The National Science Board (NSB) recently announced that Dr. Walter E. Massey will receive the prestigious Vannevar Bush Award. The award honors science and technology leaders who have made substantial contributions to the welfare of the nation through public service in science, technology, and public policy.
Dr. Massey will receive the Vannevar Bush Award on May 14 at the National Science Foundation Annual Awards Ceremony held in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Massey, chairman of Giant Magellan Telescope Organization and president emeritus of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Morehouse College, is being recognized for his exceptional lifelong leadership in science and technology. The range of institutions he has led with distinction is astonishing — from physics, to public policy, to public and private boards, to college president.
Walter Massey’s breadth of contributions and remarkable leadership in science, technology, and education are unparalleled,” said Kent Fuchs, chair of the NSB’s Committee on Honorary Awards. “Walter has dedicated his life to serving our citizens. Through his training in mathematics and physics, and his determined and extraordinary leadership, he has narrowed the gap between science and society with an immeasurable and lasting impact on our nation.”
Dr. Massey is a graduate of Morehouse College where he studied theoretical physics. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Two overarching principles have inspired Massey’s notable career — that science and technology are necessary to sustain the nation’s quality of life and the standard of living of its citizens; and that the general public’s understanding of science and technology is a critical component of a democratic society.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In honor of two trailblazing black graduates, Brown University will rename one of the most heavily-trafficked buildings in the heart of its College Hill campus as Page-Robinson Hall.
The six-story academic and administrative facility currently known as the J. Walter Wilson building, will be renamed for Inman Edward Page — who, with a classmate, became one of the first two black graduates of Brown in 1877 — and Ethel Tremaine Robinson, who earned her degree in 1905 as the first black woman to graduate from the University.
“Inman Page was born into slavery, sought liberty and opportunity and found them at Brown — and he saw the power of education to cultivate the innate ‘genius’ in everyone,” Brown President Christina Paxson said. “Ethel Robinson broke a color barrier and a glass ceiling when she graduated from Brown in 1905. Together, these two pioneers embodied the faith in learning, knowledge and understanding that has animated Brown for generations.”
Given the historical and academic significance of this renaming, the University undertook a deliberate process in determining the right building to bear the new designation, Paxson said. “We wanted a building at the heart of campus that every student, faculty member and staff member uses on a regular basis,” she said. “And one that serves as a center of classroom activity, teaching and learning — the core of the Brown experience.”
The target date for formally implementing the Page-Robinson Hall name change throughout various campus maps and business systems will coincide with the start of the Spring 2019 semester at Brown.
Lives of distinction
Born in Virginia, Page graduated from Brown in 1877. He was elected class orator, giving a speech at Commencement that was noted in the Providence Journal for its intellectual power and eloquence. Robinson excelled in her studies, graduating with honors in 1905 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy degree and winning the Class of 1873 Prize Essay competition.
After their respective graduations from Brown, both Page and Robinson proceeded into lives and careers as influential educators.
Page dedicated his life to promoting higher education opportunities for African Americans in the American South. He served as president of four historically black colleges and universities: the Agricultural and Normal University in Langston, Oklahoma; Western Baptist College in Macon, Missouri; Roger Williams University in Nashville, Tennessee; and the Lincoln Institute in Jefferson City, Missouri.
In 1918, then-Brown President William H.P. Faunce conferred upon Page an honorary master’s degree, citing him as a “teacher, organizer, college president, whose constructive work is… not forgotten by his Alma Mater.”
While in his 70s, Page served as principal of Oklahoma City’s Frederick Douglass High School, where he greatly influenced novelist Ralph Ellison, a student there at the time. According to Brown records, after Page’s death in in 1935 at age 82, one newspaper editorialist wrote: “Old Man Ike, as his pupils endearingly referred to him, was a terror to the disobedient and the mischievous. This was not because of any cruel penalties he visited upon them, but because his students abhorred the thought of their idol knowing of their delinquency. It was this peculiar hold that he had upon youth which wove out of the fabric of their lives virtue and strength of character.”
Though Robinson’s life is not as well documented as Page’s, she paved the way for many other black women at the University, including her younger sister Cora, who graduated in 1909. Returning to her hometown of Washington, D.C. after earning her Brown degree, Robinson taught English and literature at Howard University. In 1908, she mentored Howard student Ethel Hedgeman Lyle in her efforts to found the nation’s first black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, which now has nearly 300,000 members.
