In Memoriam: Oscar Lewis Prater, 1939-2022

Oscar Prater, the long-time educator who served as president of two historically Black educational institutions – Talladega College in Alabama and what is now Fort Valley State University in Georgia – died on December 8. He was 83 years old.

A native of Sylacauga, Alabama, Dr. Prater earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Talladega College in 1946. He held a master’s degree from Hampton University in Virginia and a second master’s degree and a doctorate in education from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Dr. Prater was appointed the sixth president of Fort Valley State College in 1990. During his tenure, he presided over the college’s transition to university status. He stepped down in 2001. Dr. Prater later was named the nineteenth president of Talladega College and served from 2005 to 2007. He also held leadership roles at Hampton University, including vice president and special assistant to President William R. Harvey. Dr. Harvey and Dr. Prater were classmates and basketball teammates while students at Talladega College.

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