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Dr. Samuel F. Scott
First director, Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University

Samuel Fischer Scott, a native of Portsmouth, Virginia, and a former professor at Virginia Union University, opened the doors to the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University on September 18, 1935. He worked with the community to recruit students from churches, schools, homes and any place that they could be found. By the first day of school, the junior college had 85 students and five faculty members. During his three years as director, Scott grew the school’s daytime enrollment to 140 students. The junior college offered night school and summer sessions. Student clubs and the Student Government Association were organized and students were trained in the social graces as well as public speaking with the hopes that they would become confident and well-spoken leaders. In 1938, a medical condition ended Scott’s tenure. Virginia Union University awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in May 1987, and in recognition for his leadership, the University’s Board of Visitors placed his name on a new men’s residence hall.

Lyman B. Brooks

Dr. Lyman Beecher Brooks became Director of the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University (now Norfolk State University) in 1938. During his illustrious 37-year career as the chief administrative officer of the College, he built the school from a three-classroom junior college with five teachers to an 18-building campus with a faculty and staff of 375 and 6,300 students. Under his tenacious leadership, the college reached numerous milestones. In 1942, the College became Norfolk Polytechnic College. Another name change came for the college in 1944, when the Virginia General Assembly voted to make the school's name the Norfolk Division of Virginia State College, mandating it to become a part of Virginia State College. In September 1955, the school relocated to a 55-acre campus on Corprew Avenue. The first degree (Bachelor's degree) was presented by the institution in 1958. The college was separated from Virginia State College in 1969, becoming Norfolk State College, an independent, four-year degree-granting institution with its own Board of Visitors and its own President.

Harrison B. Wilson

In the 1970s, Dr. Harrison B. Wilson soundly rejected moves to merge Norfolk State with another local university and insisted that Norfolk State be allowed to thrive through the acquisition of new, high-demand programs. It allowed him to begin laying the groundwork for increased growth and expansion at the University. Academic offerings jumped from four graduate programs and 191 students during the 1975-76 academic year to 14 master’s and one doctoral program enrolling 1,110 students in 1996-97. During Wilson’s tenure, the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) produced the largest number of minority naval officers in the nation, second only to the U.S. Naval Academy. Additionally, NSU graduated more African-American teachers than any other university in the nation and was ranked 10th nationally among all American universities with African Americans earning baccalaureate degrees in the physical sciences. By the time Wilson left office, more than 12 academic programs were added, 18 construction projects were completed and the athletics program had moved from the Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association to the Division I-A-A Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Marie V. McDemmond

Dr. Marie V. McDemmond was the first woman to serve as president of Norfolk State University, and the first African-American woman to serve as president of a four-year public college in Virginia. She raised admissions standards to enable the University to improve retention and graduation rates, made improvements to academic programs and advising, established the PASSPort program with Tidewater Community College and increased the University’s endowment by 65 percent. McDemmond also secured capital funding and funding commitments for improvements to NSU’s infrastructure. She set a course to develop Norfolk State into a technology powerhouse, initiating academic programs in computer science and electrical and optical engineering and the building of a 128,000 square-foot structure that is home to several research centers that are expected to generate discoveries that will become commonplace in the marketplace. Originally, known as the Research and Innovations to Support Empowerment (RISE) Center, it was renamed the Marie V. McDemmond Center for Applied Research in her honor.

Alvin J. Schexnider
Executive Vice President & Acting President

Dr. Alvin J. Schexnider served as executive vice president of Norfolk State University during Dr. Marie V. McDemmond’s sabbatical from July 1, 2004 through December 10, 2004. Schexnider also served as interim president from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006, after McDemmond announced her plans to retire and during the presidential search process. He returned to the academy as president of Thomas Nelson Community College from 2008 to 2011 before a second retirement. A former chancellor of Winston-Salem State University, he has held faculty and administrative positions at Southern University, Syracuse University, The Federal Executive Institute, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Wake Forest University. Schexnider received his doctorate and master’s degrees from Northwestern University and the "bachelor's" from Grambling State University.

Carolyn Winstead Meyers

Carolyn W. Meyers, Ph.D., became the fourth president of Norfolk State University July 1, 2006. During her tenure, she became the driver behind creating a unified physical appearance for the university by working diligently on the master plan. The university quadrangle and the communications tower were two of Dr. Meyers’ ideas for building an identifiable physical presence for NSU. Under her leadership, NSU officials broke ground for the new Lyman Beecher Brooks Library and opened a new student center. During the 2008-09 academic year, the University achieved five major accreditations or reaffirmations of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (electronics and optical engineering), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, National Council for Teacher Education and recertification of athletics programs by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Kim Luckes
Executive Vice President and CEO
Acting President

Kim Luckes (LEW-kus), J.D., served as acting president from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 during the search for a new president.  She later became the executive vice president and chief executive officer, serving from July 2011-June 2013 in that position. Luckes had also served as liaison to the NSU Board of Visitors and assistant to the president. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Elizabeth City State University and a juris doctor degree from North Carolina Central University’s School of Law.  Additionally, she is a graduate of Leadership North Carolina, Class XII (2005) and has participated in the Mabel Parker McLean Women’s Leadership Development Forum of the United Negro College Fund, Inc. (April 2004).  She is also a graduate of the 2011 CIVIC Leadership Institute.

