The SOA’s First Black FellowMeet Robert J. Randall, FSA August/September 2019
Robert J. Randall (above center) was a Tuskegee Airman in the Army Air Corps in 1944.
When those who knew Robert J. Randall, FSA, speak of him, they use words like “hero,” “industrious,” “leader” and “bigger than life.”
Randall, who became the first Black fellow of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) in 1952, was born in 1922. He was a Yale graduate, a first lieutenant with one of the most highly decorated units of the military—the Tuskegee Airmen—and held two master’s degrees (from Columbia University and New School of Social Research). He was also the first Black president of a national insurance company, Intramerica Life.
Randall mentored college students, helping them to become proficient in actuarial studies and seek employment in the field. He also accelerated the representation of Black actuaries in the profession as a member of the International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA) and helped launch the SOA’s minority recruiting program.
After retirement, Randall aggressively worked for the actuarial profession. He coauthored papers about the negative impacts of changing the Social Security system. He authored an article on the impact of Social Security on minorities. He was a member of the Social Insurance Committee of the SOA. Most important, he was a frequent attendee of the IABA meetings.
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“Bob encouraged young people to stand up and take a lead,” said Stafford L. Thompson Jr., FSA, MAAA, a founding member and past president of the IABA. “He encouraged me to dare to be different, bigger and better than even I believed I could be. For those of you who never met him, quite simply he beat the odds and changed the world.”
Randall passed away on April 17, 2012, and left an impressive legacy of firsts.
Thompson, Stafford, L. 2014. “He Beat the Odds,” The Voice. West Hartford, CT: International Association of Black Actuaries.
Greb, Richard. 1999. The First 50 Years: Society of Actuaries 1949–1999. Schaumburg, IL: Society of Actuaries.
Copyright © 2019 by the Society of Actuaries, Schaumburg, Illinois.