Interviewees

Hyndman, Arnold Part 1

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  • Interviewee: Hyndman, Arnold
  • PDF Interview
  • Date: March 28, 2016
  • Place: Piscataway, New Jersey
  • Interviewers:
    • William Buie
  • Transcript Production Team:
    • Jesse Braddell
    • William Buie
    • Arnold Hyndman
    • Donald Koger
  • Recommended Citation: Hyndman, Arnold. Oral History Interview, March 28, 2016, by William Buie, Page #, Rutgers Oral History Archives. Online: Insert URL (Last Accessed: Insert Date).
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William Buie:  This begins an interview with William Buie and Arnold Hyndman.       

Arnold Hyndman:  Hyndman.

WB:  Hyndman, thank you.  We are in Piscataway, New Jersey on March 28, 2016.  Thank you for having me.  To begin with, can you tell me when and where you were born?

AH:  I was born in Los Angeles, California in 1952. 

WB:  Can you tell me a little bit about your parents?

AH:  Sure.  My father was a civil servant for the state of California.  My mother was a homemaker.  Both had a high school education, so I was the first in my family to have an opportunity to go to college; that was significant.  Both my younger sister and I have advanced degrees and that's something that my parents instilled--the importance of education in us--at a very early age.

WB:  Were your parents originally from California? 

AH:  My father was born in Alton, Illinois on a farm there.  My mother was born in Wilmington, North Carolina and was raised in New York City.

WB:  Do you know around what time they came to California?

AH:  Actually, my parents met in 1951.  Right before they got married my mother was visiting California, visiting some friends and mutual friends asked my dad to show her around.  They fell in love and got married in three weeks. 

WB:  Okay.

AH:  So, that was pretty neat, and then, ten months later I was born. 

WB:  So, tell me a little bit about your childhood.  What are some of the sights and smells and sounds that you remember from growing up?

AH:  I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, I remember my family being a loving family.  We attended church.  We were church going people, so that was certainly an important part of my life as a child.  I remember my parents working hard--my mom as a homemaker and my dad trying to provide the best he could for us as we were growing, my sister and I.  So, the thing I remember most is their sacrifices for education and their expectations for both me and my sister in terms of excelling and doing well in what we were doing at that time.  I can remember, particularly, my mother saying as a young black male it was important that I be better than the rest to get through life, and so she instilled that sense of expectation of excellence in me and in my sister as well and I took to that.  So, I remember doing well in school and that being an important part of acceptance and expectation in my family and sports was another big part, wanting to fit in.  Athletics and connecting with my peers was also a big part in shaping who I was as a young person.  My parents exposed me to lots of different things, so there was music, there were the arts, and the expectation of one did well.  They worked to try and get my sister and myself in good schools and had an expectation that we performed well. 

WB:  So, let's talk about your early education a little bit.  Where did you go to grammar school?

AH:  I went to grammar school at, it was our neighborhood school.  It was called Virginia Road Elementary School.

WB:  Okay.

AH:  It was four blocks away from our home.  Then, after elementary school my parents managed to get me a transfer to not our neighborhood junior high school, which was there in the inner city, but actually to a junior high school across town.  It was a predominantly Jewish junior high school, John Burroughs Junior High School, and it was known as one of the better schools in the city.  Every school district at that time had a limited number of transfer students out of the area that were allowed in their school and my dad had to camp out over a weekend in order to get me out into that school and he did that.  That was part of his wanting the best for his kids.  My sister, who's four years younger than I, also attended that same school, same process, and then, I went on to Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, also a mixed school, but predominantly white school, probably about sixty percent Jewish, about twenty percent African American, a few Latino kids there as well, also a very good school.  It prepared me for the next step in my education.  So, that was part of the message that my parents sent--we sacrificed and there was an expectation that I live up to what they hoped. 

WB:  What year did you enter high school?

AH:  I entered high school in 1967.  I graduated in 1970. 

WB:  Okay.  Did you ever have any jobs through high school or even before?

AH:  I remember one job.  I worked as a locker attendant in a public swimming pool. 

WB:  Okay.

AH:  So, that was, I think the job I remember most in high school, my first real job, and that was an enlightening experience because it was working for someone else.  It was hard work and at that point I recognized that labor was not what I wanted to do and that school was really important.  So, having that first job was a real learning experience for me in terms of an appreciation of some of the things that my parents had said.  It was a job I had, I think, for two years in high school, and then, my senior year and after I graduated from high school I actually was in a program in high school where I had training as a laboratory technician.  I knew I had an interest in science at a very young age and I decided--actually when I was twelve I remember coming home and saying to my parents that I was going to pursue a PhD in science.  At a very early age that was sort of my sense of what I wanted to do and when I took my first life science course as an eighth grader in junior high school I knew that it was going to be life sciences and biology that intrigued me and that that was the path that I wanted to pursue, which was sort of a different path than many in my community were suggesting or recommending back in those days.  If you were African American and intelligent, you became a teacher, a preacher, or a physician and none of those things particularly interest me in that I thought I wanted to do something a little different and so science became my early passion. 

WB:  Were your teachers supportive of your decision to pursue science?

AH:  Yes, I had very supportive teachers all along the way.  That was really a hallmark of helping to shape me, and that wasn't just my parents that were supportive.  I can remember I had a teacher in the fourth grade, Mrs. Akins.  She was an extraordinary woman who was really good at encouraging the students in her class and I can remember that she would, on occasion, call me up to her desk, just me, and kind of whisper in my ear, "You can do anything you want.  You can be the first"--she would use this word because that was the term at the time--"You can be the first negro president if you want."  While politics didn't interest me, there was something about that notion of her saying, "You can do anything you want," that, even as a fourth grader, sparked something in me.  Looking back on what she said to me and I thought it was special and just for me; I do recall that she would on occasions, call up other kids in the class and whisper something in their ear.  From that fourth grade class in an inner city elementary school, four of my classmates went on to Ivy League schools as undergraduates and three others went on to UC Berkeley and a few others to UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles].  In retrospect, I think that was because of those things that she whispered in their ear, probably the same thing she said to me. It made a difference in the lives of those boys and girls in that fourth grade classroom.  It's a pretty extraordinary story that certainly has sparked how I, as an educator, try to influence young people too. 

WB:  Can you tell me a little bit about the lab job that you had? 

AH:  Yes, in high school they had a program for students.  They provided training in how to work as laboratory technicians, mainly animal care technicians.  We, after a year, were actually certified to be laboratory technicians and I landed a job at UCLA working in their animal lab--my particular interest was not to be a technician, but to be exposed as much as I could to laboratory sciences in the inner workings of laboratories--so it provided some real significant income, beyond what one could typically earn as a high school student, and got me in that environment, so I was really appreciative of that and actually was beneficial later on in my college career.  I managed to parlay that into some summer jobs and jobs during the academic year as an undergraduate, so that was a unique opportunity.  I was really fortunate along the way to have a couple of those kinds of opportunities as a high school student.  I had an opportunity to participate in a number of summer research programs, one in particular at USC, the University of Southern California, in their Marine animal laboratory. As a high school student, I was able to do some research along with a professor, and that also helped to shape my sense of what I wanted to do and it was very important in preparing me for the road ahead. 

