One reason Dr. Carroll Guillory enjoyed high school so much was that it provided relief from the hard work on his parents' small farm in southern Louisiana. Another reason was mathematics. "I was very interested in mathematics, and I had an excellent teacher who kept motivating me with challenging problems," he recalls.
Guillory went on to Southern University in Baton Rouge where his biggest problem involved writing English and mathematics. "My parents spoke Creole (a dialect of French)," he explains. "I did not have much trouble reading, but writing was difficult." Again, he received the help of a teacher, Dr. Rogers Newman, who also urged him to go to graduate school. Guillory's problem made writing a dissertation laborious, but he received a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He then returned to live in Church Point, Louisiana, where he was raised, and to a faculty position at the University of Southwestern Louisiana.
A [National Science Foundation] M[inority] R[esearch] I[nitiation] award enabled him to take time off from teaching and return to a research setting at UC-Berkeley. "It was a personal dream come true," he comments. "Without the grant, I never would have come near my potential." Guillory works in functional analyis, especially Douglas algebras. "I learned a lot of mathematics, and put it in the perspective that I needed to continue in this field," he continues. "I still get help from my colleagues at Berkeley. Eventually, I hope to write a book about Douglas algebras."
Periodically, Dr. Guillory goes back to Southern University to encourage other minorities to become mathematicians and scientists. "Things are wide open for minorities," he states, "but not many of them are interested in these careers. We must get young people to realize that the opportunities can be limitless. This is especially true in mathematics where there are so few minorities. If we can get more to participate in mathematics and science, I believe minorities have much to contribute."
[Source: National Science Foundation, "Models of Excellence," (NSF 90-28), Washington, DC, 1990.]