Walter J. Leonard, former president of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, died on December 8. He was 86 years old.
Dr. Leonard served as president of Fisk University from 1977 to 1984. After leaving Fisk, Leonard was named a Distinguished Senior Scholar at Howard University.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Leonard was assistant director of admissions at Harvard Law School and then special assistant to the President Derek Bok of Harvard University. In these roles, Leonard is credited with being a major force in the racial diversity of the student body at Harvard. He was also the founding chair of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research.
A native of Alma, Georgia, Leonard was a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta and the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.