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Fri, 08.25.1922

Prezell Robinson, Educator born

Prezell Robinson

*Prezell Robinson was born on this date in 1922.  He was a Black Administrator & Educator. 

From Batesburg, South Carolina, Prezell Russell Robinson graduated from Voorhees School and Junior College in Denmark, S.C., before earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and social science from Saint Augustine College. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in rural education and rural sociology-economics from Cornell University.  He was a dean and sociology professor at Saint Augustine’s between 1956 and 1964, was appointed executive dean and professor in 1964, and was named acting president in June 1966. He became president and a professor of sociology eight months later. 

Robinson has earned recognition throughout his career as a faculty member and administrator. He was voted one of three outstanding teachers at Saint Augustine’s in 1961-62, was awarded a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to India in 1965, and was selected one of 20 college presidents in the “100 Most Effective Presidents of America” in 1986. Robinson has received 11 honorary degrees. When Robinson retired after 28 years as president in 1995, he had achieved his goal of taking a small and largely unknown historically black college and transforming it into a nationally known institution and one of the best colleges of its size in North Carolina.   Believing that educational institutions must exist on a sound financial footing, Robinson operated with a balanced budget during each year of his presidency.

He was an energetic fundraiser responsible for the endowment at St. Augustine, increasing from less than one million to nineteen million dollars. In 1988, he was voted by his peers as one of the most effective college presidents in the United States.  In 1992, President George Bush appointed him as an alternate delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. He was nominated for the same post by President Bill Clinton in 1996. For many years, he has been selected by the U.S. State Department and the Department of Education to lecture and assist in educational endeavors in Africa, the Caribbean, and the People's Republic of China.  Regarded as an eminent scholar and an outstanding administrator, Robinson has published articles in many professional journals.

He is Vice-Chairman of the North Carolina Board of Education. He has served on the United Negro College Fund, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, the International Association of University Presidents, and the Board of Trustees of Voorhees College. He is an active Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church Pension Fund member.   Numerous civic, fraternal, educational, and governmental honors have been bestowed upon Prezell Robinson, including the Star of Africa, Liberia's second-highest award. He has received ten honorary degrees from leading colleges and universities, including his alma maters, Voorhees College and Saint Augustine.

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