Richard Price Biography
Dr. Richard L. Price—"Doc Price"—an associate professor of mathematics at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, has had a long and distinguished career in academics. He has devoted himself to recruiting black students to Lamar, to mentoring students, and to preparing them for careers in engineering, mathematics, and the sciences.
Price served 13 months of combat duty in Korea as a U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Prairie View A&M University of Texas, a historically black university about 40 miles from Houston. He earned his master's degree in mathematics with a minor in philosophy from the University of Texas in Austin. Price began his teaching career at Prairie View A&M University in September of 1956. During a leave-of-absence from Prairie View, he studied at Iowa State University, the University of California-Los Angeles, and Ohio State University (OSU) with the assistance of National Science Foundation and Academic Year Institute grants. Price earned his doctoral degree in mathematics education from OSU.
In August of 1970 Price joined the Department of Mathematics at Lamar as an associate professor. During the early 1970s, he again took a leave of absence, this time to study religion at Yale Divinity School were he earned a master's degree in religion in 1972. During this period Price also served as associate director of the engineering program at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. At Lamar Price taught trigonometry, precalculus and calculus, and analytical geometry. Over the years he also taught at Central State University, a historically black public university in Wilberforce, Ohio, at Ohio Northern University, and Michigan State University.
At Lamar, Price served as the College of Engineering's Director of Minority Recruitment and Retention. The LU News Website quoted Dr. Price: "The minority recruiting and retention program is committed to providing scholarships, internships, and other opportunities for traditionally under represented students." Under Price the program partnered with various companies and organizations—including the DuPont Corporation and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering—to provide educational opportunities for eligible students.
Although many black freshmen entered Lamar's engineering program, a large number dropped out by the end of their first year. Price helped his students found a chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and served as the chapter's advisor. The NSBE is a 15,000-member organization that works to increase the participation of black Americans in the engineering professions. As the Lamar chapter raised scholarship funds for black engineering students, retention improved. Entrepreneur and businessman Paul Fregia, a 1981 Lamar graduate, told Lamar University's Cardinal Cadence in the spring of 2004: "People like Dr. Richard Price were pillars in my life—people who helped me to believe that I could take the next step, and that my dreams could be endless."
Dr. Price served on the National Advisory Board of the NSBE for 20 years. He advised NBSE student leaders on membership issues and contributed significantly to the creation and development of NSBE's Pre-College Initiative for encouraging middle- and high-school African American students in math and science. In announcing Price's retirement from the board in 2002, Chairman Gary S. May said: "For Doc Price's unprecedented tenure on the National Advisory Board and his innumerable contributions to our growth as the premier organization for African American engineering students and professionals, each of us owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude." Following his retirement from the board, Price remained active in regional NSBE chapters.
Dr. Price received the 2004 Golden Torch Award for Lifetime Achievement in Academia from the NSBE. Golden Torches are awarded to individuals, academic institutions, and corporations who exemplify the NSBE's mission—as quoted on the NSBE Web site announcing the recipients—"to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community." Michele Lezama, the NSBE's executive director, was quoted on the Lamar NSBE Chapter web page: "As in past years, the Golden Torch Awards are NSBE's way of honoring and expressing its gratitude for the past and future accomplishments of its awardees, while also paving a path for young, aspiring black engineers to navigate toward their own personal and professional success."
In addition to his work with the Minority Engineering Program at Lamar, Price worked with the Golden Triangle-Texas Alliance for Minority Engineering (GT-TAME). In January of 2005, in honor of Dr. Price, GT-TAME announced the establishment of the Dr. Richard L. Price Endowment Scholarship for Engineering Students at Lamar University, to be administered by the Lamar University Foundation. The scholarship honored Doc Price's many years of service to Lamar students and others in the Golden Triangle—the Beaumont-Port Arthur area of Texas. The scholarship is earmarked for full-time Lamar undergraduates majoring in engineering, math, or science who have maintained a minimum overall-grade-point average of 2.75. The scholarship rotates among each of the departments on an annual basis. Janice Trammel, executive director of the Lamar Foundation, was quoted in a Lamar news release: "Scholarships are critical to the university's ability to attract and retain students. What better way to honor a faculty member who has devoted much of his time to recruit students to Lamar." The scholarship was endowed by Lamar parents, students, friends, faculty, and alumni. The Lamar Mathematician quoted Oscar Polk, a Lamar graduate: "Eastman Chemical Company would like to pay honor to Dr. Richard L. Price for the excellent job he has done over the years with the Minority Engineering Program at Lamar, his demonstrated commitment to the GT-TAME organization, along with his contributions as a National, Regional, and Chapter Advisor to the National Society of Black Engineers."
Between 2003 and 2005 Dr. Price was a member of the Lamar University long-range planning committee. As of 2005 he continued to serve as the Director of Minority Recruitment and Retention for Lamar's College of Engineering and as chairman of the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering.
Cardinal Cadence (Lamar University), March-May 2004, p. 28.
"The Dr. Richard L. Price, I Minority Scholarship in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science," Lamar Mathematician, www.220.127.116.11/u/Lamar?q=cache:h3KcD-0rioAJ:www.math.lamar.edu/newsletter/news_v3_n2.asp+%22lamar+mathematician%22&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 (February 24, 2005).
"Josephine Smalls Miller Esq. National Society of Black Engineers' National Advisory Board," National Society of Black Engineers, The Multicultural Advantage, www.multiculturaladvantage.com/contentmgt/anmviewer.asp?a=350&z=80&isasp= (February 8, 2005).
"LU Engineering College Receives Dupont Grant," News@LU, www.lamar.edu/news/story.asp?ID=222 (February 8, 2005).
"National Society of Black Engineers Announces 2004 Golden Torch Awards Winners," National Society of Black Engineers, www.nsbe.org/publicrelations/gtawinners.php (February 24, 2005).
"National Society of Black Engineers 2004 Golden Torch Awards Winners" National Society of Black Engineers, www.nsbe.org/publicrelations/winner_bios.php (February 24, 2005).
"Price Scholarship to Help Lamar Engineering, Math and Science Students," Lamar University, www.lamar.edu/news/story.asp?ID=898 (February 24, 2005).
"The 2004 Golden Torch Award Recipient," Lamar University NSBE Chapter, www.hal.lamar.edu/~nsbe/advisor.html (February 24, 2004).
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