WB:  Were these opportunities that you were seeking out on your own or were you being steered toward them or was it some combination of both?

AH:  It was really a combination of both.  I had a number of high school students who would tell me about things.  I also had school teachers who would steer me in the direction of opportunities.  I had a number of my high school teachers who would say, "You're good in science.  We heard about this special program.  You ought to apply."  So, yes, I had a lot of support along the way. 

WB:  Were you paying attention at all to politics during these mid to late '60s years?

AH:  A little bit, not probably as much as young people today, but I was certainly aware of what was going on in the late '60s in particular from a number of perspectives.  Certainly, the Civil Rights Movement and its influence had an important impact on my worldview in that, even though at some level it seemed distant, I could relate to it.  I remember in 1963, I believe it was, when there was the bombing of the church in Birmingham.  [Editor's Note:  On September 15, 1963, fifteen sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device detonated beneath the steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.  The explosion caused numerous casualties, including the deaths of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson, all of whom were fourteen years of age.  Carol Denise McNair also died as a result of the explosion; she was eleven years of age.  An FBI investigation concluded that four Ku Klux Klansmen--Thomas Edwin Blanton, Jr., Herman Frank Cash, Robert Edward Chambliss and Bobby Frank Cherry--were responsible for the attack.] That had a real powerful impact on me because I was the same age as those young people and my Sunday school class was in the basement of my church.  I happened to be in Los Angeles.  They were in Birmingham, but at some level I remember thinking, "That could've been me."  There was no difference between those young people and myself in terms of how we looked, how we behaved and how some people felt about us, so there was that level of identification that impacted me at that early age, and I can remember watching scenes of marches on Selma and other thing, and seeing kids being hosed with firehoses or having German shepherds attack them and recognizing, there again, that those are people who could've been me other than the grace of God and my particular geography.  [Editor's Note:  On March 7 and 9, 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr.  led two unsuccessful marches from Selma Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama.  Both were met with blockades and beatings from Alabama state police, led by Governor George Wallace.  On March 21st, with the protection of federalized National Guard soldiers and regular Army soldiers, King and his demonstrators began their march and reached the capital on March 25th.]

While I wouldn't say I was particularly politically active, I was, certainly in my later junior high school and high school years, aware of what was going on and certainly had a view and a perspective about those things that was kind of typical of the time.  So, certainly, I remember the Watts Riots because those were an important event in my own community and seeing what happened there and certainly that had an influence on understanding some of the frustrations, but not agreeing with how they played out.  [Editor's Note:  On August 11, 1965, longstanding tensions between residents of the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, the city government of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department came to a head in the form of riots.]  So, those things were certainly an influence.  My dad was politically conservative so he had great sympathy, but his view was, "Don't you get involved in those things," and so that was sort of my perspective on that. 

I can remember as well, '68, when Dr.  Martin Luther King was assassinated and a number of us African American students we walked out of class that day, refused to be in class.  [Editor's Note:  On April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, James Earl Ray shot and killed Martin Luther King, Jr.] I remember I missed a biology test because I refused to stay in class and I marched out with the other African American students that day.  There were some students who were more violent.  I wasn't inclined to that.  I didn't agree that that was the nature of what should happen.  I didn't think that all white people were our enemy.  I had a lot of white and Jewish friends, they and their parents welcomed me into their home and my family welcomed them into our home.  So, I didn't have that hostility, but I understood the frustration and certainly recognized that in some way I might, as life progressed, have an opportunity to do something about it, but from my viewpoint, both because of the encouragement, I think, of my dad, believed that education and interactions of the mind were the way to go, so that sort of shaped my view in those early days. 

WB:  Did you follow Vietnam? 

AH:  Not so much.  A little bit later in college that was certainly an issue.  I don't think I was in favor of the war.  At that time, as an undergraduate, I had a draft deferment.  As a high school student I had cousins who I remember went and fought, didn't understand all of the politics behind it, whether it was … As high school student, sort of saw both sides.  As it went on I became at least, typical of the time, certainly more sympathetic to the anti-war position, that I didn't think that it was a wise military action, but also understood and was sympathetic with the idea that our nation, or at least some of our leaders, felt like there was a communist threat that in some way needed to be addressed, and I didn't know if Vietnam was necessarily the right approach, but I sort of understood why some felt like communism was a threat to at least what I perceived as our democratic way of life. 

WB:  The walkout, how did your parents feel about that?

AH:  Actually, I don't think I told them.  I just did it.  It was an important life lesson because after the walkout, when we returned to class, I think it was the next day or so, my biology teacher, who actually was an Asian woman, said to me I couldn't retake the exam.  She said, "You're going to have to take an F on that exam.  That's going to impact on your grade."  She looked me right in the eye and she said, "When you make decisions, be man enough to face the consequences."  While I was a little surprised, because I had this expectation, that she, as a teacher of color, would have some understanding. I instantly respected the position she took and didn't complain about it.  I said, "I made a decision."  I didn't regret the decision at that time and said, "I'll face the consequences," and that was a life lesson for me.  That when you make decisions, good or bad, hard or not, emotional or intellectual, be willing to face the consequences of those decisions.  So, while I didn't appreciate the grade, I did appreciate the life lesson. 

WB:  One more question about your high school years.  You had some well-paying jobs.  What did you do with your money?

AH:  I saved my money, believe it or not.  The idea was I didn't know where I was going to go to college and what college would be like, so I was a saver and so I said, "Well, I'm going to put this money aside and be able to use it to help my parents with my college education," because while there was hope that there would be scholarships or some opportunities to go to school at some reduced cost, they didn't know.  As an eleventh or twelfth grader, there were no guarantees, so if I could put a couple thousand dollars into the pot I thought that would be a good thing.  So, I saved most of that money. 

WB:  Speaking of college, where did you go?  How did that decision come about? 

AH:  I went to Princeton University as an undergraduate.  It was probably a mixture of things. 

WB:  I am sorry.  In what year did you enroll?

AH:  In '70, graduated in '74.  My thinking was like most students at the top of their class in Southern California, you think UCLA, maybe Berkeley, maybe Stanford, so those were the places that were sort of on my radar, but it was actually our family physician who said to my dad, I remember it was one office visit, he said, "Arnold is really smart.  He has a lot of potential and my daughter is meeting with a college recruiter who is representing a number of schools from the Ivy League and I'd like to setup a meeting for your son so he can talk to this recruiter about the possibility of going to an Ivy League school."  So, my dad said, "Well, what's it going to cost?"  He said, "No, there's no cost.  I'll take care of it all."  So, I met with this recruiter and he started talking to me about places like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, kind of the other side of the world, places I hadn't thought about, and there was something about that that intrigued me.  Some of it was sort of the typical teenage, maybe rebelling, the most rebellion I ever at least expressed was, "Yes, it would be good to get further away from home, a little bit out of the reach of mom and dad."  Not that my parents were oppressive.  They were good parents, but I just thought, "I need some space."  Also there was some tension we had as I was developing my own political ideas and they were very different from my parents' at the time that I thought to have some distance might be a good thing, an opportunity for just a new start in a new environment and that sort of intrigued me a little bit about that prospect.  So, I thought, "Why not apply and let's see what happens?"  So, I did and managed to get into Princeton and I'm really glad that I made that choice. 

