National Institute on Aging

In Memoriam: Melvin Richardson Todd, 1933-2020

Melvin Todd, a long-time educator and former vice chancellor for academic affairs for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education died, on December 2 from complications relating to COVID-19. He was 87 years old.

Dr. Todd was a native of Oklahoma City. When he was 10 years old, he met W.E.B. Du Bois. After completing high school at the Palmer Memorial Institute in North Carolina, Todd returned to Oklahoma to study at historically Black Langston University, where he majored in history. He went on to earn a master’s degree and a doctorate in education from the University of Oklahoma.

After serving in the Army, Dr. Todd returned to Oklahoma to serve as an administrator in the public schools. He was hired as principal of Northeast High School and provided leadership as the school more fully integrated. During this period he routinely received death threats and bomb scares by telephone.

In 1975, Dr. Todd went to work in the Chancellor’s Office of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, eventually becoming vice chancellor for academic affairs. He retired from this post after 16 years of service. Dr. Todd was a trustee for the American College Testing (ACT) Program and in 1990, he was elected vice chair of the national board of the ACT Program. Later, he served as special assistant to the president of Langston University.


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