412,1065:73582,1091:77170,1157:80290,1206:80602,1224:87667,1286:88052,1292:101275,1425:111791,1601:112136,1607:119943,1717:122996,1797:133208,1943:135818,1991:153307,2222:158815,2313:160111,2336:165688,2375:166272,2384:177990,2525:178473,2534:192130,2669:192900,2680:194363,2695:194748,2701:198444,2775:201678,2845:202217,2853:202910,2865:207224,2892:208706,2929:209105,2937:209846,2957:210245,2965:210701,2976:213300,2990:214660,3022:215136,3030:218444,3076:219302,3091:221348,3137:228539,3224:228931,3234:231990,3290:232350,3297:235510,3333:235770,3338:236160,3346:244640,3476:253392,3612:253697,3618:260922,3733:261182,3739:264156,3772:264461,3778:264827,3786:265193,3794:265437,3799:276105,3913:276445,3918:277125,3938:277465,3943:277975,3969:281885,4039:290052,4128:292180,4178$0,0:3242,55:6462,123:6922,129:9444,141:9752,146:10214,153:10984,170:11523,179:12139,194:12678,202:26787,386:40168,575:42440,581:42712,586:44004,610:45160,680:46656,702:46928,707:47404,730:49240,756:49512,761:49852,768:50600,777:51688,804:52368,815:59401,871:61564,911:70854,974:72942,1043:76565,1088:88078,1216:95580,1282:95970,1289:97785,1303:99259,1328:101001,1366:106428,1462:107165,1474:111370,1498:117940,1602:119060,1620:120260,1646:125740,1756:127070,1781:128050,1807:129030,1834:141810,2001:147438,2022:148054,2031:149110,2046:161571,2176:162093,2183:163920,2230:167855,2318:193365,2628:193745,2633:194930,2642
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of George Philander's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - George Philander lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - George Philander describes his mother's family background, her growing up, and her education

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - George Philander describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - George Philander talks about his father's experience as a teacher in South Africa and his interest in poetry

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - George Philander talks about the ethnic groups in South Africa and historical background of South Africa's race relations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - George Philander talks about his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - George Philander talks about the institution of Apartheid in South Africa

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - George Philander talks about his brothers, South Africa's education system, and his father's appreciation of America

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - George Philander talks about his family, reflects on graduating high school, and describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - George Philander talks about leaving South Africa and his father's reaction, and his appreciation for Afrikaans

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - George Philander talks about recently being contacted by one of his peers from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - George Philander talks about his academic performance in high school, his teachers, his attitude towards the future, and his preparation for college

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - George Philander talks about the quality of his high school education and his science courses

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - George Philander talks about his appreciation of Beethoven and Bach and his music teacher's influence

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - George Philander talks about his decision to attend the University of Cape Town in South Africa

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - George Philander talks about his studies at the University of Cape Town

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - George Philander talks about his impression of the U.S. higher education system and his decision to study there

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - George Philander talks about his experience living under Apartheid in South Africa

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - George Philander talks about the University of Cape Town's reputation as the "Moscow on the Hill"

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - George Philander talks about his reaction to Apartheid ending and Nelson Mandela's peaceful political methods

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - George Philander talks about his experience at Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - George Philander talks about Harvard's reputation and his affinity towards Indian people

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - George Philander talks about the importance of encouraging self-confidence in students and the limitations of the South African education system

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - George Philander talks about the declining appreciation of science in the U.S.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - George Philander talks about his introduction to applied mathematics and his welcoming acceptance into the scientific community

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - George Philander talks about the field of atmospheric science

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - George Philander talks about the equator and people's fascination with it

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - George Philander talks about the issues with communicating science to the public

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - George Philander talks about fluid dynamics and the equatorial undercurrent

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - George Philander talks about his experience as a post-doctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technoogy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - George Philander talks about John von Neumann and his contributions to weather forecasting and computer science