WB:  How did that conversation go with your parents? 

AH:  Oh, they were really supportive of my pursuing what they thought was the best educational opportunity.  They knew that it might entail some financial sacrifices for them, but they were willing to do that, it was sort of consistent with their view of me shooting for the top, so that's what I did yes.  They were really, very supportive.   I enrolled.  I received a partial scholarship that paid for most of my education; the little money that I had saved up helped a bit.  My mom took a part-time job to help with some additional income for those years that I was at Princeton. 

WB:  Was that your first time on the East Coast?

AH:  Yes, it was, first time on the East Coast.  My parents put me on an airplane and because my mom grew up in New York she had some relatives and friends in New York [who] met me at JFK, and that was my first time on the East Coast.  So, that was certainly a learning experience as well.  A lot of things I had to grow and adjust.  I remember the first cold morning when the sun shining bright, I walked outside with my jeans, t-shirt, and my jeans jacket and I realized that was not going to be enough.  I remember a roommate who was from Dallas and I, we walked to the Princeton Army-Navy store to buy some winter clothes.  Yes, there were some adjustments, but it was great and I'm really glad that I had that experience. 

WB:  Did you declare a major right away?

AH:  I knew I was going to be a biology major right away.  Princeton, you don't officially declare your major until your junior year, but I began taking introductory biology my freshman year and chemistry and physics and knew that was going to be the direction I was going to go. 

WB:  How did you find your professors at Princeton?  Were they as encouraging, less encouraging than your high school experience?

AH:  It was pretty much what expected for the most part--very encouraging, very supportive of me and all of the students that were there.  There were some differences at Princeton than before.  I knew, for example, I didn't have the luxury of cutting class like some of my colleagues because when there are only two or three African Americans in the class, you're going to get noticed, especially in smaller classes.  I mean the largest class I had at Princeton was probably two hundred students, but most of my science classes was fifty, sixty students as a freshman or in my second year, so you were noticed if you weren't in class, and so whether that was a burden or not, it's hard to look back on.  It was just part of what I recognized that I needed to do.  We stood out, we were there and my goal was just to prove I was just as good as my other classmates. 

WB:  Let me circle back to something.  You mentioned sports.  Did you play sports in high school? 

AH:  Yes, I did.  For the most part I focused on track, so I ran track in high school and also in college.

WB:  Okay.  What races did you run?

AH:  I was a 400 and 800-meter runner in college.  High school, I ran what was the mile and the half-mile.  Then, I switched to half-mile and quarter-mile in college which during my college years track and field converted to meters, so I became an 800 and 400-meter runner.  So, that was a great experience.  I'm really glad that I did that.  It allowed me to connect with lots of people and in fact, even at Princeton, one of the most influential individuals during my time at Princeton--I think there were two that particularly stick out, but one of them was my track coach who was Larry Ellis.  Larry Ellis was the first African American head coach in the Ivy League.  He was actually hired my freshman year and he was a great coach; ended up also serving as a coach for the U.S.  Olympics, but I remember some of the banter amongst Princeton alums about the hiring of Larry Ellis.  There were some who were supportive and there were others who weren't supportive and in my view it was because of his race, and I watched Coach Ellis handle that fire with grace and dignity.  That certainly became, for me, a model for how to handle such bigotry, and he went about doing his job, extremely well.  He proved them all wrong, and today the track stadium is named for Coach Ellis as an indication of,  how Princeton has come to recognize his contributions not just to sports, but to the men and women that he coached.

WB:  That's interesting.  Can you tell me something about some of your other role models? 

AH:  Well, there was Dr. Arnold Levine who was in the biology department.  He was an important role model for me and shaping my career as a scientist.  I worked in his laboratory as a junior.  His particular interest was in cancer and cancer research and he certainly encouraged me in that field, but one of the things that he said to me was, in thinking about my career, he said, "It's important to think about a career not based on what you think is significant today, but plan a career that will serve you well for thirty or forty years."  That spoke to me and its advice that I give young people even today.  In fact, and I've talked to Dr. Levine a number of times since then.  We stayed in contact for a number of years and I actually decided at that point in time to shift from cancer research to neural science, which is what my area of expertise is.  Based on what Dr. Levine said, I decided that I would start to look at what I thought were the burgeoning fields in the science.  At that time, neuroscience was really in its infancy as a sub-discipline within life sciences, but it had a lot of potential. 

I was also interested in just this whole idea of education and there was a sense that, "Gee, if we understood how the brain worked, how the brain developed, that would be making a contribution, not only to science, but maybe some of those insights can be useful in the thing that was also important and that was the whole idea of education and certainly as an African American, I grew up believing that education was an important part of what would be important for the advancement of our people, so I was interested in education and educational opportunities, and at some level that was instilled in me by my parents as I've mentioned.  If I can give a little back story, my dad wanted to be a teacher and when he finished high school he had asked his mother if he could go on to college and he wanted to go to a teacher's college in Illinois.  My grandmother, who had a sixth grade education, my grandfather had a second grade education felt like, my dad was the second of eight children--two boys and six girls, two boys were first--they felt like they had done a lot for their boys.  They had given them more than they had.  They had given them high school education and my grandmother said, "No, you need to go out and get a job now."  So, my dad said he was really hurt by that.  "In retrospect," he said, "college then would've cost him eighteen dollars a semester," which, when we think about that today, it doesn't seem like a lot of money, but for my grandparents at that time it seemed like a lot of money.  My grandfather was a farmer.  He provided for his family, and then, sold excess produce and milk to make ends meet, and my grandmother cleaned homes for wealthy white people who lived on the other side of town, and they had other children to care for, so I understand at some level that perspective, but that desire remained, I think, with my dad. 

When I was at Princeton, it was actually the end of my second year, my dad said to me, because I had told him what my goal was--pursue a PhD in science--and I remember my dad, one day when I was home for one of my vacations.  I don't remember if it was the summer or Christmas vacation, because I would come home only at those times.  In fact, a couple of summers I stayed in New Jersey and worked, but I would come home when I could.  That's one of the ways I would spend some of my money that I had saved from my high school years, because I would pay my airfare to fly home so my parents wouldn't have that burden for Christmas holiday or summer that I came home.  I remember my dad saying, "I'm really glad that you're going to pursue this PhD thing.  I don't know if this is going to work out for you.  I don't really understand it, but you ought to think of something as a backup.  So, you ought to think about the possibility of maybe being a teacher and getting your teaching certificate and I heard at Princeton that started a new program.  I understand they have a teacher's preparation program.  Why don't you look into that and see if you can get a teaching certificate because if it doesn't work out, this PhD thing, you can always be a teacher."  I don't know how he found out about this because there was no internet in those days; he must've read the Princeton catalog.  I remember thinking, while I didn't say this, that, "I didn't have any doubt that I was going to get a PhD and make it as a scientist" and I had mellow a little bit, so I didn't want to be arrogant and say that to my dad.  I also knew about his aspirations and so I said to myself, "I'm going to honor my dad by doing this."  I went back to school.  I found out it would require me taking a couple of extra courses and some of  would meet my distribution, my general education requirements, so I said, "One or two courses, some student teaching, it's not going to be a big deal and I'm just going to honor my dad in this way."  So, I did that.

