Chester C. Seabury



BS (Mathematics) Princeton 1967

Stanford University (Complex Variables) 1974
thesis: Some Extension Theorems for Regular-Maps of Stein Manifolds; Advisor: Halsey Royden, Jr.

personal or universal URL:

For an account of his years before college, read Seabury's story "How White School Got First Black Student."

Seabury earned a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1974. After unsatisfying years as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT), Seabury went back to school at Stanford in 1977. There he obtained both a law degree and an MBA.


3. Ellis, David; Hill, C. Denson; Seabury, Chester C. The maximum modulus principle. I. Necessary conditions. Indiana Univ. Math. J. 25 (1976), no. 7, 709--715.

2. Seabury, Chester C. On extending regular holomorphic maps from Stein manifolds. Pacific J. Math. 65 (1976), no. 2, 499--515.

1. Seabury, Chester Some extension theorems for regular maps of Stein manifolds. Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 80 (1974), 1223--1224.


Breaking barriers:

How white school got first black student

Miami Herald Staff Writers Tuesday, May 12, 1998

Chester Seabury didn't fancy himself a pioneer.

He was just a bright kid who wanted to take Spanish 3. His school -- Dillard High -- didn't offer it, so he asked for a transfer to study at Stranahan High for his junior and senior years.

But Seabury was black. The year was 1961. No black student in Broward County had been allowed to attend a white school like Stranahan.

Chester Seabury became a pioneer.

''I remember the first day, you never know what to expect, and I was wondering about threats of physical bodily harm,'' Seabury, now 51, recalls from his home in Phoenix, where he is a corporate lawyer with Bank of America. ''There was none of that. It wound up being much like going to school anywhere. I didn't know anyone there, and never really got close to anyone socially, but maybe it was because I wasn't the outgoing type. But I didn't feel uncomfortable.''

In 1963, Seabury became the first black student in Broward County to graduate from a previously all-white school.

Seabury is a success story that any school district would boast about. He has an undergraduate degree from Princeton University (he attended on a full scholarship); a master's and a law degree from Stanford University.

When he asked for the transfer at age 15, he didn't really know what he wanted to do with his life. And the Spanish class was only part of the reason he wanted to change schools.

''I knew that I didn't want to limit myself,'' he said. ''I knew the good colleges required at least three years of language. And I also knew during that time, when you compared those two schools, there was a noticeable difference in the overall educational program.''

Wider scope of education

Stranahan students had more courses to choose from, Seabury said. The scope of their education seemed wider, like it had more depth and breadth to it. ''It might have been because Dillard was a smaller school,'' he said. ''But I don't think that was the whole story. I think that was just the way things were then.''

He didn't have to wage a big battle to go to Stranahan, though his request was somewhat controversial.

''There were no lawsuits or anything like that,'' he said. ''It was something that required the consent of the School Board. I asked and it was granted in due time.''

When he arrived at Princeton, Seabury said he found himself lagging in some areas.

''The kind of stuff that I could learn on my own I was well prepared for,'' he said. ''But chemistry, for example, was something I wasn't prepared for. I was lost in the chemistry lab. The lab at Dillard was nothing like the one at Princeton. And the one we had at Dillard, we didn't do much with.''

Advantages at home

Despite the limitations at Dillard, Seabury said he still had advantages that many students might not. Education was important in his home; his mother was a teacher and his father was a principal in the Keys. He realizes he was lucky to have lots of support.

It saddens but doesn't surprise him that black children are still fighting for equity in Broward schools.

''It seems to me it is just like everything else in our culture,'' he said. ''There has been a lot of progress in the last 35 years, but the problem hasn't gone away.''

The slights are more subtle now than in his day, he said. He grew up with not only separate schools, but separate water fountains and theater seating.

''And there were just lots of places that weren't available to black people then,'' he said. ''Those things have gone away if you have the money to go someplace or buy what someone is selling. . . . But what's left is subtle. And it's not like what is left is good.''

His advice to students today: Be curious.

''I was the kind of kid who was interested in things for my own sake,'' he said. ''I pursued them even if they weren't immediately available at school.

''The problem with that, though, is sometimes it's hard for a kid to know what's out there to pursue if he's not being exposed to things. That's where the danger is.''


In the preporation of this page we had help from Bill Massey.


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