Endowment is established for Academy's Dr. Massie

April 30, 1993|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

Naval Academy professor Samuel P. Massie may hav laughed and joked with the friends who came to honor him last night. But earlier in the day, he was apologizing for being "tense."

"The event," he explained, "has really touched me. I'm kind of full."

It was the first awards banquet for the Samuel P. Massie Educational Endowment, Inc., at Dahlgren Hall.

The endowment, named for the first black professor at the Naval Academy is to provide scholarships to women, minorities and economically disadvantaged Anne Arundel County students studying math, science, engineering or health care in Maryland schools. It was established in December by the Annapolis Chapter of the National Naval Officers Association.

Montel Williams, a syndicated television talk-show host and Naval Academy graduate, said he was honored to deliver the keynote address.

"As soon as I heard about it, I wanted to be involved," he said.

Mr. Williams said the endowment is important, not only because it recognizes a man at the top of his field, but because it should help others to move in the same direction.

Dr. Massie, who teaches chemistry, "will probably touch four or five generations," Mr. Williams said.

Dr. Massie said his advice for students receiving the scholarships is the same as the credo he has tried to live by.

"Take your life and make it better for those who follow," he said. "I could talk to them for an hour but they tell me I've only got 15 minutes."

Dr. Massie, who has spent 28 of his 72 years at the Naval Academy, said he was honored and surprised to have an endowment named after him.

"This came out of the clear blue," he said. "To me, this endowment in my name says I'm being recognized for a life of service I tried to live. And they're doing this while I'm alive and before I retired.

One of the scholarships is to be named for Wesley A. Brown, who in 1949 was the first black graduate from the Naval Academy. It provides up to $5,000 annually to each of four people who have been accepted into any four-year college or university in Maryland.

This year's recipients are: JaRonn Charisse Latney, Yesenia E. Perdomo, Walter-James B. Phillips, and Lisa Colbert-Slade. Navy officials did not know where the students live, nor where they are going to school.

Another scholarship is named for Marlene C. Brown, the first black woman to teach at the academy. It provides up to $2,500 each to seven students accepted into Anne Arundel Community College. This year's recipients are Ontre Boatman, Andrew Castillo, Shirley Dukes, Trent Greenwell, Melanie Meyer, Joseph Ned, and Kurt Sandvig

Dr. Massie, who said he is considering retiring in the next year or two, said he never had any qualms about coming to the academy as its first black professor because he had been the president of a university.

"I was named one of the six best chemistry teachers in the nation," he said, "not one of the six best black chemistry teacher.

"The only thing that has bothered me is that there've only been two other black teachers hired since I've been here," he added. "But I'd like to think the academy is a better place because of me."

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