What happened was I fell in love with teaching.  I fell in love with the interaction with young people, the opportunity, through the student teaching, to impact on young people's lives in the way that my life had been impacted by those educational mentors that I had.  So, that was a pleasant surprise and it was part of the motivation for wanting to shift to become a neuroscientist, was I had this thing about education and I was thinking about science, so let's learn about how the brain works as a scientist in some way, and if I pursue a career as a professor, some of these skills that I've learned as an educator will come into play, so it fit really well. 

I can remember doing my student teaching as a senior.  I taught genetics to fifth graders and at that time there was a notion that you couldn't teach such advanced science to younger children and so I did research on the psychology of the mind, looked at some of Piaget's writings, and said, "No, they can perfectly handle some of this if it's handled in the right way."  I wrote my senior dissertation, in fact, on teaching higher science to junior high school students.  [Editor's Note:  Jean Piaget was a clinical psychologist who is famous for his research and work, especially in the cognitive development of children.] I did that in part because I said to Dr.  Levine that I wanted to try to pursue some combination of neuroscience, science, and education; at Princeton all students are required to write a senior thesis.  He allowed me to pursue this, saying, "I'll continue to be your faculty mentor, but you got to find someone else in the teacher preparation program to also be your co-mentor and I will allow you to write your dissertation on some aspect of science teaching if that's what you want to do."  His view was, pursuing a career in neuroscience makes a lot of sense, because he had a sense that neuroscience would be a burgeoning and important field in the future.  He said, "cancer research," which is what I thought I was interested in at the time, he said, "You know, by the time you're thirty or forty we're either going to solve the issue of cancer or it's going to be so difficult that we won't be able to solve it all.  So, you want to try this neuroscience thing."  Since then I've remind Dr. Levine, of that conversation.  He doesn't remember that part, but I think I clearly do.  [laughter] He was an important mentor for me, Dr.  Levine, because what he demonstrated to me as a scientist was a compassion to listen to young people and to have them pursue the things that interest them and he was flexible enough to be a partner in pursuing them.  So, he was an important role model for me as a scientist by the example that he had, both in terms of his demands for excellence in his laboratory and the laboratory work that I did with him, but also because of his flexibility and giving me room to kind of explore new avenues in my career. 

WB:  You also ran track when you were at Princeton.  Did you do any other extracurricular activities, any clubs or student organizations? 

AH:  For the most part, the track and the science were my biggest activities.  I think my senior year I was involved with our student government to promote athletics, especially non-football and basketball athletics in the Ivy League, so I did some of that.  I was certainly involved in our black student association as an undergraduate and that was probably the hallmark other than sort of typical party and social life that we had as students.  It was mainly the science and the athletics. 

WB:  How did you get along with the other students, those in your department and those …

AH:  Outside of my department? 

WB:  Yes.

AH:  Well, at that time, the African American population at Princeton was relatively small and we were a close-knit group, so, at that time, they allowed us to pick our roommates, and so for the most part African American students lived with other African American students.  So, at some level, we lived a very segregated life on that campus from a social perspective.  Lived with and hung out with students of color, for the most part, so my interactions with white students were predominantly in the classroom or the friends that I had on the track team.  Those interactions were positive, but at that time, and that history at Princeton is very different today, but at that time there were two worlds, theirs and ours.  It's just the way things were in the early '70s. 

WB:  Do you remember some of the names of the other African American students you were friends with or interacted with?

AH:  Yes, I do, yes, and I'm still in contact with some of them.  So, you know, my roommates stayed in close contact with them and with others, and we still interact when I go back for Princeton reunions on occasion.  We still maintain some contact, yes. 

WB:  I am curious; did you know Lawrence Ham? 

AH:  Not very well, but I knew the name, yes. 

WB:  Okay.

AH:  He was older than I was, yes.

WB:  Okay.  Just because he was one of the youngest people to sit on City School Board in Newark, New Jersey.  I think he was a track star in high school, but I am not sure if he ran track while you were there, just curious.  Did you spend any time around the town of Princeton?

AH:  Not a lot of time around the town of Princeton other than the stores and the shops and what have you.  Sometimes of course we would venture in the small African American community that was there a few blocks down Witherspoon Street in Princeton, so that's where you go to get your haircut.  That's where you got to buy your records, your 45s or your LPs, but I didn't spend a lot of time, like a typical student to the shops or the restaurants or the fast-food places that were there on the Main Street or Nassau Street. 

WB:  You mentioned music before growing up, and then, you mention music again.  What were some of the acts you listened to or enjoyed seeing?

AH:  Well, as a child, actually, until I was, well through junior high school I actually played the violin. 

WH:  Okay.

AH:  So, I was in California Junior Philharmonic as a junior high schooler.  I continued to play a bit in high school, stopped shortly thereafter, but then I, in high school, sort of liked the typical soul music that was popular at that time.  In college I continued to like that kind of music so Four Tops, Temptations, Spinners, but also developed a love for jazz.  So, I started to listen to jazz and so listened to Quincy Jones and Grant Green and others and Herbie Hancock, and Nina Simone was an important jazz influence at that time, so a mixture of jazz and sort of the popular music of the day. 

WB:  Did your parents ever come visit you?

AH:  No, they didn't.  They did come for my graduation, but didn't come to visit me when I was a student in school.

WB:  You graduated in '74?

AH:  Correct.

WB:  As you were coming to the end of your undergraduate career, I think it's safe to say you were preparing for graduate work.

AH:  That's right. 

WB:  Talk to me about that decision, where you ultimately ended up.

