In Memoriam: Lena Prewitt, 1931-2024

Lena Prewitt, the first Black woman professor at the University of Alabama, passed away on February 14. She was 92 years old.

Dr. Prewitt joined the faculty of the University of Alabama in 1970 as an associate professor of business administration, making her the university’s first-ever Black woman professor.  After 24 years with the University of Alabama, Dr. Prewitt became chair of the department of business and economics and vice president for financial affairs at Stillman College, a historically Black college in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Outside of her career in higher education, Dr. Prewitt was an advocate for manufacturing, education, equal rights, and international relations. She served on a congressional commission on affirmative action and higher education, as well as advisory state commissions to China, India, South Africa, and Poland. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Alabama, Dr. Prewitt served as the only Black person working on the Saturn V project under scientist Wernher von Braun at the National Aeronautics and Space Association.

Dr. Prewitt received her bachelor’s degree from Stillman College. She earned a master’s degree and a doctorate from Indiana University.

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