Dr. Gordon was named president of California State University in 1990. During his 22-year tenure, enrollments increased from 25,600 to more than 36,000. Thirteen new academic programs were established and 22 building were constructed on campus.
Lenny Knight was the assistant director of the Approaching Storm Band at Delaware State University. Knight joined the staff at Delaware State University in 2007 after serving as band director at Dover High School in Delaware for 15 years.
A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Salters Henderson joined the staff at Vanderbilt University in 1998 as an admissions counselor. In 2005 she was appointed director of student organizations and served in that post at the time of her death.
When the University at Buffalo was invited to play in the 1958 Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida, it was told it would have to leave its star African American running back home. The team unanimously voted to decline the invitation.
A native of Ghana, Dr. Afesi was a professor of history at Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts. Earlier in his career, he was an assistant professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Hope Lewis was a professor at the Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, where she had served on the faculty for a quarter century. Earlier, she was an attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Dr. Benson directed the land grant program at Kentucky State University for 36 years. He directed the university’s extension program during that period and from 1985 to his retirement in 2011 he also directed the research program.
In 1968, Wayne Crumwell became the first African American to graduate from Davidson College in North Carolina. He later earned a law degree at Duke, opened a private law practice, and served as a faculty member at North Carolina Central University.
Debra Saunders-White, the 11th chancellor of North Carolina Central University in Durham, died on November 26. Dr. Saunders-White was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2015 and took a medical leave of absence in August 2016.
Gwen Ifill was a celebrated newspaper reporter and pioneering PBS television anchor who moderated two vice presidential debates. A graduate of Simmons College, Ifill held honorary degrees from 20 institutions of higher learning.
Professor Ivy joined the faculty at the University of Mississippi in 1990. She served as clinical supervisor in speech pathology, an assistant and associate professor, and chair of the department of communication sciences and disorders.
Dr. McNeil was was the first African American woman to serve on the faculty at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. She also was the first woman tenure-track faculty member in the psychology department at the college.
Dr. Blackwell joined the staff at Tuskegee University in 1969 and remained employed by the university until her retirement in 2008. She held many positions at the university including associate provost, director of student relations, vice president for development, and director of the Center for Continuing Education.
Dr. Brown joined the faculty at the University of Southern California in 1969. She taught in the School of Social Work’s master’s and doctoral degree programs and served as chair of what is now the department of children, youth and families. In 1987, Dr. Brown was named assistant dean for academic affairs.
Dr. Thompson joined the faculty at the University of Toledo in 1958. For four years, he was the only Black faculty member at the university. In 1968, Dr. Thompson was appointed vice president of student affairs, a post he held for 20 years.
Joyce O. Jenkins was the director of the Center for Teaching and e-Learning at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock. Prior to joining the staff at Arkansas Baptist College in 2012, Dr. Jenkins had a 26-year career at Fort Valley State University in Georgia.
Joyce Carol Thomas, the author of more than 30 children’s books and a former college professor, won the National Book Award and the American Book Award in 1983. She taught at several higher educational institutions including Purdue University and the University of Tennessee.
Edwin Smith was the Leon Benwell Professor of Law, International Relations, and Political Science at the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern, California. He was the first African American tenured faculty member at the law school.