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Dr. Ulysses V. Spiva

Dr. Ulysses Van Spiva was born in 1931 in New Market, Tennessee. Dr. Spiva had four brothers and sisters and was the first in his family to attend college in 1950 at Tennessee State, where he was joined by his younger brother Walter two years later. Dr. Spiva went on to a life of service in education that took him from Tennessee to Ohio; California; Washington, D.C.; Florida; and finally Virginia.
Dr. Spiva graduated from Tennessee State in 1954 with a major in mathematics and a minor in physics. While at Tennessee State, he was elected President of the student government. He began his career as an educator, as a teacher, and later department chairman in the Cleveland, Ohio Public Schools, and as an adult school principal.
While serving in the public schools, Dr. Spiva earned his Master’s Degree from Case-Western Reserve University. Later, he earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Political Science from Stanford University in two years while serving as Assistant to the Dean of the Graduate School of Education.
After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Spiva worked as a Washington Policy Fellow in the U.S. Office of Education in Washington, D.C. for a year before going on to serve in various distinguished positions at Florida International University, including Executive Assistant to the President and Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor in the School of Education.
In 1979, Dr. Spiva became the Dean of the Darden School of Education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, serving as the first Black dean of any of ODU’s schools. He and his family took up residence in Virginia Beach, where Dr. Spiva and his wife lived until his death in 2016. After stepping down as Dean in 1984, Dr. Spiva continued as a Professor of Education until his retirement from ODU in 1994. As he had done for decades, he continued to lecture around the country for Nova Southeastern University for many years after he “retired.”
Dr. Spiva and his wife were long time members of the Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church in Norfolk. He was an active member of the Joseph C. Webb Usher Ministry, the Men’s Fellowship Ministry, the William T. Mercer Chorus, and he served for a time as the Chair of the Social Justice Ministry.
In addition to publishing three books and numerous research papers and reports, Dr. Spiva served on many volunteer boards, including the National School Boards Association, President of the Council of Urban Boards of Education, Virginia Beach School Board, President of the Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Program, and the Hampton Roads Committee of 200+ Men. He was a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the 1994 recipient of the Old Dominion University Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, among many others.

To make a donation to this scholarship, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/givenow and click on “Other Areas of Support”. Select the Dr. Ulysses V. Spiva Memorial Scholarship Fund.