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - George Philander talks about how he received his job opportunities and his research

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - George Philander talks about meeting his wife and his experience living in England

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - George Philander explains El Nino and La Nina and their role in climate patterns

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - George Philander talks about Warren Washington and the progress of weather prediction

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - George Philander talks about Nelson Mandela, science development in South Africa, and the themes in the movie, "Invictus"

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - George Philander talks about the political discourse regarding global warming

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - George Philander talks about why he named his article 'Where are you from? Why are you here? An African Perspective on Global Warming'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - George Philander talks about the geography of Cape Town, South Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - George Philander talks about science's limitations and natural phenomena

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - George Philander talks about why he became a scientist

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - George Philander talks about his educational outreach efforts in South Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - George Philander reflects on his legacy and life choices

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - George Philander talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - George Philander talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - George Philander talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - George Philander describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$1

DAStory

2$6

DATitle
George Philander talks about the geography of Cape Town, South Africa
George Philander talks about the ethnic groups in South Africa and historical background of South Africa's race relations
Transcript
What are some of the--just as somebody in the atmospheric science of, what are some of the problems in Africa in terms of the--well, I know I've always read about the spread of the desert, you know, and knew that Sahara was a place you could graze animals shortly before--(simultaneous)--$$(Unclear)--$$--the, you know, the time of Christ or whatever, you know.$$Ten thousand years ago.$$Yeah, yeah, and so what are the dynamics of that--(unclear), (simultaneous)--$$Yeah, it's, it's, again, an open question. We don't actually have answers. Cape Town [South Africa], well, one of the things I did when I was there is try to make the students aware that (unclear) a very unusual place. And the evidence for Cape Town being unusual is actually quite straightforward. The plants in the world, all the plants are divided into six kingdoms. And some of them are big, the Boreal Forest is one. And it stretches from North America to Europe and there're a few others. There're only six. One of those six is in Cape Town. So there's a most peculiar set of plans that have evolved there. And so the question is, why is Cape Town--so you need many micro-climates to accommodate this great diversity of species. Why does this, why is this place favored with all this diversity? And the answer is quite fascinating. If you take Miami [Florida], which is humid, wet, lots of rain. It's next to a warm ocean. It's perfectly flat, and you take Los Angeles [California], which is arid, it has mountains. It's next to a very cold ocean. Now, suppose through plate tectonics you would deform the continent and you put Miami next to Los Angeles. The result would be Cape Town. So Cape Town's the only city with a warm beach and a cold beach. The Atlantic side is cold and it has a mountain in the middle, depending which way the wind blows, one side of the mountain is arid. The other side is, has forests. You have enormous diversity of climatic zones.$$Is it because it's right there at the tip of Africa?