After leaving Howard University, Robinson married Joaquin Pineiro, a member of the Cuban diplomatic mission to the United States, in 1914. The couple then moved to France, where Pineiro was appointed chancellor of the Cuban Consulate in Bordeaux, coming home to the United States in 1916 after the start of WW-I. Upon her husband’s death, Robinson returned to Providence, where her sister Cora’s descendants still live.
S. James Gates Jr., Ford Foundation Professor of Physics at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, has been named to the presidential line of the American Physical Society, a nonprofit organization that represents more than 55,000 physicists in higher education and the physics industry worldwide. Dr. Gates will serve as vice president in 2019, president-elect in 2020, and president in 2021.
Before joining the Brown faculty in May 2017, Dr. Gates served as a professor at the University of Maryland for 33 years. His research interests include theoretical physics, specifically the areas of supersymmetry and supergravity. He has won the National Medal of Science, which is the highest honor bestowed upon American scientists by the U.S. President.
Professor Gates is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, serves on the board of trustees of Society for Science and the Public, and was a member on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology under President Obama. He is a co-author of the supersymmetry textbook, Superspace or One Thousand and One Lessons in Supersymmetry (Addison-Wesley, 1983).
Dr. Gates holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in mathematics and one in physics, and a Ph.D. in physics all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 1953 the Marshall Scholarship program was established by an act of the British Parliament. Funded by the British government, the program is a national gesture of thanks to the American people for aid received under the Marshall Plan, the U.S.-financed program that led to the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.
The scholarships provide funds for up to three years of study at a British university, travel, living expenses, and a book allowance. Since the inception of the program, more than 1,900 Americans have studied in the United Kingdom as Marshall Scholars.
This year 43 Marshall Scholarships were given out. While the British government does not publicize the race or ethnicity of Marshall Scholars, it appears that there are four African Americans among the 43 Marshall Scholars. The four African American Marshall Scholars are in sharp contrast to the record of 10 African Americans who were among the 32 American students awarded Rhodes Scholarships this year. (See JBHE post.)
Josephine Cook is a senior neuroscience and psychology double-major at Queens College of the City University of New York. She plans to complete a Ph.D. at either Imperial College London or Brunel University, focusing on how dance therapy can be used to rehabilitate neurological disorders. Upon completing the degree and returning to the United States, she hopes to open a clinic dedicated to arts therapy and neurorehabilitation.
Kobi Felton is a senior at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he is majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in Spanish. He will pursue a master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge beginning in fall 2018 and then a master’s degree in nanomaterials at Imperial College London in the second year of his Marshall Scholarship.
Aasha Jackson is a 2015 graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. While at Brown, Jackson served as senior editor for the Brown Human Rights Report, a student-run online publication, and co-founded the university’s chapter of She’s the First, a national nonprofit that supports girls who will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. She is now serving as a policy associate in the Office of Population and Reproductive Health at the United States Agency for International Development. Jackson plans to use her Marshall Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in public policy at the University of Cambridge and a master’s degree in reproductive and sexual health research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Craig Stevens graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., this December with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Currently, Stevens is an archaeological technician at AECOM, a civil engineering firm that employs archaeologists to assess construction sites prior to breaking ground. As a Marshall Scholar at University College London, he will study advanced techniques for analyzing ceramics and conducting mixed-methods research relevant to archaeological practice.
LONDON — In a backyard in Berlin, a ramshackle house that was once a haven for the civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks is preparing for its third life — back in the United States. It had almost been lost to history, falling into blight, abuse and foreclosure, in Detroit. But in 2016, the American artist Ryan Mendoza shipped the dismantled facade in two containers to his home in Germany. There, it was restored as an art exhibit in his garden in the Wedding neighborhood.
Then the strange and itinerant journey of the wood-frame house took another turn recently, when a member of the Nash Family Foundation, based in Manitowoc, Wis., formally agreed to pay for its passage back.“I never wanted to rebuild it in my backyard,” Mr. Mendoza said by phone from Berlin. “But I wanted to protect it.”“ It’s time for the house to return home,” he added. “It’s needed for people to have another major point of reference for how to treat each other with dignity. This will be a marker on the ground.”
While the house has a ticket back to America, the question of where it would find a permanent home remains unanswered. The hurdles seem huge, the logistics daunting, but calls and emails have gone out for help to institutions including Brown University in Rhode Island, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and the Brooklyn Museum, among others, Mr. Mendoza said. At least two institutions — Brown and Wright — said they were seriously considering the project. “The house has a symbolic importance — it’s important in the narrative of her life,” said James Nash, a board member and the driving force behind the foundation’s pledge. “She suffered for a huge act of courage. It should be here, not in Berlin.”