AH:  Okay.  Well, by that time I had done a lot of reading on my own about neuroscience and development of neuroscience and thinking about places to go.  I was really interested in two places--Purdue University where there was an individual who was doing a lot of work on the effects of early nutrition on brain development because my interest sort of in education and nutritional issues and their impact on brain development and brain function, I thought that would be a good laboratory to work in, so I applied there.  I also applied to UCLA for two reasons--one I thought I was ready to go home again.  I enjoyed four years at Princeton.  In fact, said to many of my college roommates, a number of whom were from the east coast, that I was done with the east coast and I wasn't coming back and that I was going to return to Southern California.  The other place I considered was UCLA, in part, because they had a very strong neuroscience program.  They had a brain research institute with researchers doing all kinds of neuroscience and so I ultimately went to UCLA.  In the biology department they had a strong component of five or six biologists who were doing neuroscience there, but I also knew that there was this institute that provided for me opportunities to pick a laboratory and a mentor that might suit my interests.  I was strongly leaning towards Purdue.  I actually had contact with the professor there, his name was Joseph Altman and spoke with him and he was certainly interested in me as a potential student, but would not guarantee that he would take me in his laboratory.  He said, "Come, see how you perform as a student first here at Purdue and, if things work out, and then working my lab will be a possibility."  I rejected that and decided to go to UCLA, in part because Dr.  Altman was the only neuroscientist, that I was aware of, that I wanted to work with at Purdue and I knew that there were multiple neuroscientists at UCLA. I felt that if I didn't click with Dr.  Altman, then I'd be stuck in Purdue.  I said, "Even though I didn't have a commitment from anyone at UCLA," I thought my options were greater there."  So, that's in part why I selected UCLA over Purdue.  Had Dr. Altman said, "Yes, I will definitely take you in my laboratory," I probably would've gone there, but he didn't, so I went to UCLA.  I'm really glad that I did for a whole host of reasons, yes.  A great place, a great experience there, worked with a fantastic scientist in the area of brain development and looking at factors that influence early brain development and it proved to be, again, the hand of God was on me once again. 

WB:  I want to back up a second.  You mention religion being a big part of your life when you were in California.  Did you maintain or how did you sustain your faith while you were at Princeton?

AH:  Oh, that's a good question.  I actually went through a period … I was actively involved, I should add, both in junior high school and both in high school, in my church, my church youth groups, both on the local level as well as regional and state-wide level.  So, I was deeply engaged in that and had opportunities to continue exercising my faith and there were those who thought that I might even end up with becoming a minister as my calling.  I would preach once a month in high school, in our church during youth Sunday, and that was an important part of my life growing up for sure and the leadership opportunities helped to cultivate me as a leader, doing things beyond my local church and leading my church youth group on a state-wide level gave me opportunities to interact with other young people and adults across Southern California.  That was a great learning experience for me as well. 

I had other leadership opportunities from that and other things that came up as a fourteen-year-old.  I was on the mayor's Youth Advisory Council.  I was the youngest member of that.  Actually, I was co-chair of city-wide events for young people at that time.   That was then Mayor Sam Yorty who was a longtime mayor of Los Angeles in 19-; I want to say '69, maybe '68, '69.  I had an opportunity to continue on the mayor's Youth Advisory Council, but then councilman, actually the councilman of my district, Tom Bradley, ran his first campaign for mayor of Los Angeles against Mayor Yorty and that campaign became a really racist campaign on the part of Mayor Yorty--really playing of the fears of white citizens about the whole notion of having a black mayor and what that would mean and that soured me from wanting to be a part of the Advisory Council.  I had met with the mayor.  I had been in his office.  He had taken photographs with me.  It's one thing to want to run a political campaign, but to play it along those levels made me take a step back, particularly understanding everything else that was going on in '68, '69. 

So, that played a role in me, if I had to use a phrase that would be common today, it sort of radicalized my thinking.  So, I became very sympathetic to what was being said by Black Panthers and the Black Power Movement of that time.  Violence still wasn't an answer for me, but I understood why people wanted, needed to act violently.  I believed strongly in social protest and demand for the rights that people of, not just in the South, but it was clear now that it was in our community.   

Once when I was on the mayor's Youth Advisory Council, that was one of my last acts there, they took us on a tour of various county agencies and I remember going on a tour of the police headquarters.  We were walking through various parts and there were a mixed group of us, so there were probably only one or two African Americans there.  We walked through this room and I remember seeing these maps on the wall and I was always an observant individual. There was this one map with a red line around the portion of the city.  As I walked by, they didn't point this map out to us, they were taking us through this room, but because there were a larger number of us kids having to flow through a door I stopped in front of this map while the other kids walked through the door.  I realized that that map with that red outline was an outline of what I knew was the predominantly African American community and had been outlined on this map in police headquarters and that had a very chilling effect on me as a young African American at that time.  To see my community highlighted in that way.  There was no explanation.  It was just a map there and it was only because I knew the streets and I knew what was being defined there and I found that to be troubling that the black community in the police headquarters was marked off in that way.  So, I didn't see any other maps.  See, growing up and having friends who lived in the Jewish community, I knew where the Jewish community was.  I didn't see a map with that community highlighted in any way shape or form.  So, in the late '60s, certainly prior to that, but it was very clear there were some serious issues with the Los Angeles Police Department and so that influenced my thinking. 

So, I went through a period of time where I decided that my faith, even though we grew up in the church and at that time our church, the church that my parents went [to], was very involved in the Civil Rights Movement, so there was sensitivity to that issue.  Our pastor would routinely go and march with Dr.  King and we were very supportive of those kinds of things.  I just, at that time, was a little naïve, impatient young person. I didn't feel like change was happening fast enough and the church was powerful enough to be engaged in a way that I thought change was needed.  So, during that period of time I was at Princeton and even my graduate years I stopped going to church, except when I came home to visit.  I would go to church with my parents because I was still a good son, but on my own my faith was not a part of my life for a while.  I've returned, but there was a period of time where I didn't feel as though my faith was going to provide all the answers that I needed and I thought education and science would be the answer. 

WB:  So, now let's return to your graduate work.  You find a spot that you like.  What were those years like for you?

AH:  Those years for me were good years.  I was really immersed in what I was doing.  There were some challenges.  Certainly, one of the things that happened was that, at UCLA, very few students of color in our graduate programs.   I got involved with another African American student, his name was Floyd Banks.  The two of us when to the department to say, "We need more faculty of color.  We need more students of color here in the Department of Biology."  They gave us money to go on recruitment trips and to bring in more students of color.  So, I was engaged in that process. In the Department of Biology, there were only three African American students and the three of us tried to support each other.  

While I found the environment academically challenging, I would say at that time, at least in the biology department, the faculty weren't as supportive as I was used to having at Princeton.  So, ultimately, my thesis advisor was not in the Department of Biology, but in the Brain Research Institute.  Because we have that program and I can pick and choose people, I found a good connection, an individual who was very supportive of me and my career, but outside of my department, but it worked out, so there wasn't any bitterness.  The department was supportive of me trying to recruit more students of color, and have to do some travel to do that and we were able to increase the number of students of color in the biology department significantly.  I think I had some positive impact on the department.  There were some older school faculty members there at UCLA that just needed to have their minds renewed.  Floyd Banks, the other black graduate student and I were the two that really kind of drove this effort and we would play good cop-bad cop.  He was the bad cop and I was the good cop.  He was the angry black radical, right.  I was sort of the "reasonable" one.  Part of that were our personalities, but we understood what we were doing.  So, we would go into meetings to play that game.  You know, he'd get angry and slam his fist on the table and use profanity and all of this and I'd let him play his act and I'd say, "Alright, listen, this is what we need to do here.  Calm down, Floyd."  So, we would leave with what we knew we'd want and I can remember one faculty member at some point came up to me right before I was ready to graduate and get my PhD, I got my PhD in four years, which was pretty rapid for getting a PhD in the sciences.  A typical time at UCLA was four and four-and-a-half years.  Anyway, this faculty member came to me and he said, "Arnold, I'd like you to tell me how we can get more blacks like you."  I was really offended because I knew exactly what he meant.  He didn't want more intelligent blacks, because Floyd was a brilliant and very effective scientist as well, but he meant something totally different.  So, I looked at him and I said, "I can't help you there.  My parents only had two children--my sister and I."  He kind of turned a little pink because he knew I knew what he was saying as well.  So, there were people like that, but there were also faculty members who were helpful and supportive in my work and my research and helping me to put together a project and getting very successful and moving through my graduate years.  So, there again, it was typical of my experience, understanding that there are people from all perspectives and you learn how to navigate the system and do what you needed to do during that time.  So, my graduate years were really good in that sense. 

