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Today is educator and businessman Walter E. Massey‘s birthday. Among the Mississippi native’s notable achievements, he is the first African-American physics professor to teach at Brown University and was also once president of his alma mater, Morehouse University.

Walter Eugene Massey was born in the city of Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1938. Entering college early, Massey graduated from Morehouse in 1958 with a degree in physics, after which he enrolled in Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

After earning both his master’s and PH.D. degrees from the institution, Massey taught at the University of Illinois shortly after and then took the job with Brown in 1970.

While at Brown, Massey helped bring diversity to college classrooms, noting the lack of Black and brown faces in STEM.  Massey joined the American Association for the Advancement of Science and blazed trials for future STEM students of color. He went on to become the association’s first Black president.

Today, Massey is the chancellor for the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He also amassed countless awards due to his contributions to education, physics, and business affairs.

PHOTO: School of the Art Institute of Chicago

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