L. Eudora Pettigrew papers

Biographical and Historical Notes

Dr. L. Eudora Pettigrew

Educator, administrator, community leader, and international emissary L. Eudora Pettigrew's (b.1928) pioneering academic career rose to a crescendo during her incumbency as the first female African American president in the State University of New York system (at SUNY Old Westbury) and as chair of the International Association of University Presidents/United Nations (IAUP/UN) Commission on Disarmament Education, Conflict Resolution, and Peace. Pettigrew is the recipient of many professional and civic honors including three honorary doctorates and the 1991 Distinguished Black Women in Education award, the National Council of Negro Woman's highest award.

Born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in 1928 to Corrye Lee Williams and Warren Cicero Williams, Luella Eudora Pettigrew began her long and successful academic career earning a bachelor of music from West Virginia State College in 1950. She went on to earn a master of arts in rehabilitation counseling from Southern Illinois University in 1963 and a doctorate in educational psychology from the same institution in 1966.

Dr. Pettigrew served as faculty in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bridgeport (1966-1970), and as Professor and Chair of Urban and Metropolitan Studies at Michigan State University (1970-1980), the first African American to chair a department at that institution. In her next position at the University of Delaware (1980-1986), she became full professor in the College of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, soon later Associate Provost for Instruction (1981), and thereby the first African American to hold a position in central administration at the university. With her appointment as president of SUNY Old Westbury in 1986, she became the first female African American president in the SUNY system and led for thirteen years until her retirement in 1999. Throughout these positions, Pettigrew published research in national and international journals on the topics of language development, psychological reinforcement strategies, higher education planning and policy, and disarmament education.

From 1990 through 2010, Dr. Pettigrew had an instrumental role in the work of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), an organization that promotes "global awareness and competence as well as peace and international understanding through education." She served as co-chair (1990-1996) and then as chair (1996-2002) of the IAUP/UN commission on Disarmament Education, Conflict Resolution, and Peace, and as the IAUP elected representative to the Executive Committee of the UN/Non-Governmental Organization. With funding received from UNESCO and IAUP, she organized, planned, and conducted conferences with worldwide universities on topics of disarmament education, conflict resolution, and peace in the United States, Egypt, the Republic of South Africa, Denmark, Belgium, the People's Republic of China, Norway, Mexico, and France. She was invited additionally as speaker to conferences in the Republic of South Korea, Japan, the Russian Federation, Taiwan, the Republic of Panama, Spain, Argentina, and the Philippines. From 1996 until 2002, she served IAUP's representative to the UNESCO Peace Programme in Palestine and as the IAUP representative for the European Centre's Chairs Program in Austria on Human Rights, Democracy, Peace, and Tolerance.

Dr. Pettigrew has been described as "a pioneer for black women in the American tertiary education system." She is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who Among Black Americans, Who's Who in International Women, and Who's Who in American Women. As an executive member of the IAUP, she was internationally renowned as a champion of disarmament education and world peace efforts.

Content Description

Educator, administrator, community leader, and international emissary L. Eudora Pettigrew's (b. 1928) pioneering academic career rose to a crescendo during her incumbency as the first female African American president in the State University of New York system (at SUNY Old Westbury) and as chair of the International Association of University Presidents/United Nations (IAUP/UN) Commission on Disarmament Education, Conflict Resolution, and Peace.

The L. Eudora Pettigrew papers document the academic and professional career of Dr. Pettigrew, chronicling over sixty years of her life as a student, educator, administrator, and global emissary. Spanning the dates 1900 to 2012, the collection also offers insight into the lives of three generations of Pettigrew's family, for whom education and scholarship were clearly valued.

The collection comprises eight linear feet of speeches, essays, conference proceedings, certificates, awards, diplomas, photographs, books, VHS, ephemera, and realia. A large and central part of the collection consists of Pettigrew's academic writing and speeches on topics of agricultural systems, urban environments, race and class, higher education administration, and international disarmament and peace education. The papers also offer insight into the work and activities of the IAUP, tracing Pettigrew's functions and responsibilities within the organization. Additionally the collection brings together a substantial amount of awards, certificates, plaques, and objects given to Pettigrew by various universities, global institutions, and community organizations over the course of her career.

The collection is organized in four series: I. Family history; II. Academic and professional; III. International Association of University Presidents; and IV. Photographs, awards, and recognition.

