Jewel Plummer Cobb

Biography of Jewel Plummer Cobb

Jewel Plummer Cobb (born January 17, 1924) is a distinguished American biologist, cancer researcher, and academic administrator. She served as president of California State University, Fullerton from 1981 to 1990.

Jewel Plummer was born in Chicago on January 17, 1924 to Frank V. Plummer, and Carriebel (Cole) Plummer. She is the great-granddaughter of a freed slave. Her grandfather was a pharmacist, her father Frank was a physician. Her mother Carriebel was a physical education teacher. Cobb showed an early interest in science. She concentrated on biology in high school. Cobb matriculated at the University of Michigan in 1942, but unsatisfied with segregated housing for African-American students at Michigan, she transferred to Talladega College in Alabama, where she graduated with a B.A. in biology in 1945.

Cobb initially was denied a fellowship for graduate study in biology at New York University because of her race. However, following a personal interview, she was granted the fellowship. She received her M.S. degree from NYU in 1947 and her Ph.D. degree in cell physiology in 1950. In 1949 she was appointed an independent investigator at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory.

Following the receipt of her Ph.D. from NYU, Cobb held post-doctoral positions at the Harlem Hospital Cancer Research Foundation, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the National Cancer Institute.

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