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Kofi Appenteng

Lawyer Kofi Appenteng was born on June 14, 1957 in Accra, Ghana to Felicia and Samuel Appenteng. He attended Gateway School and Aldenham School in England and later immigrated to the United States in 1977, where he attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. There, he was a member of the men’s soccer team and participated in track and field. Appenteng received his B.A. degree from Wesleyan University in 1981 and his J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law in New York City in 1984.

After graduation, Appenteng was hired by the law firm of Webster & Sheffield as an associate. In 1991, he joined Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP, where he specialized in merger and acquisitions, private placements, corporate governance, mortgage finance transactions, and not-for-profit law. Appenteng was promoted to partner in 1994, where he advised foreign and domestic individuals and companies on matters related to corporate governance, securities law compliance, acquisitions, corporate finance, regulatory compliance and crisis management. He then became CEO and director of Constant Capital Ghana Limited from 2008 to 2014. In 2014, Appenteng served as senior counsel at Dentons and became chair of the board of directors for the Ford Foundation. In 2016, he became president of the Africa-America Institute.

He served on Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees from 1990 to 2006, and chaired the presidential search committee that recommended Michael S. Roth as the sixteenth president of Wesleyan University in 2007. He also served as non-executive director at Intravenous Infusions Limited and joined the board of directors of the Ford Foundation in 2007. He was later appointed to the board of directors at the International Center for Transitional Justice in 2015. He also served on the International Advisory Board of IE University, Spain and on the board of Instituto de Empresa Fund, Inc., Panbros Salt Industries Limited, the University of Cape Town Fund and the World Scout Fund.

Appenteng received the Baldwin Medal in 2007, the highest honor bestowed by the Wesleyan Alumni Association for service to the university and to society, and was inducted into the Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2013, Appenteng was named a “Great American Immigrant” by the Carnegie Corporation.

Kofi Appenteng was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 25, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.019

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/25/2019

Last Name

Appenteng

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

John Boakye

Occupation
Schools

The Gateway School

Little Hamden Manor Preparatory School

Aldenham School

Wesleyan University

Columbia Law School

First Name

Kofi

Birth City, State, Country

Accra

HM ID

APP01

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Jamaica

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/14/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Ghana

Favorite Food

FuFu and Goat Soup

Short Description

Lawyer Kofi Appenteng (1957 - ) served as partner at Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP, senior counsel at Dentons, chairman of the Ford Foundation’s board, and president of the Africa-America Institute.

Employment

Webster & Sheffield

Thatcher, Profitt & Wood LLP

Constant Capital Limited

Dentons

Africa-America Institute

Favorite Color

Blue

Victor Lawrence

Electrical engineer Victor B. Lawrence was born in 1945 in Ghana, West Africa. Lawrence attended the Imperial College of Science and Technology at the University of London where he received his B.Sc. degree in 1968, his M.S. degree in 1969, and his Ph.D. degree in 1972, all in electrical engineering.

Upon graduation, Lawrence worked for one year as a development engineer in the United Kingdom and then spent two semesters teaching at Kumasi University of Science and Technology in Ghana. Lawrence joined Bell Laboratories in 1974 and served as supervisor of AT&T Information Systems Laboratories, department head of Data Communication Research, director of Advanced Multimedia Communications, and vice president of Advanced Communications Technology before his departure in 2005. His application of digital signal processing to data communications in the late 1980s and early 1990s led to many significant advances such as voice-band modems and DSL. Lawrence did the pioneering work and led the development of the “Studio Encoder” and the receiver chip-set for the Sirius Radio Satellite System. Beginning in 1996, Lawrence lectured for several years at the U.S. Industrial College of the Armed Force. As a visiting professor, he taught signal processing and data networking courses at the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, Princeton University, and Columbia University. Lawrence also instructed courses in technology management and technology incubation at Bell Laboratories to new engineers.

In 2005, Lawrence was appointed as the director of the Center for Intelligent Networked Systems, and was named associate dean and Charles Batchler Chair Professor of Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology. He has co-coauthored five books: Introduction to Digital Filters, Tutorials on Modem Communications, Intelligent Broadband Multimedia Networks, Design and Engineering of Intelligent Communications Systems, and The Art of Scientific Innovation. Lawrence holds more than twenty U.S. and international patents and has had more than forty-five papers in referenced journals and conference proceedings, covering the topics of digital signal processing and data communications.

