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Lloyd N. Ferguson Young Scientist Award for Excellence in Research
Dr. Lloyd Noel Ferguson (1918-2011)
Chemist and chemistry professor Dr. Lloyd Noel Ferguson was born on February 9, 1918 in Oakland, California. Ferguson’s interest in chemistry began when he was a child. He built a shed in his backyard so that he could conduct experiments away from his house. Ferguson skipped two grades, and although an illness kept him out of school for a year, he was able to graduate from Oakland Tech High School in 1934, when he was just sixteen years old. In 1936, Ferguson became the first in his family to attend college. He earned his B.S. degree with honors in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1940. Ferguson then earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1943, making him the first African American to do so. While at UC-Berkeley, Ferguson worked with Dr. Melvin Calvin on a national defense project, the purpose of which was to find a material that would release oxygen for use in a submarine, if it were ever needed.
In 1955, Dr. Ferguson became a full professor of chemistry at Howard University, and shortly after, became the head of the chemistry department. During his tenure, Ferguson was instrumental in building the first doctoral program in chemistry at any historically black college or university. In 1952 he was elected to the prestigious American Chemical Society. In 1965, Ferguson joined the faculty of California State University, Los Angeles, where he chaired the department of chemistry from 1968 to 1971.
Dr. Ferguson helped to develop programs such as Support of the Educationally and Economically Disadvantaged and the Minority Biomedical Research Program that encourage young minority students wishing to pursue higher education and careers in the science. As a result of this experience, in 1972, Ferguson co-founded the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE).
Dr. Ferguson received an honorary doctorate from Howard University, and was honored with a named scholarship from California State University.
The table below summarizes the winners of the NOBCChE Lloyd N. Ferguson Young Scientist Award for Research Excellence.