Dolores Richard Spikes, the former president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and former chancellor of the Southern University System in Louisiana, died on June 1. She was 78 years old.
Dr. Spikes was a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Southern University in 1957 and a master’s degree in mathematics a year later at the University of Illinois. In 1971, Dr. Spikes was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics at Louisiana State University.
In 1961, Spikes joined the faculty at Southern University and rose through the ranks to become a full professor. After serving as chancellor for the campuses of Southern University in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, in 1988 she was named chancellor of the Southern University System. She was the first woman to lead a university system in the United States. The Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes Honors College at Southern University Baton Rouge is named in her honor.
In 1996, Dr. Spikes left Southern University to serve for five years as president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.