In recognition of his distinguished career, Lawrence was elected as a Fellow into the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and Bell Laboratories. His technical achievements include the 2004 IEEE Award in International Communication. Lawrence was a co-recipient of the 1984 J. Harry Karp Best Paper Award, the 1981 Gullemin-Cauer Price Award, and he shared the 1997 Emmy Award for HDTV Grand Alliance Standard with other Bell Laboratories employees. One of the many charitable and educational activities he is involved in is the International Cultural Exchange Center, which he co-founded.

Victor B. Lawrence was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 10, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.063

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/6/2013

Last Name

Lawrence

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

University of London

Imperial College, University of London

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Victor

Birth City, State, Country

Accra

HM ID

LAW05

Favorite Season

Spring, Birthday

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained in sudden flight but, they while their companions slept, they were toiling upwards in the night.― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

5/10/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hoboken

Country

Ghana

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Electrical engineer Victor Lawrence (1945 - ) serves as the director of the Center for Intelligent Networked Systems as well as associate dean and Charles Batchler Chair Professor of Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Employment

ITT Research Institute

Kumasi University

Bell Laboratories

AT&T

University of California, Berkeley

IEEE

United States Industrial College of the Armed Forces

Stevens Institute of Technology

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Victor Lawrence's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence talks about his mother's education, her profession as a teacher, and the post-independence changes in community structure in Ghana

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence talks about his father, Nathan Codjo Lawrence

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Victor Lawrence reflects upon the African slave trade and the Gate of No Return at Cape Coast, Ghana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence responds to questions about his parents getting married parents got married

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence discusses the dual influences of religion and traditional cultures on Ghanaian life, and describes a Ghanaian wedding

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence talks about his likeness to his parents and family lineage in Ghana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence talks about diseases that were common while he was growing up in Ghana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Victor Lawrence talks about his childhood and the neighborhood where he grew up in Accra, Ghana

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Victor Lawrence describes his trip to England in 1952, his father's death, and his family's situation thereafter

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Victor Lawrence describes his experience in school in Accra, Ghana, and his interest in science and mathematics

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Victor Lawrence describes the independence movement in Ghana in the 1950s, and the Independence Day celebrations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Victor Lawrence describes his rich and formative experience at Achimota School in Ghana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence talks about his teachers and mentors at Achimota School, and the unique education that he received there

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence talks about the British system of high school education, and his graduation from school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence describes his decision to attend the University of London to study engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence talks about his interest in repairing gadgets and his job at the harbor in Accra, Ghana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence describes his experience as an undergraduate student in London in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Victor Lawrence describes working at a restaurant and as the deputy warden of his hostel to put himself through graduate school in London

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Victor Lawrence talks about his thesis advisor, Professor Colin Cherry, and his Ph.D. dissertation in digital signal processing

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Victor Lawrence describes his Ph.D. dissertation in digital signal processing

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Victor Lawrence describes the applications of his Ph.D. dissertation on designing digital filters

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence describes his recruitment to AT&T Bell Labs in the early 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence talks about the University of Kumasi, Jerry Rawlings, and John Atta Mills

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence talks about the coup d'etat in Ghana in 1974, his departure from Ghana, and his move to the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence describes the help that he received from Kent Mina and Solomon Buchsbaum at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence describes his experience at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Victor Lawrence talks about his work in developing applications at Bell Labs, and in creating global compatibility of data networks

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Victor Lawrence talks about his work on stabilizing digital filters that are used in digital signal processors

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Victor Lawrence talks about digital signal filters, the applications of his work in digital signal processing, and the advances made at Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Victor Lawrence talks about his contributions to research and development at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence talks about winning an Emmy Award in 1997 for his contribution in building the first HDTV receiver

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence talks about his professional awards, recognitions and service

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence talks about his technological collaborations and administrative positions at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence talks about supporting Senator Bill Frist and the U.S. Sub-Committee on Science and Technology from 1997 to 2001

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence talks about intelligent networks and the possibilities that they present