The other part of my graduate years that, I think, were important in my own life story is because I had that teaching credential.  During summers, after my graduation from Princeton, I taught in an Upward Bound program.  I don't know if your familiar with Upward Bound as a program, but it is a program designed to bring inner-city young people to college and university campuses and to prepare them for college life.  I had the opportunity to work in the program, because of my teaching credentials.  Working in that program was particularly meaningful for me because it gave me an opportunity to, while pursuing my graduate degree in neuroscience, also to be engaged in education in a way that was meaningful to help young people from my community to potentially have the same opportunities that I had.  I recognize that, in part, my opportunities to pursue my education were a great deal because of my parents and their worldview and their efforts to expose me to a world outside of my neighborhood and my community.  That was really important in expanding my world view.  I knew all of Los Angeles, not just the black community, because I had Jewish friends who lived on the other side of town.  So, I knew about going to the beach and hanging out in Cheviot Hills or Beverley Hills, as well as how to function in my own neighborhood and my own community.  I also knew there were some kids who, only by virtue of the fact that their parents didn't know or didn't have the opportunities to provide them those kinds of experiences, might not have the educational opportunities that I had.  Being able to teach in an Upward Bound program was meaningful for me in that way.  It also provided some extra income which was also a good thing, and the greatest benefit of it all was that I met my wife who was also working in the Upward Bound program there.  In my third year as a graduate student we met.  She was also working in the Upward Bound program as a summer intern.  She was a UCLA undergraduate and so when she graduated and I graduated we were married in a couple months, so a lot of good things that happened.

WB:  What year was that?

AH:  That I?

WB:  That you met your wife.

AH:  We met in '76.

WB:  You were married in?

AH:  '78. 

WB:  What is your wife's name?

AH:  Her name is Juliet. 

WB:  I am wondering if you could--as best you can--talk to me about the state of the field as you began your graduate work.

AH:  Okay.  UCLA was a great place to begin work in neuroscience.  There was a strong nucleus of neuroscientists there and probably in three or four other places in the country.  Harvard had a strong neuroscience program at that time.  Ohio State had a strong neuroscience program at the time, but there were very few that had very strong nucleus of neuroscience, but it was clear that it was emerging as an important field.  There were more neuroscience based journals that were emerging in the late '70s and early '80s, and so it was an exciting time to recognize that I really was on the cusp of something significant and I was pretty confident that it was going to be a successful track for me.  NIH [National Institute of Health] and NSF [National Science Foundation] were increasing their funding in the field of neuroscience in the late '70s and early '80s, and so the timing was really perfect for me from a funding perspective and from a perspective of the importance of the field as an important part of life science, so I was really happy with the choice.  I knew that I made the right choice. 

WB:  How did some of the other fields of science perceive neuroscience at the time with it being young, but also exciting?

AH:  Exciting field?  From my sense I didn't look much at other fields, particularly as a graduate student and you're trying to immerse yourself in other fields.  I did notice that that was also the time of the emergence of molecular biology and as a tool molecular biology added a great deal of power to cancer and cancer research, so cancer and cancer research began to continue its upward trajectory as a discipline in the field in part because of the power that molecular biology was bringing to the field.  It took a while before those techniques began to impact on neuroscience.  They subsequently have.  So, I saw sort of cell biology and cancer research growing, but I saw the field that I was growing in growing as well and didn't have a sense that there was this competition, but that I was part of an emerging field.  That was exciting for me and that was my focus. 

WB:  And you received your PhD in 1978?

AH:  Correct. 

WB:  Talk to me a little bit about your post-doctoral work. 

AH:  Okay, after my PhD, I took my first post-doc at Ohio State in the medical school and was involved in research there.  Having just gotten married and my wife and I moved to Columbus and started working a laboratory and two things happened.  One, we realized we did not like Columbus.  We were not mid-westerners, so living in Columbus was a little tough for us as a couple.

WB:  How so? 

AH:  I don't know.  We just didn't seem to fit in in the Midwest; sort of Midwest thinking, mentality, missed the ocean, missed sort of different pace of life that exists on the two coasts that, for us at that time, didn't seem, as young people, didn't seem to exist in Columbus.  Although Columbus will tell you they thought they were "it."  They thought they were the capital of the Midwest, there was a bit of arrogance to some folks in Columbus that we had an opportunity to interact with, but there were nice people.  We had some good interactions with some of the people we met, some of students and post-docs that I interacted with, faculty were very supportive of me and my work there, so from that perspective it was good.  I didn't have all of the mentoring and support I hoped I would have.  In a sense they gave me a laboratory and said, "Find your own way," and I developed a project on my own.  I was looking for a little bit more mentoring that I hoped that I would have.  I went to Columbus because they had a grant from NIH to bring post-doctoral students in and expose them to both the medical side of neuroscience as well as the research side, so that's what drew me to Ohio State.  It was an opportunity to get some of the clinical kind of training and I have to say that was very good.  I got to participate in grand rounds with residents, so it really added to my understanding of the field and broadening my exposure to the more clinical aspects of neuroscience.  So, I'm appreciative of that, and they were very strong in that area.  They were just weaker in the laboratory research end and I think their hope was if "we brought in some talented post-docs that they would strengthen us in that area."  So, I worked with a physician who was seeing patients and running a laboratory on the side.  So, as a post-doc I felt like I needed more mentoring and more exposure to research techniques than what they were providing.  I wasn't coming to be their expert in the laboratory side of neuroscience.  So, that part was a little disappointing. 

Then, we had some personal tragedy.  My wife was pregnant and we lost our first child.  So, all of that sort of soured us a little bit on Columbus and so two things happened.  One, the loss of that baby--she was stillborn--was an important factor in rekindling my faith and my wife's faith, and so there was some positive-ness that came out of that.  I looked for a second post-doc and went to a meeting, the Society for Neurochemistry.  I was presenting some of the research that I had done there at Ohio State at that meeting and often times those are meetings where post-docs look for job opportunities. 

