George C. Royal
George Calvin Royal Jr (born August 5, 1921) is one of the few remaining first-generation African-American microbiologists to receive a Ph.D in the United States and from an Ivy League institution, and was part of one of the few African-American husband-and-wife teams in Science with Gladys W. Royal Ph.D. George C. Royal is currently professor emeritus at Howard University.
Royal was born in Williamston, South Carolina, in 1921, the oldest boy of nine children of African-American and Native American descent. His father, George Sr., owned an auto garage there before migrating his family to Urbana, Ohio, during the Great Depression. Dr. Royal has six children: George Calvin Royal III, Geraldine Gynnette Royal, Guericke Christopher Royal, jazz musician Gregory Charles Royal, Michelle Renee McNear, and Eric Marcus Royal.
College and early professional career
Royal attended Tuskegee Institute from 1939 to 1943, earning a B.S. in Biology before serving in the Army in World War II as a munitions sergeant, ending at the Battle of the Bulge in 1945. After the war, he attended the University of Wisconsin, where he received an M.S. in Microbiology in 1947. Royal took on positions as Bacteriology instructor at Tuskegee in 1947-48; research assistant at Ohio State University and Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station from 1948 to 1952. He was assistant professor of Bacteriology at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro from 1952 to 1955.
Ph.D and beyond
In 1955 Royal gained admission to the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution, where he received his Ph.D in microbiology as a predoctoral fellow in 1957. Dr. Royal was associate and professor of Bacteriology at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro from 1957 to 1965; and in 1959 he served a summer research fellowship for the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Biology Division, at Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies. He was the dean of the Graduate School at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro from 1961 to 1965. Following a postdoctoral study in allergy and hypersensitivity and an assistant professorship in Microbiology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia from 1965 to 1966, he joined the faculty of Howard University from 1966 to 1993. He became professor emeritus in 1993.
African-American husband - wife team
Royal married Gladys Geraldine Williams in 1947 while attending the University of Wisconsin. Gladys W. Royal (1926–2001) was an African-American biochemist, who graduated from Dillard University at the age of 18 and would receive her Ph.D from Ohio State University in 1956 by the age of 29- a rare feat for an African-American female in the 1950s. The Royals would collaborate on important research including that funded by the Atomic Energy Commission involving bone marrow transplants to treat radiation overdoses.
African-American husband-and-wife teams in science were extremely rare in the early and mid-20th century due to the social, educational and economic climate regarding African Americans in the United States.
Important research presented
Atomic Energy Commission Grants for Bone Marrow Transplants with Gladys W. Royal:
1) Fifth International Congress on Nutrition Washington, DC 1960
2) International Congress on Histochemistry and Cytochemistry Paris, France 1960
National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation Grants:
Collaborations at Howard University with Dr. Calvin Sampson to develop serological procedures having prognostice value in candidiasis; with Dr. Arvind Nandedkar to study antigenic compounds associated with Candida albicans; with Dr. Robert Watkins and Dr. Arvind Nandedkar to develop antibodies to nortriptyline as a method of reducing toxicity; and with Dr. Richard Garden in the department of Oral Surgery to study the effects of Peridex (Procter & Gamble) on the growth of clinical isolates of Candida species.
Important non-academic positions held
Dean of the Graduate School North Carolina A&T College 1961-65
President American Society of Microbiology 1980 Washington, DC.
Board of Directors Concordia College
- Wini Warren, Black Women Scientists in the United States, Indiana University Press, 1999.
- "Husband-Wife Team's Project Draws International Interest", Afro-American, September 10, 1960, p. 10.
- "Physical Chemists", in Contributions of Black Women in America, ed. Marianna W. Davis, vol. 2 (Columbia, SC Kenday Press, 1982), pp. 446–447.
Howard University Published Program "George C. Royal, Jr, Ph.D" Professor Emeritus of Microbiology circa 2005