Gloria Long Anderson is a Professor of Chemistry at Morris Brown College, where she serves as vice president of academic affairs. She was born on November 11, 1938 in Altheimer, Arkansas, to Elsie Lee Foggie Long, a seamstress, and Charles Long, a sharecropper. Anderson was the fourth child and only girl of six children. She and her family lived in a mixed-race, segregated farming community. As a child, Anderson was tasked with helping her family with farm work. While she worked hard with her family, she also learned to read before the age of four and was allowed to start elementary school at that age. Throughout her childhood, she attended segregated public schools but she excelled at schoolwork, skipped grades, and graduated from high school age of 16, in 1954. Between 1956 and 1958, Anderson received a Rockefeller Fellowship and used it to attended Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal College, where she graduated in 1958 summa cum laude with a degree in chemistry.
After being rejected for a position at the Ralston Purina Company because she is African American, Anderson taught seventh grade at a school in Altheimer. She was offered a teaching assistantship and a position in the master’s program at Atlanta University, which she accepted. Anderson graduated with her master’s degree in chemistry from Atlanta University in 1961, with a thesis on a novel synthesis of butadiene. After graduating she taught for one year at South Carolina State College before moving to Morehouse College, where she taught chemistry for two years.
In 1965, Anderson began her doctoral studies, researching the nuclear magnetic resonance and CF infrared frequency shifts of fluorine-19, at the University of Chicago. Throughout her time there, she tutored white women chemistry students. Anderson graduated with her Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry in 1968, after which she became associate professor and chair of the chemistry department at Morris Brown College. She became the Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Chemistry and Chair in 1973. In 1981, she was a research fellow and research consultant at Lockheed Georgia Corporation in Marietta for two summers. In the summer of 1984, she served as a faculty research fellow at the Airforce Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base in California. From 1984 to 1989, she served as Dean of Academic Affairs before returning to her position of Professor of Chemistry and Chair in 1990. Twice, Anderson became Morris Brown’s interim president, from 1992 to 1993 and in 1998. She was also Dean of Science and Technology from 1995 to 1997. Anderson has been a Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Chemistry since 1999 and as of 2009. She has also served as vice president of public affairs at Morris Brown college since 2007.
Anderson’s research of chemical structure has been used to advance work on antiviral drugs. Her research has covered a range of things including solid-fuel rocket propellants, substituted amantadine, and epoxidation mechanisms. During her career at Morris Brown College, Anderson gained more than $1,000,000 in grants for the college’s faculty and science programs. Her hard work and dedication have directly led to the revitalization of Morris Brown’s chemistry curriculum, the growth of the chemistry department, and the procurement of new scientific instrumentation.