Fabulous 50: First African American PhD


Polk HallPolk Hall

Stephen (Steve) Benton Latimer (1928-2003) was the first African-American at NC State to earn a doctoral degree (PhD), in 1967. A graduate student in the Department of Animal Science (in Polk Hall), his dissertation title was Properties of a Specific Propionyl-CoA Synthetase from Sheep Liver Mitochondria. He later became a research director at Langston University in Oklahoma.  Also in 1967, his wife, Louise Cunningham Benton (1933-2016), received an MEd in Occupational Information and Guidance from NC State.  She later became a professor of English language and literature at Langston University.