Fort Valley State University  

Distinguished Alumni

Fort Valley State University recognizes alumni who've demonstrated interest in the university through leadership or service; demonstrated integrity in personal life and gained the respect of others. Fort Valley State University recognizes that there will always be more distinguished alumni from the thousands of former students than can ever be recognized. Those chosen are distinguished through their many years of university, civic and professional contributions.

Lonnie Bartley ’83
He is a head women's basketball coach with the most wins in America. Bartley captured his 10th SIAC win in 2011.

James W. Blasingame’50
A distinguished professor and chair of African Studies at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

Ulysses Byas’50
Byas is the first black superintendent of schools in Alabama. He authored two books, including Hello Professor: A Black Principal and Professional Leadership in the Segregated South..

Thomas Dortch ’72
Dortch serves as the chairman and CEO, TWD Inc. He’s also the past president of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.

Nick Harper’01
Cornerback for Tennessee Titians.

Catherine Hardy-Lavender’52
Hardy-Lavender is an Olympic Gold Medalist. This athlete won a gold medal in the 4 x 100 meter relay at the 1952 Olympic Summer Games in Helsinki, Finland.

Samuel D. Jolley, Jr.’62
This alumnus is the past president of Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Ga.

Willie Earl Lockette’71
Lockette is a Superior Court judge in Dougherty County, Ga.

Leon J. (Stan) Lomax ’43
He is the retired FVSU head football coach who was inducted into the Georgia Football Hall of Fame and National Football Hall of Fame.

Cornell McBride’79
This alumnus is the owner of McBride Research Laboratories.

C. W. Pettigrew’49
Pettigrew is the first alumnus to serve as Fort Valley State College president.

Tyrone Poole’96
Poole attended FVSU. He was the first round pick by Carolina Panthers. He earned two Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots football team in 2003 and 2004.

Larry E. Rivers ’73
He is the second alumnus to serve as FVSU president. He is a distinguished historian

Calvin Smyre ’70
Smyre is an executive vice president of Synovus and a Georgia state representative from Columbus, Ga.

Austin Thomas Walden
He is the first black judge to be appointed to the bench in Georgia.

Cordell Wynn’64
He is the past president of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

  • The Hall of Fame Committee accepts nominees who satisfy the following qualifications:

    • A Hall of Fame nominee must be a financial member of the FVSU National Alumni Association, Inc. A financial member is a life member, regular member, or associate member who has been a dues paying member for a minimum of each of the past five (5) years, or who has a previous history of regular and/or substantial financial or material support to the University or the Alumni Association, or who has brought documented national or international acclaim to one or both units.
    • Candidates must be nominated by an active member or a chapter of the FVSU National Alumni Association, Inc.
    • A person may be nominated at any time, either beginning ten (10) years after receiving the Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree, or ten (10) years after his/her class would have graduated from Fort Valley State University.
    • The time lapse, if any, between active contributions to the institution and consideration of non-graduates of the institution shall be left to the discretion of the FVSU National Alumni Hall of Fame Committee by a majority vote.
    • Nominations shall be made on a yearly basis. To be considered, nominees not selected may be renominated.
    • Nominee must demonstrate that he or she made significant contributions to the progress and development of his or her community and Fort Valley State University. Examples must be supplied such as certificates, letters, etc. Documentation must come from the source of activity, service or long term involvement.
    • A nominee must be of outstanding quality, high moral character, integrity, and held in high esteem by his/her colleagues.
    • A nominee must receive three-fourths (3/4) of the total vote of the voting members present to be recommended for induction into the Alumni Hall of Fame.
  • Distinguished Fort Valley State University graduates are Hall of Fame Inductees of the FVSU National Alumni Association, Inc. Selections are based on the criteria listed below.


    • Coach Leon J. Lomax – Athletics
    • Dr. Horace E. Tate – Community Service
    • Dr. C. W. Pettigrew – Education
    • Judge William Alexander – Politics


    • Catherine J. Duncan – Education
    • Lyda Hanna – Community Service
    • Douglas Ragin – Blue and Gold


    • Coach Alvin J. Copeland – Athletics
    • Mildred Southward – Community Service


    • Horace M. Bond – Education
    • Coach Richard Craig – Athletics
    • Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. – Community Service
    • Henry Alexander Hunt – Education
    • Cornell McBride – Business
    • Therman McKenzie – Business
    • Calvin Smyre – Politics
    • Cornelious V. Troup – Education


    • Dr. Waldo E. Blanchet – Education
    • Rayfield Wright – Athletics


    • Junia J. Fambro – Blue and Gold
    • Dr. Anne R. Gayles – Education
    • Catherine H. Lavender – Athletics


    • Earl Williams, Jr. - Politics


    • Curtis L. Atkinson – Politics
    • Charlie A. Hicks, Sr. – Education
    • Samuel R. Hollinshed – Blue and Gold
    • Dollie D. Horton – Business
    • Dr. Cordell Wynn – Education


    • Maulvin Engram – Blue and Gold
    • Herman Lodge – Politics


    • Thelma J. Branahm – Blue and Gold
    • Dr. Ulysses Byas – Education
    • Dr. Willie Gibson – Health Services
    • Dr. Curtis J. Hill – Business
    • Eugene R. Jones, Sr. – Community Service
    • Attorney Austin Thomas Walden – Law (posthumously)


    • Leola J. Lemon – Business


    • Coach James E. Hawkins – Athletics
    • Peyton Williams, Jr. – Education





    • Royal Randolph, Jr. – Blue and Gold


    • The Founders of Fort Valley State College - - Charlie A. Anderson; Gideon Virgil Barnett; Stephen Elisha Bassett; Allen Cooper; John Wesley Davison; Peter Fann; F.W. Gano; John W. Hale; David Jones; J. R. Jones; David J. Lawrence; Henry Lowman; Thomas McAfee; James Isaac Miller; Alonza L. Nixon; Charlie H. Nixon; Lee O’Neal; Thomas W. Williams


    • Dr. Anne Greene Stroud – Education


    • Mattie L. Benns-Manson


    • Horace “Peck” Hawes – Education


    • Dr. John T. Blackwell (posthumously)
    • Louise Duncan Powell
    • Richie Dean Williams – White – Education


    • The 1947 Undefeated Wildcat Football Team – Athletics


    • Dr. Ira Hicks
    • Josiah Phelps
    • George R. Street, II (posthumously)


    • Ruby Summers Church – The Arts
    • Dr. Genevieve M. Knight – Education



    • Napoleon Jordan – Education


    • Dr. Samuel D. Jolley, Jr.
    • Thomas J. Palmer


    • Harriet Barfield Black
    • Dr. Clinton H. Dixon
    • Col. Anthony N. Love
    • Dr. Velma R. McCray
    • Yewston N. Myers, Jr.


    • Dr. Magalene Hester
    • Dr. Ozias Pearson
    • Dr. Larry E. Rivers
    • Paul L. Thompkins
    • Robert W. White, Sr.



    • Betty H. Rivers
    • Asa T. Boynton, Sr.
    • Charles Robinson, Jr.


    • Charles R. Amos (posthumously)
    • Alma Haywood Bass (posthumously)
    • Wilmetta Langston McSee


    • Brenda King
    • Merline Devine McCloud
    • Margaret McCormick
    • Dr. Marian W. Smith
    • Matthew Conyers, Jr.
    • Bernice Robinson Street

    *Denotes years in which no selections were made

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