Matthew Delmont, a professor of history and Director of the School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies at Arizona State University, has received a Guggenheim Fellowship that will allow him to conduct research on how African American viewed World War II at the time the war was being waged.
“African-Americans rallied around something called the ‘double-victory campaign,’ which meant victory over fascism abroad and victory over racism at home,” Professor Delmont said. “There was a great amount of hope that by proving their patriotism, by proving their service to the country in World War II, things would be different once they got home. In a lot of cases, that didn’t happen.” Dr. Delmont will conduct interviews but he notes that “Black newspapers will be one of the main sources. They had war correspondents embedded in Europe and Asia, and they were dodging enemy fire to bring these stories to the communities in the U.S.”
Professor Delmont is the author of several books including Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation (University of California Press, 2016) and The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia(University of California Press, 2012). The tentative title for the book that he hopes will come from this research is To Live Half American: African Americans at Home and Abroad During World War II.
Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Professor Delmont is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American studies at Brown University. He joined the faculty at Arizona State University in 2014 after teaching for six years at Scripps College in Claremont, California.
According to nytimes.com, Kevin Young, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has been named the new poetry editor of The New Yorker magazine.
According to wikipedia.org, Young graduated from Harvard College in 1992, held a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University (1992–94), and received his Master of Fine Arts from Brown University. While in Boston and Providence, he was part of the African-American poetry group the Dark Room Collective. He is heavily influenced by the poets Langston Hughes, John Berryman, and Emily Dickinson and by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Young is an esteemed poet and scholar whose work has been published in The New Yorker dating back to 1999. His most recent work, “Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015,” made the 2016 National Book Award long list.
Young, 46, will officially take over the post in November, after he takes part in a passing of the torch of sorts: a reading and interview with current The New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon at the New Yorker Festival in the fall.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1904 as a highly selective group of 50 members within a larger organization called the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Over the years the two groups functioned separately with different memberships, budgets, and boards of directors. In 1993 the two groups finally agreed to form a single group of 250 members under the name of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Members are chosen from the fields of literature, music, and the fine arts. Members must be native or naturalized citizens of the United States. They are elected for life and pay no dues. New members are elected only upon the death of other members.
This year 12 new members were elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. One of the 12 new members is John Edgar Wideman.
Wideman is the Asa Messer Professor and professor of Africana studies and literary arts at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Before joining the faculty at Brown, Professor Wideman was a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Professor Wideman grew up in Pittsburgh and then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania where he was an all-Ivy League basketball player. His senior year at Penn, Wideman was named a Rhodes Scholar, the first African American to win the honor in over a half century.
Dr. Prudence Carter was named Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, effective June 30, 2016. She currently serves as the Jacks Family Professor of Education at Stanford University. She is also the faculty director of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities and earlier she served as the co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity in Policy in Education.
A native of Mississippi, Dr. Carter is graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she majored in applied mathematics and economics. She holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University.
Brown University is hoping a new plan will help the Providence, Rhode Island, school create a more inclusive environment for its 8,800+ students. On Friday, president Christina H. Paxson announced that the school will invest $100 million dollars over the next decade toward meeting the goals in her new plan, called, “Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University.”
The actions in the plan—which is meant to address diversity and racism on campus—are organized around four pillars: Creating an inclusive learning environment, building and supporting a diverse community, creating pathways for knowledge and success, and creating accountability measures. Paxson posted the plan online as a working document and asked students, faculty and staff to review and give feedback between now and December 4. Then the document will be modified to take into account the input and a final version of the plan will be released before the semester is over.
Elements of Paxon’s proposal include:
Doubling emergency funds for low-income students for health insurance, trips home for family emergencies, laptops and books, and access to dining and housing for those who remain on campus during school breaks.
Hiring a dean dedicated to supporting first generation and low-income students.
Orientation for new faculty and staff will include training and awareness workshops around issues of race/racism, gender/sexism, sexual and gender identity, ability, and the intersectionalities across these areas.
Additional diversity and sensitivity training for the Department of Public Safety.
Establishing a committee on curriculum changes.
Expanding the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and the Center for Slavery and Justice and creating an initiative on Native American and Indigenous peoples.
The plan comes days after a November 12 demonstration where hundreds of students gathered at a solidarity rally to talk about their experiences with racism at Brown. Watch a video of the Blackout Rally below.