NSF Scientist Receives Award In Research Training Of Minorities In Microbiology

April 16, 1998

WASHINGTON, D.C. -April 10, 1998-- Luther S. Williams, Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources, National Science Foundation, is the first recipient of the William A. Hinton Research Training Award. The Hinton Award, which honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions toward fostering the research training of underrepresented minorities in microbiology, will be presented at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), May 17-21, 1998 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The award is given in memory of William A. Hinton, who was one of the first African-Americans to join the ASM. Dr. Hinton received his M.D. from Harvard University and directed the Massachusetts State Wasserman Laboratory for over 40 years. He is known for his contributions in syphilis research, by which he developed a widely used test for diagnosing syphilis. During his 30-year teaching career at Harvard Medical School, he became the first African-American to be appointed a full professor.

Dr. Williams, a former president of Atlanta University, began his scientific career with a B.A. in biology from Miles College, Birmingham, Alabama, a M.S. in biology from Atlanta University, and a Ph.D. in microbial physiology from Purdue University. He has mentored students throughout his career and continues to identify ways to encourage them.

One of his former students said, "The most important and lasting influences Dr. Williams probably had on his pupils was his work ethic, sense of responsibility to humanity, and reverence for academic pursuit." During his active research and classroom years, Dr. Williams trained over 20 graduate students, 13 of whom were African-Americans.

His commitment to science training and research is evident from the positions he has held during the past 22 years. In the late 1970's, he served as Assistant Provost and Director of Minority Center for Graduate Education at Purdue; Dean of the Graduate School at Washington University; Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Colorado, Boulder; and Deputy Director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institute of Health. Since 1989, he has been at the National Science Foundation.

He was nominated by Julian E. Thomas, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama.

The American Society for Microbiology, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the oldest and largest single biological membership organization, with over 40,000 members worldwide.

American Society for Microbiology

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