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Crystal A. deGregory

physicist and university president, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Daniel LaMont and Daisy Harris Lawson. Lawson's father, a dean of Louisville's Simmons College, had attended Fisk University where he was a member of the world-renown Fisk Jubilee Singers. Although little is known of his early childhood and education, the younger Lawson followed in his father's footsteps, enrolling at Fisk in 1931. As a mathematics and physics major, Lawson sought the mentorship of Elmer S. Imes. A distinguished physicist, Imes had become the second African American to earn a doctorate in physics when he graduated from the University of Michigan in 1918. Imes had returned to teach at Fisk, his alma mater, in 1930, where he continued to pioneer infrared spectroscopy. Lawson proved a promising student, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1935 with a degree in physics the first ever Fisk student to ...