2018 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

James Lindesay

Sumner High School, 1972 (Valedictorian)

Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools attended: Douglass Elementary and Northeast Junior HighJames Lindesay

The same teaching excellence and quality education James Lindesay received as a student at Sumner High School is the same attention to detail and care he gives to the young adults who sit in his classrooms as a professor of physics at Howard University in Washington, D.C. “They nurtured us and helped us to be successful at Sumner High School,” he said. “Teachers would stay after hours and come on the weekends to help us get ahead.”

In particular, he recalls the extra help he received in science and math from Mr. Leroy Pitts, Mr. John Rice, Mr. Felton Denham, Mr. Henderson, Mr. Williams and Mr. Webb.  In fact, he credits this team of teachers with helping his siblings to becomes successful in their professions.“They (Sumner’s teachers) made me feel I could do anything if I put my mind to it,” he said. He in turn has done the same  by mentoring all who seek out his help and guidance, from undergraduate, to graduate and postdoctoral associates.

He realizes the encouragement was the boost he needed to become a noted professor of physics at one of the foremost historically black universities in the country. He has published more than 100 scientific articles, including three books on high energy physics, quantum gravity, and black hole physics. His books are used to teach students at Stanford, Yale and Harvard.

Prior to teaching at Howard University, he served for three years in the Peace Corps in Tanzania, where he taught nuclear physics, quantum physics, statistical physics, and electromagnetism to students at the University of Dar Es Salaam. As a result of his work in the east African country, he was nominated for International Volunteer of the Year.

He serves on the foundation board of the Dr. Beth A. Brown Foundation, and is a member of the National Society of  Black Physicists Fellows, an honorary member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a member of the Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society.

Lindesay received the Gore’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from Stanford University and has been selected to Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Collegiate Faculty, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers,  Who’s Who in Science in Higher Education, and the New York Academy of Sciences.

His first college studies came as a part of a dual enrollment program between Sumner High School and Kansas City Kansas Community College. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT or Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., and both a master’s and doctorate in physics from Stanford University. He participated in a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley, and another fellowship at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

He was born in Kansas City, Kansas, and now resides in Washington, D.C.