I had two job opportunities that I noticed while being there or around that time because we had decided we were going to leave Columbus and we we're going to find another job, another opportunity and so right before I went to that meeting I saw in Science an advertisement for a position at Rutgers University in the Department of Biology at Livingston College.  Livingston College Biology Department, at that time, was trying to create a focus in neuroscience.  So, while it was a broad based biology department, they were gathering people who all had an interest in neuroscience and I thought that sounded like a good fit for me for that reason.  Also, at that time, Livingston being a smaller part of Rutgers University with a real commitment to, particularly, a population, serving a population that traditionally was underserved at the university, also seemed like a good fit for me for the other aspects of my life that were important, so I applied for that position. 

Then, I went to this meeting and found a post-doctoral position as UCSD [University of California, San Diego], in the Department of Biology there, working in the laboratory of one of the prominent neuroscientists at that time, doing work in cell culture in neurobiology.  Interviewed for that position; I thought the interview went really well.  I came home and shortly thereafter I had an opportunity to come here and interview for the position at Rutgers. Within the span of two weeks I had two job offers--one at UCSD for the post-doctoral position and the second one to come join the Department of Biology at Livingston College--so I had a decision to make.  It was a dilemma.  Both were really good opportunities for me and I was torn about what to do.  I felt like the post-doctoral position would add for me additional mentoring and experiences, particularly in cell culture that I thought I wanted.  It would make me a better scientist in the future, but tenure track positions don't come along often.  Rutgers was a great university and the fit in the department seemed like the kind of place where I wanted to start my career, so I was torn. 

My wife, who is a very wise woman, gave me great advice, something that without her encouragement I never would have thought of and done.  She said to me, "Why don't you go and call Rutgers University and ask them if they would allow you to go to this post-doc for one year and hold the position for you for that one year and you explain to them what you've explained to me, that if they'll allow you to do this that you'll be more valuable as a faculty member if they'll wait that one year."  So, I had said, "Gosh, I don't know if they do stuff like that" and "Gee, do I want to take a chance and blow the job to do that."  She said to me, "Hun, if you want this post-doctoral position and you think it'll be better for you, you need to pursue that no matter what happens and if Rutgers is in place for us, they will say, yes, to this.  I believe that."  So, with her encouragement I sent some letters and made some phone calls, and although at that time, it's my understanding, they had never done that before, with the approval of the dean, Bob Jenkins, who later he and I became friends and colleagues, they agreed to do that and held the position for me for one year, allowed me to go to UCSD and pursue an additional post-doc and I agreed that I'd come when that post-doc was completed.  As it turned out, I stayed a little longer than a year.  It was probably more like a year-and-a-half, in part because while we were there, my wife became pregnant again with our first son and I wrote and said, "Listen, my wife is due.  I can't move until the baby comes" and they extended it an additional I think it was nine months or so, because I stayed until the baby was like two months before I left and my wife stayed, and then, she joined me.  So, it worked out really well.  So, I had a great post-doctoral experience at UCSD.  We had an opportunity to be in California again which, after our experience in Columbus, was really good to be back on the West Coast, good to be in a great laboratory, developed a set of skills and connections in the neuroscience community that were now much stronger and at the end of that time came to Rutgers as a faculty member who was prepared to meet the demands of being a then assistant professor here at Rutgers University.

WB:  Can you say a little bit more about the importance of the post-doc for yourself or for someone who has just finished their PhD in general?

AH:  Yes, post-doctoral experiences are critical for individuals who hope to advance, particularly along the tenure track route at a major research university like Rutgers, for a number of reasons.  One, simply there's so much to know and to learn about neuroscience and the variety of techniques and approaches that one can use and applying to a particular problem, a research problem, that post-doctoral experience is really important for simply picking up techniques and perspectives.  So, at that time in life science in general, neuroscience in particular, it was not atypical for students to take one and even two post-docs, so one or two years after the PhD were typical at that time.  Today, it's not atypical to have young people who will be post-docs for four or five years, in part because of the nature of the field and also in part because of the scarcity of positions.  So, my post-doctoral positions were critical in my preparation as a research scientist, no doubt about that.  I think that remains so today. 

WB:  So, you joined Rutgers as an assistant professor in 1981?

AH:  Correct.

WB:  What was your research interest at that point?

AH:  I was interested in looking at factors that are involved in nerve cell growth and differentiation in cell culture.  I used a cell culture technique that I developed with my collaborators at UCSD.  We were interested in identifying trophic factors that are involved in the survival and differentiation of nerve cells in culture.  As well as I had an opportunity--I worked with the neural retina, as a model system. I was one of the early describers of the replication, cell division, of post-mitotic cells occurring in culture.  It was a notion early on that once neurons became differentiated they ceased to divide.  I showed in culture that it's possible to get some cells to continue to divide and proliferate.  That's subsequently become sort of a standard view and it's known that there are cells in our brains that continue to divide, some limited populations, particularly in the hippocampus, under some conditions will continue to grow and divide and that's important not only in understanding something about brain growth and development, but also maybe important in memory as well. 

WB:  Can you say a little bit about being a young scientist introducing something innovative or novel and any challenges that you might have faced in getting that accepted?

AH:  There were some challenges, I mean, that was part of what science was supposed to be about--is young people coming up with new and innovative ideas and challenging the way people thought about things.  So, sort of typical of my life, there were those who were very supportive of some of the ideas and my approaches to the research and there were others who would challenge your ideas. Part of what one does as a scientist is continue to find evidence to support your ideas and your notions if you're right.  If the evidence doesn't lead you that way, find new directions and new understanding, that was sort of par for the course.  I have to say, people here at Rutgers, the funding that I've received in my career from National Science Foundation and NIH, and the mentors and collaborators that I've had in the field have been very supportive of me and the work that I've done, both individually and professionally. 

WB:  What were some of your other duties besides teaching?

AH:  When I first came to Rutgers, my duties and responsibilities were simply that of teaching and engaging in research.  As a young faculty member I was pretty much protected from sort of the committee work and service early on in my career.  So, in my first couple of years here, that was my focus--was teaching and research. 

WB:  Talk about the evolution to taking on more duties.

AH:  Yes.  Well, my career took an interesting change.  It began probably in '82, right after I … Well, actually when I arrived in '81 here at Rutgers, at Livingston, is when I learned that there was a plan for reorganization that had taken place in which the departments were being consolidated into single departments, and I knew that immediately the nature of the game had changed for me, because I recognized what that meant, that the relatively small biology department that I was drawn to at Livingston College and its mission. Although, I had the opportunity to be a part of that my first two years, when consolidation was going to be completed that small department environment would to be no more.  The Department of Biological Sciences was a department of forty-five faculty members and that department was going to be housed on the Busch Campus, drawing biologists from all of the undergraduate colleges into one place, that I immediately knew that the kind of small, committed department with a particular focus was going to be lost in this larger merger and that the department was going to be more of like what I was comfortable, what I had experienced at UCLA, rather than sort of working and teaching environment I was drawn to.  

