Former Southern chancellor, system president dies at 78
BATON ROUGE - The Southern University System family is mourning Monday as former SU System President Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes has passed away at age 78.
"We are profoundly saddened by the news of President Emeritus Dolores Spikes' death. She was a devout daughter of Southern University who became a trailblazing giant in higher education in Louisiana and the nation," said SU System President Ronald Mason Jr.
In 1988, Dr. Spikes made history when she was appointed president of the Southern University and A&M College System, becoming the first woman in the United States to head a university system.
Spikes earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1957 from Southern and would go on to earn her master's degree in mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1971, she made history by becoming the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from LSU. Spikes also made history when she became the first female chancellor of a public university in the state of Louisiana.
"Dr. Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes was a shining star among the leaders of Southern University. She brought national acclaim to the University as she guided the Baton Rouge campus and the System through some of its most challenging times," said acting chancellor Flandus McClinton Jr. "She was beloved and respected by faculty, staff, students and alumni during her tenure. She will be missed, but her legacy will live on. Southern University has truly lost a giant."
The Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes Honors College on SUBR's campus was named in her honor.
Funeral arrangements for Dr. Spikes are pending, but check back with WBRZ.com for the latest details as they are released.