Tony Atwater

Tony Atwater, Ph.D., was appointed as the fifth president of Norfolk State University April 22, 2011. After becoming NSU president in July 2011, he wasted no time initiating programs designed to improve graduation rates and developing a connection with the business community. He also reached out to the education community, forming partnerships with area elementary, middle and high schools, as well as with community colleges. On campus, he established a program encouraging students to graduate in four years by taking 15 credit hours each semester. The University’s common reader program for new students was launched while he was president and an essay competition that focused on advancing the work of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Atwater had previously served as president and chief executive officer at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Atwater became a tenured professor in the Department of Mass Communications and Journalism at NSU after his presidency.

Sandra J. DeLoatch
Acting President
August 2013 – September 2013

Appointed by the Board of Visitors, Dr. Sandra J. Deloatch was named Acting President at Norfolk State University August 23, 2013. She served approximately one month. Dr. DeLoatch has served Norfolk State University in several capacities during her more than 40-year tenure. During her tenure as acting president, she continued to oversee the duties of provost and vice president of academic affairs.  Prior to this assignment, DeLoatch served 12 years as the Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET).  She is credited with implementing NSU’s computer science degree program and the information assurance curricula, which has evolved into cybersecurity. DeLoatch received a B.S. degree in mathematics (Magna Cum Laude) from Howard University. She earned graduate degrees in mathematics and computer science from the University of Michigan (M.A.), Indiana University (Ph.D.) and the College of William and Mary (M.S.).

Eddie N. Moore, Jr.
President and Chief Executive Officer

Eddie N. Moore, Jr. was appointed president and chief executive officer of Norfolk State University by its Board of Visitors on December 11, 2015. He served as NSU's interim president and chief executive officer since September 2013. His direction and oversight of a cross-departmental effort led to the removal of Norfolk State from probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.  Moore focused on three key strategic initiatives during his presidency: improving student retention and graduation rates; increasing the enrollment of new students; and enhancing the culture of accountability at NSU.  Prior to his appointment at NSU, Moore served as president of St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia, from 2011 to 2012 and at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, from 1993 to 2010. A native of Philadelphia, President Moore holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Certified Public Accountant in Texas and in the Commonwealth of Virginia (inactive).

Melvin T. Stith, Ph.D. (B.A.’68)
Interim President

In November 2017, Dr. Melvin T. Stith was appointed Interim President of his undergraduate alma mater Norfolk State University. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Stith served as Vice Rector of the Norfolk State University Board of Visitors. A 1968 graduate of Norfolk State, Dr. Stith and his wife, Dr. Patricia Lynch Stith, also an NSU graduate, provided funding for the Melvin and Patricia Stith Alumni House and the Dr. Patricia Lynch Stith Student Success Center. In January 2005, Dr. Stith became the sixteenth dean of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University (SU). He served in that capacity until June 2013. Upon leaving the deanship, he was a professor of marketing in the Whitman School of Management. He retired in January 2015. From 1991 to 2004, he was dean and the Jim Moran Professor of Business Administration in the College of Business at the Florida State University and previously was associate professor and chair of the department of marketing. From 1982 to 1985, he was a visiting professor in the School of Business and Industry at Florida A&M University. He served as associate dean and assistant professor in the College of Business at the University of South Florida from 1977 to 1982.

Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D.
2019 – present

Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston is a professional in higher education with over 30 years of experience in higher education. Dr. Adams-Gaston, “Dr. J,” as she was affectionately named by students, is a scholar-practitioner engaged in impacting the success of hundreds of thousands of collegiate scholars. Her experience in higher education is described as wide-ranging, comprehensive and intensive:  In leadership roles, extensive leadership experience in virtually every area of an institution, direction and participation in hundreds of partnerships, programs and new ways of facilitating learning and success at the collegiate level.

Dr. Adams-Gaston maintains a strong commitment to building meaningful, productive relationships that lay the foundation for collaboration, community-building, progress and success. She is dedicated to making decisions that are guided by data, informed by vision and responsive to the needs of the community. Dr. J upholds an achievement-oriented approach to seeking excellence, producing genuine and robust support for programs and efforts to advance an academic community in the areas of diversity and inclusion. She is a champion for increasing success, inspiring innovation and advancing research.

Dr. Adams-Gaston earned a bachelor's degree in biology, psychology and general science, at the University of Dubuque; a master's degree in psychology at Loras College; and a Ph.D. in psychology at Iowa State University.