I came to Rutgers originally because I thought Livingston would be small college environment at a major research university.  What the reorganization did for me, from that perspective, was to lose that sort of small college environment.  So, I had good colleagues, still continued to do the work that I needed to do and there were strong connections, but I also knew that with the reorganization, as Rutgers was then soon to join the AAU [Association of American Universities], that the emphasis on research and success in a high quality of research was raised a notch and that I needed to respond to that challenge if I was going to remain here at Rutgers.  When we left California, I said to my wife I wasn't sure if we were going to remain at Rutgers.  I said, "You know, who knows whether I'll get tenure or not."  That it's not atypical for faculty members to move from one university to another.  So, I said, "You know, if we stay at Rutgers for five, six, years, that'll be a good time, and then, we'll probably move on."  My wife, who her father was in the Navy, but she spent most of her childhood either in Hawaii or Southern California, this was her first experience on the East Coast and so I said, "Five years and then, we'll be back in California, don't worry"--one of those things I said to my wife that haven't proved to be true.  The reorganization changed things for me a little bit, but it was okay.  I knew that I had the capacity to respond to that.  Then, something else happened and that was there was an ad for a position here at Rutgers for a position in the graduate school. 

There was an interest at Rutgers University and at the graduate school level to increase the number of scientists of color and, in particular, graduate students in science programs of color. they were looking for someone to direct that particular program, and because of the work that I had done, particularly at UCLA, where I was involved in recruiting biologists of color for the department, I thought, "Oh, I've seen expertise in that.  I've made some connections with a number of institutions, including historically black colleges that I knew were places where you could find promising students of color who are prepared for graduate level work."  So, I thought, "You know, I've done this.  Why not try and see if there'd be an interesting, in doing this kind of administrative work for Rutgers as well."  So, I applied for the job and was hired to be the director of what was then called the Minority Advancement Program and held that position for seven years, negotiated the position so that I would spend half of my time doing that administrative work and the other half of the time being engaged in research in order to continue my work as a scientist.  I was also realistic enough to know that, particularly in the early years of setting up a program de novo, from start, that it was going to take more than half my time to do that, so negotiating with the university that they would stop the tenure clock for me while I was engaged in this program.  I was going to continue to do my research, but I couldn't do it at the same pace that would be expected of me because I was developing this program, and I also wanted to be freed from doing my teaching responsibilities because I was going to develop this program. I managed to do that.  I did that for seven years.  It was, from my view, a real success.  We brought significant number of students of color to Rutgers University, not only in the sciences, but also in the social sciences as well and really put Rutgers University on the map during that time period as being one of the leading universities for attracting students of color at the graduate level, really a national leader at that time, so I was very pleased to play an important role in that process and again, it was an opportunity to do something that was sort of near and dear to my heart in that vein.  So, I enjoyed that time in doing that.

WB:  If I could just interrupt, in what years did you serve in that position?

AH:  I began in 1983 and was there, I guess, until 1990.  In 1990, I was, because of the work that I had done there, I guess it had become noticed, the provost offered me an opportunity to join his staff as an associate provost which expanded my duties and my responsibilities and I enjoyed doing administrative work.  I found that I had some skill at that and was good at that.  I enjoyed the opportunity and from my vantage point it wasn't about being a bureaucrat.  I had responsibilities, not only for undergraduate and graduate students in the provost office, but also in developing and encouraging other faculty of color and their development here at Rutgers University.  So, it was my view that if I could position myself as an administrator to help others or to advocate for departments to create environments that were supportive of faculty of color and others, that provided a lot of meaning for me in the work that in was doing.  So, the balance between that and the laboratory provided for me a really satisfying career, and I endeavored to do that to the best of my ability at that time.

WB:  Can you say a little bit more about duties that are expected of a provost?

AH:  Well, at that time, provost was considered a chief academic officer, so the provost had responsibility for all of the academic programs and activities here on the New Brunswick campus.  As an associate provost, my portfolio was to be involved in faculty development, undergraduate programs of support and retention, as well as graduate programs, sort of support and retention for students.  It's in that vein that I worked for the provost and his overall goals and objectives was creating a strong research university here at Rutgers University.  I also had responsibilities for the development of the cultural centers that were here to serve undergraduate students, such as the Paul Robeson Cultural Center.  I was involved in the development of the Latino Cultural Center, which [was] coming online at the time I became provost.  I was responsible for hiring and supporting the first director.  Then, we eventually brought on an Asian Cultural Center as well.

WB:  Let's circle back and talk about your time when Livingston was Livingston.  How much did you know about Livingston before applying to the position?

AH:  I didn't know a lot about Livingston prior to applying for the position, only a little bit.  I had actually been here on the Livingston campus as an undergraduate, but that was to attend a party.  So, I knew about Livingston and at Princeton, at the time that I was there, there were very few female students, so Rutgers was one of the places we would come as Princeton men, we weren't appreciated by the Rutgers men, but we would come to meet young ladies.  So, I attended a few parties here on the Livingston campus.   I was familiar, sort of in that sense, with Livingston, but I understand that its mission, its purpose.  I really didn't come to know that until I applied for the position and came to appreciate it in its uniqueness when I came here, the time that I came here when I talked about wanting to be in a small college environment.  This was a place where people knew each other.  People cared about each other in a really unique way which you don't typically find in a large research university.  It existed across departments.  I can remember my second day here.  One of the things that I had to do was get keys for my laboratory and stuff, and in those days you had to go and pay a five-dollar deposit to get a key and you had to go down to the cashier and give the cashier five dollars in order to get a key or keys.  I remember coming down, explaining what I wanted to do and the cashier just stopping in the midst, and chatting with me.  "Where are you from?  What are you going to do?"  She said to me and I don't remember who this woman was, but she said to me after she found out I was a biologist and she said, "You know that the dean of Livingston is a biologist too."  I said, "Yes, I'm aware of that."  She looked me right in the eye and she said, "You know, one day you can become the dean."  That was the furthest thing from my mind, but there was that sense of encouragement, even from a cashier, that brought me back to the days when my fourth grade teacher said to me, "You can become whatever you want."  It was just sort of being in that environment.  Livingston was a place where whether it was the department chair, your colleagues, or staff that you see around, everyone encouraged everyone else to do whatever job they were doing the best that they possibly could and that was the real exciting place to be a part of, even if it was, for me at least, a short period of time. 

WB:  As word of the merger spreads, what was the sense of the faculty and staff about that?

AH:  There were some who were sad and disappointed.  There were some who were saying, "Well, there's not much we could do about it and we needed to make the best of it."  There was also some sense of, if not resignation, a sense that this decision would ultimately be better for Rutgers University.  So, as a young faculty member you play with the hand you've been dealt and that was my objective. 

WB:  Well, Professor Hyndman.  Hyndman?

AH:  Hyndman.

WB:  Thank you.  I think we will take a break for today.

AH:  Okay.

WB:  Thank you for your time.  I really appreciate it. 

AH:  All right, great. 

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Transcribed by Jesse Braddell 7/23/2016
Reviewed by William Buie 9/6/2016
Reviewed by Arnold Hyndman 4/15/2019