$$Exactly, so, and it's--so, for example, you could say Peru and Brazil are similarly different. But you'd have to have cut up the continent and put, put Peru next to Brazil to get the same the same. So it's, and then you have to go back in time. So how long has this been the case and how did the spot evolve? It becomes a fascinating scientific study. And so it, there's all sorts of problems unique to that place. And then if you go South from there to Antarctica, it's basically, almost unexplored ocean. And most of the CO2 we put into the atmosphere, goes into that ocean, the plants there. So there's lots of opportunities for scientific research there. And the, you can't divorce it from the past, going back thousands of years. Earlier, you asked about Milankovitch cycles. So climate, as we've had ice ages, we have climate. All of that suddenly becomes part of the story, and what I told the students, they're not only in a very special place, they're in a special place at a special time, that the present is actually an unusual moment in the history of the plant. We humans showed up some time ago, but it's just the last few thousand years that we suddenly took off. And most of the time, there were ice ages. We had the moment in between. So we had this very--that's why I'm saying the global warming thing is very dangerous. We have lots of evidence, things change. We have ice ages. We go out of ice age. And we don't understand why, and we decide to interfere with the system. And that's why I think we're bound to be surprised by what's gonna happen. We understand it so poorly. We can't, at the moment, can't explain to you why there were ice ages. We just, embarrassing, and I pretend I can tell you what's going to happen fifty years from now. You know, it all comes back to being a more modest, there's a lot more we don't know than we know.$$Okay, so being involved in oceanography or geosciences at this point in time is it like being a pioneer--you're a pioneer?$$Exactly, a very exciting time, yeah. The, and it still goes back to that Alexander Pope, "it's dangerous--little learning is a dangerous thing." You discover there's more and more things to discover.$Now, is there on your mother's [Alice Harker] side and your father's [Peter Philander] side or either, or, a keen sense of their history? Do they really understand their history, that they were brought from Malaysia in what--by the Dutch in 1650 or '60' [1560] or so to work--$$Not really, no, no. The only people in South African I know of who would have strong ties to the background would be the Malays. Many are Muslims, and they will actually go to Mecca [Saudi Arabia]. And even though they're living in the Southern tip of Africa. And so that would really be the only group that kept a connection.$$Oh, these are Malays, you said?$$Yeah.$$Who are Muslims?$$Who are Muslim, yeah.$$Okay, and now, your parents would be--what would they call them? Did they have a specific group that they associated themselves with, historically, or--$$No.$$--so they're basically a product of South Africa life, you know, after the--$$That's correct. There's a, there, yeah, it's come together, the very first people to get to South Africa were actually Portuguese. And then the Dutch, and then the British. And a little digression, it's been noted that (unclear) Brazil has relatively little racial tension in comparison with British colonies. The Portuguese colonies is less. And the reason people think, is the Portuguese were far more conservative than the British. So the British let women go to the colonies. When they got there, they kept themselves in a privileged position by ostracizing any man who associates with non-British women. And see, (unclear) we have trouble in the South here or wherever the British went. The Portuguese, there were no women (laughter). So they had far more intermarriage (laughter), far more. And so race relations are actually much more relaxed in the Portuguese colonies.$$And they would actually create families?$$Yeah, yeah, but in the case of the British, the women quickly realized you ostracize any man who does that. And so you have far more racial--anyway, it's a complicated--$$Okay, Vasco da Gama was there first, I think--$$Diaz, yeah.$$Or Bartholomew Diaz, yeah.$$Yeah.$$Yeah, now, 1480s, I think, right, 1480-something?$$Yeah, it was before Columbus [Christopher Columbus] came this way. They would--only recently I discovered why the--I thought they were looking for an easy route to the spices and so on. It turns out it was really part of the last Crusades. They repeatedly failed to conquer the Holy Land, going across land. So they thought they'd go the back way (laughter). And so these trips around the tip of Africa were actually to get to (laughter), to liberate the Holy Land from infidels.

