Professorships to honor Samuel Massie


The legacy of Dr. Samuel P. Massie, who 32 years ago became the first black civilian professor at the Naval Academy, will continue at nine historically black colleges with the establishment of nine professorships in his name.

The Dr. Samuel P. Massie Chair of Excellence Professorship in Environmental Disciplines, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and several Fortune 500 companies, will provide each of the schools, including Morgan State University in Baltimore, with a grant of $1.6 million over six years.

The chairs will be unveiled today by Energy Secretary Hazel R. O'Leary at a ceremony in the Loews L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington. The scholar selected for the Massie Chairs will lead research teams in the environmental science disciplines.

In addition to Morgan State, the schools are: Florida A&M; University, Tallahassee, Fla.; Hampton University, Hampton, Va.; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; North Carolina A&T;, Greensboro, N.C.; Prairie View A&M; University, Prairie View, Texas; Southern University, Baton Rouge, La.; Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tenn., and Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala.

Dr. Massie, a native of Little Rock, Ark., earned a doctorate in organic chemistry from Iowa State University. He arrived at the Naval Academy in 1966 and retired in January 1994.

He has been recognized as one of the six best college chemistry professors in the United States. This month, he was awarded the American Chemical Society's James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry.

His career is featured in "Science in American Life," a permanent exhibit that opened in April at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington.

The Massie chair is a product of Advancing Minorities Interest in Engineering (AMIE), a coalition of U.S. Fortune 500 companies and the nine historically black colleges and universities, and the Energy Department.

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