Former WSSU Chancellor Covington Dies
Dr. H. Douglas Covington
July 3, 2012Dr. H. Douglas Covington, who served as chancellor of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) from 1977 until 1984, passed away June 27 at the age of 77.
A native of Winston-Salem, Covington devoted 50 years of his career to serving as an educational leader. In addition to serving as chancellor at WSSU, he was president of Alabama A&M University and Cheyney University as well as vice president of development at Tuskegee Institute. In 1995, Covington became the first African American to lead a non-historically black public college or university in Virginia when he became president of Radford University. After his retirement from Radford in 2005, Covington served as interim president of Emory & Henry College.
While at WSSU, Covington and his late wife, Bea, were known for their warmth and commitment to developing the potential of the students and the university. He brought together leaders from across the city to raise funds for scholarships to support the recruitment of academically talented students while he also worked to develop programs for students who were not as well-prepared academically. Covington worked closely with local government, business, professionals and civic organizations to support the economic and social development of the area as well.
Covington held leadership roles on government boards of numerous civic and professional organizations at the state and national level. He served as the North Carolina representative to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities; on the executive committee for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education; on the North Carolina board of Theater Arts, the North Carolina Art Museum board; as chairman of the Steering Committee on Historically Black Colleges and Universities for the U.S. Department of the Interior; and on the First National Bank Corporation’s holding company board. In addition, he served as a consultant to the Kellogg Foundation, the Hanes Corporation (now Hanesbrands, Inc.) and the U.S. Agency for International Development. He was a life member of the NAACP and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Covington was preceded in death by his wife, Bea. He is survived by two sons, Anthony Covington and Jeffrey Covington; two grandchildren, Christopher Slade Covington and Olivia Marie Covington; his brother in brother-in-law, Arthur Mitchell; and his sister-in-law, Ozzie Topps. Funeral services were held June 29 in Radford, Va.