Spotlight: The First African American PhD in Computer Science

March 2, 2021
Insights from Access Tech

We are happily celebrating the first African American to receive their PhD in Computer Science. This achievement was a major boon for the industry on many levels, as all voices deserve to be heard and respected.

Dr. Clarence “Skip” Ellis was from Chicago, IL, and started working on computers at the age of 15. While most teens were out socializing with friends, Dr. Ellis spent much of his time reading through computer manuals. After receiving a scholarship in 1960 to attend Beloit College, he created the campus’ computer lab. Dr. Ellis double-majored in mathematics and physics, then went for his doctorate at the University of Illinois. There he pursued teaching, while leading a group towards the newly developed idea of computer networking.

Although he passed away in 2014, his dedication and perseverance along his arduous path remains an inspiration to us all. Read more about this brilliant person’s contributions here.

For more insights on this topic: