Retired University President of the Southern University System and University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Dr. Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes was born on August 24, 1936 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Margaret and Lawrence Richard. Dolores credits her parents, as the single greatest influence on her life. She departed her life on Monday, June 1, 2015. Viewing will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at Greenoaks Funeral Home, 9595 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the F. G. Clark Activity Center at Southern University. Visitation will be at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2251 Main Street, Baton Rouge, LA on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Ivy Beyond the Wall Ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. Rosary will be recited at 10:30 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at 11:30 a.m. with Father Thomas Clark, SJ as celebrant. Interment will be at the Greenoaks Memorial Park Cemetery. Dr. Spikes received her elementary and high school education in the parochial and public school systems in Baton Rouge. Throughout her youth, her parents strongly advocated the value of a college education and as a result, she enrolled at Southern University in 1953. In 1957, she earned her B.S. degree in Mathematics. In 1958, she returned to Louisiana and accepted a teaching position at Mossville High School in Calcasieu Parish. While serving in that capacity, Dr. Spikes helped to improve the school's ratings by introducing independent study programs. After graduating, Dr. Spikes pursued a M.S. degree in Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While pursuing her Master's degree, Dr. Spikes gained a passion for teaching and decided that she would give back to her community by becoming a teacher. Dr. Spikes returned to her alma mater, Southern University, and served as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics in 1961. In 1971, Dr. Spikes made history by becoming the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Louisiana State University (LSU). A remarkable educator and tireless advocate tor equal access to education for all, Dr. Spikes was inducted into the LSU College of Science Hall of Distinction in 2012. During the eighties, Dr. Spikes began to move from academia to administrative positions. From 1982 to 1985, she served as Assistant to the Chancellor for Southern University at Baton Rouge. Later, she became Executive Vice Chancellor and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. In the late eighties, she served as Chancellor for Southern University-Baton Rouge and Southern University-New Orleans campuses. Dr. Spikes was the first female Chancellor of a land grant university in the State of Louisiana. She was then appointed as a board member of Harvard University's Institute of Educational Management in 1987. In 1988, Dr. Spikes made history once again being appointed as President of the Southern University and A&M College System, one of the largest predominantly black university systems in the United States. As president, Dr. Spikes became not only the first female to lead a public college or university in Louisiana, but also the first woman in the United States to oversee a university system. Later, in 1996, Dr. Spikes became the president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore where she served until 2001. Dr. Spikes has received numerous awards and recognitions for her accomplishments in academia, including: the Thurgood Marshall Educational Achievement Award and Ebony Magazine's "Most Influential Black Woman in America." She was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Baton Rouge, LA, Pi Mu Epsilon Honorary Fraternity in Mathematics, Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society, Phi Delta Kappa Honorary Fraternity and Gamma Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She has also served on the board of advisors for historically black colleges and universities, the board of directors for Education Commission of the States and the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities. She was named by the Southern University System, President Emeritus after her retirement. She leaves to cherish her memory, her sisters, Ann Richard Fenelon and Elizabeth Richard Bellaire; the love of her life, her grandchildren, Bianca Christina Margaret Pete, and Bronson Christopher Lawrence Pete. Among her several nieces and nephews, Gina Bellaire Clark, Lillie Mae Etienne, Evelyn "Pie" Sheldon, Corliss Ann Stewart, and Marlene Domingue and her nephews, Morris Richard Clark, Sr., Mack Allen Jones, Carl Glen Jones and Otis "Peanut" Jones were like her daughters and sons. She adored her godchildren, Gwendolyn West, Martene Moore, Gaylyn Elizabeth Bellaire (niece) and Scott Christopher Clark (nephew). She was a treasure to Dorothy Smart, Dr. Betty Wienhoff and Gloria Love, whom she raised like her daughters. Dr. Spikes is preceded in death by her loving husband, Hermon Spikes; parents Margaret and Lawrence Richard and daughter Rhonda Kathleen Spikes-Brown. Dr. Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes will be remembered as a leader who drew on the wisdom and experience she gained as President of her beloved alma mater, Southern University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the grace that comes with being a native of the South. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Sisters of the Holy Family c/o Sister Mary Greta, Jupiter 6901, Chef Menteur Hwy., New Orleans, LA 70126 or the Sister Thea Bowman Foundation, 44870 Woodridge Drive Hermantown, MN 58811.
Published in The Advocate from Jun. 6 to Jun. 9, 2015.