Walter E. Massey

Dr Walter E Massey is an American educator, physicist, and executive.

Dr Walter E Massey is an American educator, physicist, and executive. He is president emeritus of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 2018 and previously served as its president beginning in 2010 and chancellor in 2016. He is also chairman of the board overseeing construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope, and serves as trustee chair of the City Colleges of Chicago. Massey’s career had earlier seen him serve for over 10 years as president of Morehouse College. He is also a former head of the National Science Foundation, managing director of Argonne National Laboratory, and chairman of Bank of America. He has served in professorial and administrative posts at the University of California, University of Chicago, Brown University, and the University of Illinois.

Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Massey displayed as a child an unusual aptitude for mathematics. His felicity with numbers earned him, at 16 years old, a Ford Foundation fellowship to Morehouse College in Atlanta. He began studying theoretical physics because it gave him the chance to rise above the discrimination he had witnessed as a youth in the segregated South of the 1940s and 1950s. “So much depends on what people think of you,” he related to Irwin Goodwin in Physics Today. “In theoretical physics, no one reading your papers would know if you were Black or white. There’s no such thing as Black physics.”

Throughout his more than forty years of professional life, Massey has been guided by two overarching principles: first, that science and technology are necessary to sustain the nation’s quality of life and the standard of living of its citizens; and, second, that the general public’s understanding of science and technology is a critical component of a democratic society. Massey’s commitment to these principles has led him to be a proponent of the need for a strong system of national science education, as well as the need to enhance the representation of women and minorities in science and technology.

Massey is the only individual to serve as both President and Chairman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and as Chair of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). Additionally, Massey is the only individual to have received both the Enrico Fermi Award for Science and Technology from the Chicago Historical Society and the Public Humanities Award from Illinois Humanities.

Prints are 13" x 19" on heavy paper. Shipped in a mailing tube. These prints are made at our location in Seattle, WA

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Ernest Crichlow
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