H. Douglas Covington, the former president of several universities, died this week in a rehabilitation center in Radford, Virginia, at the age of 77. He had been ill for more than a year.
Dr. Covington was born in North Carolina and moved with his family to Ohio. He graduated from historically Black, Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees at Ohio State University.
Dr. Covington served as chancellor of Winston-Salem State University and as president of Alabama A&M University and Cheyney University in Pennsylvania. In 1995, he was appointed president of Radford University in Virginia. He was the first African American president of a predominantly white, state-operated university in Virginia. He served in that post until 2005. He later served as interim president of Emory & Henry College in Emory, Virginia.
At Radford, Dr. Covington also was a tenured professor of psychology and education. In 2008 the university’s honored its former president by naming a new performing arts facility, the Douglas and Beatrice Covington Center for the Visual and Performing Arts.