Dawn Wright

Professor and oceanographer Dawn Jeannine Wright was born on April 15, 1961 to Jeanne and Robert Wright. Wright grew up on the island of Maui, Hawaii, fascinated by stories of adventure and discovery of the open seas. She graduated cum laude with her B.S. degree in geology from Wheaton College in 1983. She then earned her M.S. degree from Texas A&M University in oceanography in 1986. During her graduate studies, Wright served as a graduate research assistant and a marine laboratory specialist with the Ocean Drilling Program at Texas A&M University. Following her work as a marine laboratory specialist, Wright received her Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1994 with her dissertation entitled “From Pattern to Process on the Deep Ocean Floor: a Geographic Information System Approach.”

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hired Wright as a postdoctoral research associate following graduation. She began her teaching career in 1995 as an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University. By 2002, she was promoted to full professor. Wright is an expert on geographic information systems, and her work has focused on mapping the ocean floor in locations around the globe including: Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, in American Samoa, the East Pacific Rise in the Pacific Ocean, the Tonga Trench in the South Pacific Ocean, and the Juan de Fuca Ridge in the North Pacific Ocean. Along with her work in mapping the sea floor, Wright has assisted with a number of outreach programs, hoping to encourage more minority and female students to consider a career in the sciences.

Wright has published a large number of papers detailing her investigations. She has received several awards in recognition of her work, both as a teacher and as a leading scientist in her field. She won the United States Professor of the Year for the State of Oregon in 2007, and has been listed as one of fifteen scientists featured in Portraits of Great American Scientists. She was also named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Wright has co-authored the reference book, Arc Marine: GIS for a Blue Planet.

Accession Number

A2012.204

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/27/2012

Last Name

Wright

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Jeannine

Occupation
Schools

Texas A&M University

Wheaton College

Wide Lake High School

Henry Perrine Baldwin High School

Aptos Middle School

Lao School

Wailuku Elementary School

University of California-Santa Barbara

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Evenings, Some Days

First Name

Dawn

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

WRI06

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Adults, Seniors, people interested in science and maps of oceans

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches, National Parks

Favorite Quote

Just do it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/15/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream (Vanilla), Ice Cream (Coffee), Apricots (Dried), Cherries

Short Description

Oceanographer Dawn Wright (1961 - ) is an expert on the Geographic Information System and has traveled the world mapping the ocean floor.

Employment

Oregon State University

NOAA

University of California, Santa Barbara

Texas A&M University

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dawn Wright's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dawn Wright lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dawn Wright describes her mother's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dawn Wright describes her mother's family background - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dawn Wright describes her mother's education and her career as a college professor

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dawn Wright describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dawn Wright talks about the medical complications surrounding her birth

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dawn Wright describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dawn Wright describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dawn Wright talks about her mother's decision to move from Baltimore to Canada and then Hawaii

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dawn Wright describes her mother's decision to move to Canada and then Hawaii, and her family's early lives there

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dawn Wright describes her family's early life on the island of Maui, Hawaii

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dawn Wright describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Hawaii

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dawn Wright talks about the people of Hawaii and her experience while growing up there

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dawn Wright talks about adjusting to her new life in Hawaii as well as her experience at school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dawn Wright describes her childhood attraction to the ocean and its influence on her career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dawn Wright talks about her interest in space exploration and science fiction

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dawn Wright talks about her interest in Christianity at the age of eight

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dawn Wright describes the influence of her fourth grade teacher, Sue Okata

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dawn Wright talks about growing up in Hawaii and the weather and sports

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dawn Wright talks about attending middle school in Hawaii and California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dawn Wright talks about her high school coach and her interest in track and field at Baldwin High School on Maui, Hawaii

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dawn Wright describes her mother's decision to return to the Baltimore, Maryland in the 1970s to take care of her ill grandmother

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dawn Wright describes her experience at Wild Lake High School in Columbia, Maryland and how it differed from Hawaii

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dawn Wright talks about the teachers who mentored her at Wild Lake High School, and the community of Columbia, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dawn Wright talks about her athletics and academic performance at Wild Lake High School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dawn Wright describes her decision to attend Wheaton College and major in geology

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dawn Wright describes her experience at Wheaton College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dawn Wright talks about majoring in geology at Wheaton College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dawn Wright describes the non-conflicting emphasis on religion and science at Wheaton College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dawn Wright talks about her social life at Wheaton College

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dawn Wright describes her involvement with sports and the BRIDGE program at Wheaton College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dawn Wright describes her geology field training experiences at Wheaton College

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dawn Wright describes her decision to pursue graduate studies in oceanography at Texas A&M University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dawn Wright describes her first research experience aboard a research ship

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dawn Wright describes her master's degree dissertation research

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dawn Wright describes the principles that underlie bathymetric measurements

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dawn Wright talks about her master's thesis advisor, William Sager

