In Memoriam: Paul Elritt Meacham, 1936-2019

Paul Meacham, the first African American to lead a college in the state of Nevada, died on December 7 in Las Vegas. He was 83 years old.

A native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Dr. Meacham earned his undergraduate degree in music from Tennessee State University. He earned a master’s degree in music from the University of Michigan and went on to earn a Ph.D. in education from the University of Texas. He was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in education at the University of Texas.

Dr. Meacham served as dean at both Richland Community College in Dallas, Texas, and at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas. In 1983, he was appointed president of what was then Clark County Community College. He led that institution, now known as the College of Southern Nevada, for 11 years. Dr. Meacham was the first African American college president in the state.

Frederico Zaragoza, the current president of the College of Southern Nevada, said that “Dr. Meacham was a giant in CSN’s past who changed the lives of thousands of college students. His legacy will continue to shape the college and the state of Nevada for generations to come.”

In 2015, the college paid tribute to Dr. Meacham by naming the student services building on its Charleston campus in his honor.

After stepping down as president of the College of Southern Nevada, Dr. Meacham taught for nine years at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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  1. A great educator, leader, and role model. I only worked with him a short time at UNLV but we shared Univ of Texas alumnus status and I could count on his humor and wisdom when I saw him.

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