Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) mourns the loss of Dr. Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes, former SUNO chancellor and former president of the Southern University System (SUS), who died Jun 1 at age 78.
Dr. Spikes made history several times during her educational and professional career. In 1971, she became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from Louisiana State University after earning a B.S. degree in mathematics in 1957 from Southern University and a M.S. degree in math from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign.
She went on to serve as chancellor of SUNO from July 1987 to November 1988, becoming the first woman to be named chancellor of a public university in Louisiana. In 1988, she was appointed president of the Southern University System and chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus, the first woman in the United States to head a university system.
During the same time, Dr. Spikes was appointed to the board of Harvard University’s Institute of Educational Management in 1987. In 1994, President Bill Clinton named her to his board of advisors on historically black colleges and universities. Two years later, Dr. Spikes was named vice chair of the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grand Universities. Later, in 1996, she became president of the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore where she served until 2001. She was named SUS president emeritus in 1996, and later Southern University in Baton Rouge created the Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes Honors College in her honor.
Most recently, SUNO created the Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes Endowed Professor of Business Entrepreneurship, currently held by Dr. Frank Martin, professor and chair of Business Administration.
“The country, the state, the Southern University System and SUNO lost a treasure today,” SUNO Chancellor Victor Ukpolo said of Dr. Spikes. “She left an indelible legacy as a remarkable educator and leader of our time. Dr. Spikes truly will be missed.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.