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Victor Lawrence talks about his book, 'The Art of Scientific Innovation'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Victor Lawrence talks about high-definition television, and receiving the IEEE Millennium Medal in 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Victor Lawrence shares his perspectives on the Y2K problem

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Victor Lawrence talks about his long service at Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Victor Lawrence talks about the break-up of AT&T Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Victor Lawrence reflects upon his legacy at Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Victor Lawrence describes his work with intelligent networks and his involvement with Baharicom Development Company (BDC)

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Victor Lawrence talks about his work on submarine communications to increase communication technologies with and within Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence discusses his work on intelligent networks at Stevens Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence reflects upon the role of human beings as technology advances

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence reflects upon potential ties between Africans and black Americans and the role of intelligent networks in global politics

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence reflects upon his life and his hope for his native country of Ghana

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Victor Lawrence talks about his serve towards STEM education and international cultural relations

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Victor Lawrence talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Victor Lawrence describes his recruitment to AT&T Bell Labs in the early 1970s
Victor Lawrence talks about his contributions to research and development at Bell Laboratories
Transcript
So after you graduated [with a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of London, England], what were your options? Did you know you were gonna go back to Ghana or--$$Yeah, when I graduated I spent about six months or so in England with General Electric Company of United Kingdom. I spent that time there to learn a little bit about industry and at the same time, I was a post-doc [postdoctoral trainee] in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Imperial College [London, England] because my professor still wanted me around. I was working with him. So it was there that Bell Labs, AT&T, came to recruit me, because AT&T was recruiting worldwide. They wanted the best scientists they could get everywhere on this earth. So they came to Imperial College. And when they came to Imperial College, they saw my professor, and so my professor told them, told me, "Oh, there are these visitors from America. They want to come and recruit. I know you are interested in going to Ghana, but why don't you just show them around so that they can become, become acquainted with the university." So I started showing them around, and as we went from one place to the other, the gentleman said, oh, why don't I also come and work with them. And I told him that, no, I'm going to Ghana because--so they said, "Okay, you just come for a trip." So, they came and wrote back to me that I should come, because I think after I was taking them around, they were so much interested in me. So they sent me a ticket to come for interview, booked my hotels for me. Those were the good days for AT&T. So they gave me a ticket. I took the flight to JFK [John F. Kennedy Airport, New York City], and from JFK, you know what they did? They gave me a, they made me take a helicopter ride from JFK to Newark [New Jersey]. First time, I sat in a helicopter. So I said, "Gee, this must be a very good company." And then from Newark, I did the interview in New Jersey. And then they sent me to Chicago also to do--Illinois, Naperville, also to go and do some interviews there. And then I went back. It wasn't long, they wrote to me that they wanted me. And I told them that I have to go to Ghana first because my mother [Ellen Sarku Nettey] wanted me to come over.$Okay, yeah, say what you were saying about the development, I mean the growth of cell phone use today.$$Yeah, because they went from the first generation to the second generation [wireless technology], and they also did it in such a way that a lot of things were done in the transmitters. Jesse [Russell; also HistoryMaker] explained to you, and the things that they used were the components that I had developed, together with my colleagues [at bell Laboratories, New Jersey]. And that made the phones very small and made it very efficient. And they've gone from second generation to third generation, to fourth generation. And Jesse, now his company is working on the fourth generation.$$Okay.$$So that's where some of this--in between, I did a lot of other work. One of the things that I worked on was what we call the future secure voice telephone. The future, secure voice telephone using still the techniques that I had developed earlier in digital filtering, modulation, speech coding. In that time, in 1984 thereabouts, '84 [1984], '85 [1985], '86 [1986], the U.S. Defense Department [Department of Defense; DOD] wanted to have a generation of phones that were encrypted, a generation of phones that was digital. And so I worked on the future, secure voice terminal. In fact, the terminals were built, were used in the White House on the decks of the generals, when I think--involved just simple things like the speech. We have to digitize the speech, code it in such a way that you have it in a number of bits, compressed it into a small number of bits, and then encrypt it. So then we had to use digital modulation to do so. So this was what really was the future secure voice terminal, FSVS, and we had the whole generation of terminals for the U.S. government. So that was one application. Other applications was mentioned, this speech and filtering for wireless and then also for video as well. Those were things that we did do.$$Now, this is in the '80s [1980s] as well?$$Yeah, in the '80s.