Biography - Walter E. Massey '58

Dr. Walter E. Massey is the ninth president of Morehouse College, the nation’s largest private four-year liberal arts college for men.

Prior to Morehouse, Massey held a range of administrative and academic positions. He is former director of the National Science Foundation, a position to which he was appointed by former President George H.W. Bush. The Foundation is the government’s lead agency for support of research and education in mathematics, science and engineering. Massey also served as vice president for research and professor of physics at the University of Chicago, as director of the Argonne National Laboratory, dean of the College and professor of physics at Brown University and as assistant professor of physics at the University of Illinois.

Immediately prior to Morehouse, Massey was provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of California. In this position, the second most senior position in the UC system, he was responsible for academic and research planning and policy, budget planning and allocations, and programmatic oversight of the three national laboratories the University manages for the Department of Energy: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.

After earning a bachelor of science in physics and mathematics in 1958 from Morehouse, Massey received his master’s and doctorate in physics in 1966 from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Massey’s research has involved the study of quantum liquids and solids. His written work has also addressed science and math education, the role of science in a democratic society, and university-industry interactions and technology transfer in national and international settings.

Active with a range of organizations, Massey is a past chair of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) and is currently serving his second term as a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, having also served on PCAST under the first President Bush. The recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees from institutions such as Yale University, Northwestern University, Amherst and the Ohio State University, Massey’s leadership in education includes his service as a member of the Gates Millennium Scholars Advisory Council and the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, and chairman of the Atlanta Committee for Public Education. In addition, Massey is active on several corporate and foundation boards, including the Mellon Foundation, Motorola Inc., Bank of America Corporation, McDonald’s Corporation, and BP p.l.c.

He is a Fellow and past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow and past vice president of the American Physical Society, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Born in Hattiesburg, MS, he and his wife Shirley Anne have two son and three grandchildren.

Located in Atlanta, GA, Morehouse offers a full range of programs in three academic divisions: humanities and social sciences; science and mathematics; and business and economics. The College houses the Journal of Negro History and the Morehouse Research Institute and boasts a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, as well as a number of honors and study abroad programs. Morehouse, which annually enrolls approximately 2,800 students, typically representing more than 40 states and a dozen foreign countries, enjoys a long-standing tradition of producing outstanding leaders.