Of all the founders, Dr. Ernest E. Just can be considered the true leader of the four. His obsession with science led to him being one of the first African Amerian Scientist to acheive world recognition. Dr. Just received international acclaim for work he completed during the summers from 1909 to 1930 at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. At MBL, he conducted thousands of experiments studying the fertilization of the marine mammal cell. He sought to find the "truth" using scientific methods and inquiry. His confidence allowed him to challenge the theories of leaders in his field. His true obsession was with the science of cytology. Dr. Just's tenacity and motivation led him to add to our understanding of the process of artificial parthenogenesis and the physiology of cell development.
Dr. Just was born August 14, 1883 in Charleston, South Carolina. At an early age, he demonstrated a gift for academic research. In 1907, he was the only person to graduate magna cum laude from Dartmouth College with a degree in zoology. He received special honors in botany and history, and honors in sociology.
Immediately after graduation, Dr. Just taught at Howard University where he was appointed head of the Department of Zoology in 1912. At Howard, he also served as a professor in the medical school and head of the Department of Physiology until his death. The first Spingarn Medal was awarded to the reluctant and modest Just by the NAACP in 1915 for his accomplishments as a pure scientist. In 1916, Dr. Just gradutated magna cum laude from University of Chicago receiving his doctorate in experimental embryology