Series I., Family history, consists of personal records collected by three generations of L. Eudora Pettigrew's immediate family, and is divided into subseries chronologically by family member. Series I.A., contains items of Pettigrew's father, Warren Cicero Williams (born circa 1896), who served in the United States Army before becoming a notable Kentucky agriculturalist. Items that belonged to Williams include two diplomas (1920, 1923) awarding expertise in agricultural and farm crop studies. The subseries also contains William's wallet and tax documents from the 1920s and 1930s. Series I.B., comprises materials related to Pettigrew's mother, Corrye Lee Newell, who became a teacher in Kentucky in the 1950s. Items in this subseries include a 1908 diary of bible study belonging to Newell's father, Reverend C.M. Newell, and a New Testament Bible published circa 1900. Additional items include a 1959 teaching certificate for Corrye Lee Newell from Kentucky's Department of Education and 1960 diploma from Kentucky State College. Series I.C., contains items related to Dr. Charles Warren Williams (circa 1926-1982), brother of Eudora Pettigrew, who became a surgeon in the late-1940s. Items in this series include Charles Warren Williams' baby book and funeral record, as well as his yearbooks from Meharry Medical College. Series I.D., comprises school yearbooks that belonged to Jonathan Robert Pettigrew, son of L. Eudora Pettigrew. The Morehouse College yearbooks span three years (1978-1980). Series I.E., contains a small number of genealogical notes written by L. Eudora Pettigrew.

Series II., Academic and professional, spans the duration of Dr. Pettigrew's career in academia and chronicles her time as student, educator, administrator, and university president through essays, speeches, press articles, conference and commencement proceedings, ephemera, and other materials. The series largely consists of L. Eudora Pettigrew's academic essays, speeches, and drafts, thus offering insights into the path and pattern of Dr. Pettigrew's research. After gaining her undergraduate degree in music in 1950, Pettigrew's interests clearly shifted, and her inquiry turned toward social psychology, linguistics, education, urban affairs, metropolitan agricultural systems, sociology, higher education administration, and race relations.

The series is arranged chronologically beginning with institutions from which Pettigrew earned undergraduate and graduate degrees, II.A., West Virginia State College (B.Mu.); and II.B., Southern Illinois University (M.A. and Ph.D.). As the series continues, it follows the ascent of her professional career: II.C., University of Bridgeport (faculty); II.D., Michigan State University (faculty and administration); II.E., University of Delaware (faculty and administration); and II.F., SUNY Old Westbury (president).

Series III., International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) spans nearly twenty years of Dr. Pettigrew's involvement with the international organization and is divided into five subseries: III.A., Speeches, essays, and drafts; III.B., IAUP publications; III.C., United Nations and UNESCO publications; III.D., IAUP related materials, and III.E., VHS.

Series III.A., contains a large number of speeches and essays created by Pettigrew in her role as co-chair, then co-chair, of the IAUP's Commission on Disarmament Education, Conflict Resolution, and Peace. Pettigrew delivered the speeches at IAUP conferences in various locations around the world including Taiwan, Russia, China, Egypt, Spain, and Australia, among others, mainly on the topic of disarmament education. Series III.B., IAUP publications, consists of official pamphlets, press releases, reports, and bulletins created by the organization. Series III.C., contains United Nations and UNESCO publications that feature topics relevant to Pettigrew's work with the IAUP, namely human rights and global peace studies. Series III.D., contains books and ephemera related to the IAUP and its global mission, but not published by Pettigrew or the organization. One highlight of this subseries is a typescript of a one-man play Ralph Bunch: A Warrior for Peace written by Charles Turner which was presented at the IAUP Triennial conference in 1999. The author noted that L. Eudora Pettigrew inspired the historical play about Bunche who was an African American Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1950. Series III.E., contains VHS tapes of IAUP conference proceedings and speeches by Dr. Pettigrew.

Series IV., Photographs, awards, and objects, comprises photos, photograph albums, awards, certificates, plaques, objects, and realia spanning the time of Pettigrew's early career in 1965 through her post-retirement career work in the late 2000s. Many of the photographs, certificates, and plaques were framed or mounted items that Dr. Pettigrew kept in her home and office as keepsakes from various universities, global institutions, and community organizations. The series also contains sixteen photograph albums containing mostly images taken overseas during various IAUP events and conferences. Lastly, the series contains an array of objects that served as ritual and formal awards to Pettigrew in her presidential role which include academic robes (hoods), a ceremonial staff, plates, trophies, medals, coins, letter openers, and paperweights. Highlights of this series include Pettigrew's three honorary degrees from Western Connecticut University, Holy Family University, and University of Pretoria, South Africa.