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dawn Wright describes her experience as a marine technician for the oceanic drilling program at Texas A&M University - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dawn Wright describes her experience as a marine technician for the ocean drilling program at Texas A&M University - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dawn Wright describes her decision to pursue her doctoral studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dawn Wright talks about her Ph.D. dissertation research committee

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dawn Wright talks about her first encounter with oceanographer Sylvia Earle

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dawn Wright describes her historic dive aboard the Deep-Submergence Vehicle, Alvin

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dawn Wright describes her bicycle team's third place win in the 1992 NCAA Collegiate Road Nationals

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dawn Wright describes her doctoral dissertation research on mapping the ocean floor using the geographic information systems (GIS) technique

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dawn Wright describes her decision to work at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and at Oregon State University

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dawn Wright describes her experience at Oregon State University

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dawn Wright talks about the importance of mapping the oceans

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dawn Wright talks about her book, 'Marine and Coastal Geographical Information Systems'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dawn Wright talks about her research activities in Samoa

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dawn Wright talks about the ArcGIS model and its applications

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dawn Wright talks about her professional activities - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dawn Wright talks about her professional honors and awards

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dawn Wright talks about her professional activities - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Dawn Wright reflects upon her life and career

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Dawn Wright describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Dawn Wright reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dawn Wright talks about African American oceanographers

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dawn Wright talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dawn Wright talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Dawn Wright describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$7

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
Dawn Wright describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Hawaii
Dawn Wright talks about her research activities in Samoa
Transcript
Now tell me, we always ask this question in terms of growing up, what were some of the sights and sounds and smells of growing up?$$Ooh, well in Hawaii, growing up for me the ocean, the sights and the smell of the salt water. I spent a lot of time in the water swimming, a lot of time on the beach playing and I loved growing up in Hawaii because it was, it is such a cross roads of the Pacific. So I actually grew up with children, Japanese American children, Chinese American, Filipino, Hawaiian, Portuguese, and everybody was mixed race. So all of these foods from these different cultures were a big part of our lives, even in our school lunches we would have Japanese food or poi, the Hawaiian poi and so all of those smells and tastes, I just loved it. Absorbed all of that and loved it. I loved all of the local foods so that was another big thing and all of the different kinds of plants, the trees and flowers. I loved to climb trees and there was a big banyan tree that was down the street from our house in a little park and I loved that tree. Banyan trees have these huge root systems and huge trunks and they've got long vines so for children it's just fantastic. You can swing on the vines and climb up them and you can sleep on the branches because they're such big voluptuous trees so that was a big memory. So there are so many things, just the landscape and the culture of Hawaii and then the ocean as well so all of those things made a big impact on me right away.$Okay. All right, now in 2001, you spend your sabbatical year in Samoa, right?$$Yes. Now I wasn't living in Samoa the whole year. I was actually living in Santa Barbara so I was able to return to Santa Barbara and that was a--Samoa was important at the time because, so this is where Sylvia Earle comes back into the picture because Sylvia Earle at that time had launched this initiative called the Sustainable Seas Expeditions. And she had gotten some major funding to map all of the or most of the national marine sanctuaries and she was educating the world, but certainly educating the United States about the importance of our National Marine Sanctuary System and how these are really our national parks that are off shore and I think most people at the time just didn't realize that. Similar to Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon National Park we have these sanctuaries such as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Most of the sanctuary is underwater and these are essentially part of the United States, very important parts of the United States that have been--that are being protected and preserved and parts that you could, you can actually visit. Well the smallest and most remote of the National Marine Sanctuaries is the Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary in American Samoa. So I wrote a proposal, a research proposal to do mapping in that sanctuary along the spirit, same lines as Sylvia Earle's sustainable seas expeditions initiative to map that sanctuary. And so that's where the Samoa connection came in. Fagatele Bay is actually, it's going to be--happily this sanctuary has just recently been expanded so they're changing the name of it and it's going to cover larger areas. American Samoa a lot of people don't realize is also a part of the United States because it's one of our territories.