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Past Presidents

Past Presidents

Dr-Samuel-F-Scott.pngDr. Samuel F. Scott, First Director of the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University 
3 yrs of Active Service ~  1935 – 1938

Mr. Samuel Fischer Scott was a native of Portsmouth, Virginia and a former professor at Virginia Union University. At the time of his appointment as Director of the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University in 1935, he was a social worker serving on the staff of the Emergency Relief Bureau in New York City; he served until 1938. Virginia Union University awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in May 1987. The following excerpt was taken from The History of Norfolk State University 1935-1938 by Samuel Fischer Scott and Constance J. Spencer (a student from the first class): The October 11, 1984 issue of The Virginia Pilot, “Norfolk Compass” titled an article referring to Samuel Scott, ‘FIRST NSU HEAD GETS NAME ON NEW DORM’ and related: Samuel F. Scott, who in 1935 started from scratch the school that became Norfolk State University, was honored recently when the University’s Board of Visitors named a new men’s dormitory for him. As the first director of Norfolk State, which was started as a branch of Virginia Union University in Richmond, Scott helped to recruit students from churches, schools, homes and any place else they could be found.

Lyman-B-Brooks.pngLyman B. Brooks, President
37 Years of Active Service ~ 1938 - 1975


Lyman Beecher Brooks: In 1938, he became Director of the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University (now Norfolk State University). During his thirty-seven year illustrious career as the chief administrative officer of the College (1938-1975), he built the school from a three-classroom junior college with five teachers to an eighteen building campus with a faculty and staff of 375 and 6,300 students. Under the able leadership of Dr. Brooks achieved numerous milestones. In 1942, the College became Norfolk Polytechnic College. Another name change came in 1944, the college 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 was 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; therefore, Norfolk State College became an independent, four-year degree-granting institution with its own Board of Visitors and its own President.

Degrees: Ph.D., University of Michigan; MaEd, B.S., Virginia Union University

Harrison-B-Wilson.pngHarrison B. Wilson, President
21 Years of Active Service ~ 1976 – 1997


President Harrison B. Wilson’s tenure has been formidable. Wilson once said, “We must continue to broaden our horizons in all we do at Norfolk State University. In academics as well as athletics, you need to raise the bar …set higher goals and work for excellence. The students, the University, and the community deserve nothing less than representing ourselves at the highest level of effort.” In 1975-76 NSU offered 4 graduate programs in which 191 students were enrolled. In 1996-97, there were 14 master’s programs and one doctoral program enrolling 1,110 students. The Division of Academic Affairs was composed of nine schools, 29 departments, offering 56 degree programs at the associate (2), baccalaureate (39, master’s (14) and doctoral (1) levels. During Wilson’s tenure, The Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) has produced the largest number of minority naval officers in the nation, second only to the U.S. Naval Academy; NSU graduated more African-American teachers than any other university in the nation. NSU administrative building has been named in his honor.

Degrees: Ph.D., Indiana University; M.A., Indiana University; B.S., Kentucky State University

Marie-V-McDemmond.pngMarie V. McDemmond. President
8 Years of Active Service ~ 1997-2005

 
Marie V. McDemmond is the first woman to lead Norfolk State University, first African-American woman to serve as president of a four-year college in Virginia; initiated the student ACCESS program and improved academic advising for freshmen; implemented Position Flexibility Plan for faculty and standardized the university’s tenure policy; developed an evaluation mechanism to be used statewide for institutional performance agreements (IPA) by the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) through participation in the Secretary of Education’s IPA pilot program; led the most successful Annual Fund campaign in the university’s history by raising $1.4M; first college president to be named as Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army of Virginia; secured capital funding and funding commitments for improvements to infrastructure and the construction of the RISE Center; named to President Bush’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities; first African-American woman to head any of the National Association of Colleges and University Business Officers regions. McDemmond has been recognized by Outstanding Young Women of America, Who’s Who Among Black Americans, Florida’s National Association of Women Business Owner’s (NAWBO), Women Who Make a Difference, and the Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women’s “Glass Ceiling” and “Women of Achievement” awards.

Degrees: Ed.D., University of Massachusetts at Amherst; M.A., University of New Orleans; B.S., Xavier University
 

Carolyn-Winstead-Meyers.pngCarolyn Winstead Meyers, Ph.D., President
4 Years of Active Service ~ 2006-2010


Carolyn W. Meyers, Ph.D., the fourth president of Norfolk State University, previously served as provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and a tenured professor in the College of Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. Meyers holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Howard University, a master’s in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, also from Georgia Tech. She has completed post doctoral work at Harvard University. Her career in higher education spans more than 30 years and includes both academic and administrative experiences.

Dr. Tony AtwaterTony Atwater, Ph.D., President
2 Years of Active Service ~ 2011-2013


Tony Atwater, Ph.D., the fifth president of Norfolk State University, 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. Atwater holds a Ph.D. in communication research from Michigan State University in 1983, where he was the recipient of a competitive doctoral fellowship. He completed post-doctoral studies in the Department of Communication at the University of Michigan in 1989. He also earned a bachelor's degree in mass media arts from Hampton University in 1973. Additionally, he holds three graduate certificates in higher education administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.