In Memoriam: Twitty Junius Styles, 1927-2021

Twitty J. Styles, professor emeritus of biology at Union College in Schenectady, New York died on August 19. He was 94 years old.

A native of Five Forks, Virginia, Styles graduated in 1944 from the Robert Russa Moton, Jr., High School in Farmville. He then attended Virginia Union University in Richmond, where he was president of his class. He served in the U.S. Army as a microbiologist stationed in Tokyo, Japan, studying parasitic diseases that were infecting U.S. troops during the Korean War. After he was honorably discharged, he attended New York University, where he earned master’s and doctoral degrees.

Dr. Styles taught at Union College from 1965 to 1997. In 1971, he was the first African-American faculty member to earn tenure. An immunologist by training, he specialized in infectious diseases, particularly parasitology and immunity to parasitic infections.

When he retired in 1997, Dr. Styles and Carl George, professor emeritus of biology, launched UNITAS, which Styles described as “a campus-wide organization whose primary mission is to support and encourage diversity, acceptance and the celebration of cultural differences.” To fund UNITAS, Styles and George wrote letters to hundreds of former students. They quickly raised $50,000, an amount matched by the college. In 2003, Union College established a scholarship in his name.

Dr. Styles was the author of the memoir Son of Prince Edward County (Dorrance Publishing, 2019).


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