Isaac “Ike” Crumbly currently serves at Fort Valley State University, a historically African American school built on an 1890 land grant from the state of Georgia. Crumbly works here in a number of capacities: as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, biology professor, and the director of the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP.) Formed in response to a 1983 call for proposals from the Department of Energy, the CDEP is now boasted of as “the only program of its kind in the nation,” with its students logging over 250,000 hours of hands-on experience and over $4 million to support their education.
Crumbly’s ambition and dedication are partially responsible for transforming this small Georgia university (about 3,000 students are currently enrolled) into a school courting attention from the corporate officers of major oil companies, as well as from governmental representatives. Crumbly has provided some $12 million to the school and its students, by way of scholarships, funded internships, funded proposals and IPA agreements. Throughout the 25-year existence of the CDEP, the companies hiring its graduates have read like a veritable “who’s-who” of the energy industry: Boeing, General Motors, Phillips Petroleum Company and Shell are but a few names on this list.
From humble, rural beginnings picking cotton for the support of his large family (Ike was one of 11 siblings), Crumbly rose to a level of prominence that would earn him a letter of commendation from then president Ronald Reagan, saying that Crumbly could “...take pride in this recognition of your outstanding effort to increase opportunities for more young black Americans to participate in our nation’s scientific and technological development.”
Crumbly’s education consisted of two degrees in horticulture and a Ph. D in botany (granted in 1970.) His professional career began at the University of Illinois, where he was a graduate research assistant. He has taught as an instructor of horticulture at Alcorn A&M (1963-1965), and as both associate professor of biology (1970- 1976) and professor of biology (1976-present) at Fort Valley. Crumbly himself admits that, with his background in biology, he “never dreamed” that he would find himself being in close contact with the energy industry, or educating and preparing its next generation of employees. However, as a summer faculty research consultant for the Tennessee Valley Authority over the period of 1974-1975, Crumbly’s research in the greenhouse utilization of waste energy was the start of a fruitful relationship with this scientific discipline.
In order to keep his academic credentials up-to-date while developing the CDEP program, Crumbly has also conducted research for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Southern Education Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Another accomplishment of Crumbly’s was the foundation of a high school program for minority and female students: the Mathematics, Science and Engineering Academy (MSEA.)
Crumbly has been married to his wife Dorothy for over 35 years, fathering two sons, Isaac and Konata. He is also the grandfather of two.
Isaac J. Crumbly Minorities in Energy Grant is restricted to a female student and/or a visibly ethnic minority (African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Native American, which includes American Indian, Eskimo, Hawaiian or Samoan). The Isaac J. Crumbly Minorities in Energy Grant is awarded annually to a deserving graduate student through the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation Grants-in-Aid program, and is endowed by the AAPG Foundation with generous contributions from the AAPG Membership/Diversity Subcommittee.