HIGH PROFILE: Respected physicist Al Ashley honored for efforts to lead more minority students into world of STEM

Posted: February 18, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

“I’ve done a lot so I have no complaints. I’ve devoted all of my life to the effort of helping students in math and science, especially underrepresented minority students. That’s the thing I’m most proud of, my involvement with kids.”

He grew up in Tuskegee, Ala., the son of a well-read janitor and a substitute music teacher.


Al Ashley

DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH: March 13, 1936, Tuskegee, Ala.

THE THING I’M MOST PROUD OF IN MY LIFE: My parents. My mother and father were caring people, loving people. Our house was like the headquarters of the neighborhood. Everybody came by for Christmas and holidays. My dad was a very, very good bridge player, an excellent bridge player.

THE BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN: My dad said, ‘Don’t be a follower. Be a leader.’ He was trying to tell me that when the boys went out to steal watermelons, don’t tell me that somebody led you to do that. If you wanted to steal it you should have done it on your own. Don’t let your friends sway you to do that.

THE BEST MOVIE I’VE EVER SEEN: Gone With the Wind . I like it.

MY FAVORITE MEAL: I like candied yams. I could take some spinach or broccoli, either one. Probably broccoli. I like it. And salmon.

IF I COULD DO ONE THING OVER: I would read more books.

MY WIFE WOULD SAY I’M: Always cold-natured.

NO DAY IS COMPLETE WITHOUT: Me turning to the news. I want to know what’s going on in the world.

THE TIME OF DAY I LIKE BEST IS: Morning, because I know I got up. I’m a morning person.

SOMETHING I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT ME IS: That I’m fair and consistent in dealing with people.


“I thought if our kids were going to be involved in something in the 21st century then they had to be involved in science and technology because scien...

This story is only available from our archives.