Longtime Educator Huel Perkins passes away | Events
A longtime educator and community activist has died.
Huel D. Perkins, a former LSU and Southern University professor, passed away Monday, April 15. He was 88 years old.
His son, former Baton Rouge News Anchor Huel Perkins, tells 9News Neighborhood his father died peacefully with his family by his side.
“My dad’s legacy is that education is the key to success,” Perkins says. “Education and preparation will overcome any barrier. His life was a testament to that.”“Baton Rouge has lost a great leader whose life’s work has been to make education exciting and important,” said SU Chancellor James L. Llorens. “Dr. Perkins was a man of great dignity, who believed in Southern University and its mission. His family is in our prayers.”
Perkins graduated from Southern in 1947 with a degree in music. In 1951, he wrote and published Southern’s fight song. He earned a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
He worked for 25 years at Southern, serving as director of the music department and dean of the Arts and Humanities College. He then worked 27 years at LSU as a professor, system vice chancellor for academic affairs and special assistant to the chancellor. He spent two years in Washington, D.C. as the deputy director of education programs for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
LSU named a doctoral fellowship program in his honor. He was also the first African American elected to the United Way and the first African American admitted to the Baton Rouge Rotary Club.
“He taught me humanities at Southern University,” says family friend Barbara Woods. “He was such an eloquent speaker. He loved music. He loved the opera. He loved history. He had such an exuberant personality and he never met a stranger. When he laughed, the world laughed with him because he had a laugh like no other.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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