Alabama Academy of Honor


Howard Earle Skipper

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1982 and 2006.



Howard Earle Skipper was born November 21, 1915 at Avon Park, Florida. He earned the bachelor of science degree, 1938, the master of science degree, 1939, and the doctor of philosophy degree, 1941 from the University of Florida.

He served in the Chemical Warfare Service, U.S. Army, 1941-1945; was Chief of the Toxicology Section, Medical Division at Edgewood, Maryland, 1941-1943; Chief Biochemist for the Australian Field Experiment Station, Queensland, 1943-1944; Technical Director for Eastern Technical Unit, Chemical Warfare Service, New Guinea and Philippines, 1944-1945, and served as a member of Karl Compton's Scientific Survey group surveying the status of Japanese research and development immediately after World War II. Howard Skipper retired as Lt. Colonel of the U.S. Army.

In 1946 he established a cancer chemotherapy research program at the Southern Research Institute; was appointed Assistant Director and Head of the Organic and Biochemical Divisions in 1949; was named Vice President and Director of the Kettering-Meyer Laboratory in 1964, was elected president in 1974, and was named President Emeritus on January 1, 1981.

He served as Professor of Experimental Pathology, Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama since 1955, and as Professor of Investigative Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama in Birmingham, since 1972.

He held offices in: Advisory Committee on Isotopes, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, 1953-1956, Scientific Advisory Committee, Sloan-Kettering Institute, 1953-1971, Experimental Therapeutics Study Section, National Institutes of Health, 1954- 1956, National Advisory Cancer Council, Public Health Service, 1958-1962, Chairman Cancer Chemotherapy Review Board, NIH,1958-1960, and President's National Cancer Advisory Board, 1972-1977.

He authored or co-authored 198 scientific papers and recieved many distinguished awards: The Robert Rossier deVilliers Award of the Leukemia Society of America, 1974; Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, 1974; Ernst W. Bertner Memorial Award, M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute of the University of Texas System Cancer Center, 1976; Bristol-Myers Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research, 1980; Charles F. Kettering Prize of the General Moters Cancer Research Foundation, 1982; American Cancer Society Annual National Award, 1982; and Honorary Degree Doctor of Science, honoris causa, from the University of Florida, 1989.

Howard Earle Skipper married Margaret Edwards on August 24, 1940 and they have two children: Howard Earle, Jr. and Margaret Ann.

Howard Earle Skipper died on October 24, 2006.