In Memoriam: Ulysses S. Washington, 1920-2018

Ulysses S. Washington, the longtime head of the department of agriculture at historically Black Delaware State University, passed away on October 25, 2018. He was 98 years old.

Washington began his career at then-Delaware State College in 1949 as an assistant professor of agriculture education and farm mechanics. He was promoted to acting chair of the College’s department of agriculture and natural resources in 1967 and became permanent chair in 1971. He also held various coaching positions with the school’s football team for 18 years. Additionally, Washington served as the institution’s Grand Marshal from 1953 to 2004. He retired from his academic leadership role in 1991.

Washington was instrumental in many research efforts at Delaware State and other 1890 Land Grant institutions of higher education. He worked with Congress to give various 1890 Land Grant schools equitable consideration for research funding, prompting lawmakers to enact legislation named the U.S. Washington Jr. Financial Anti-Discrimination Act.

Later, Washington became a founding member of the Association of 1890 Research Directors. In 2003, he received the Pioneer’s Award for being one of the first administrators of the 1890 Colleges and Universities Chartered Extension.

Over the course of his time at Delaware State University, Washington was honored frequently for his commitment to agriculture education. In 1981, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the board of trustees. In 2001, he became an honorary inductee into the Delaware State University Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2008, he was inducted into the George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame at Tuskegee University. Additionally, he was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame at Delaware State and into the Delaware Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame.

Washington’s legacy was honored in 1999 when the university dedicated the newly constructed Dr. Ulysses S. Washington Agricultural Extension Building in his name. Additionally, the university’s Early College High School named its Science Laboratory in his honor.

Washington held a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education from Virginia State University and a master’s degree in systems analysis from Rutgers University in New Jersey.


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