FVSU president to headline John W. Davison Lecture Series

November 1, 2012 – Spend an evening with Fort Valley State University’s top scholar at a popular lecture series next week. Fort Valley State University’s president, Dr. Larry E. Rivers, is the featured keynote speaker for the John W. Davison Lecturer Series on Wednesday, Nov. 7 in the C.W. Pettigrew Center. During his lecture entitled, “The Joy of Research and Writing,” Rivers will speak about his latest book “Rebels and Runaways: Slave Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Florida.” The event is free and open to the public.

Rivers’ book, which available on Amazon.com, is a gripping study that examines slave resistance and protest in antebellum Florida, and its local and national impact from 1821 to 1865. Dr. Rivers uses a variety of sources for his work including slaveholders’ wills, probate records, ledgers, account books, court records, oral histories and newspaper accounts, to document Florida’s significance as a runaway slave haven dating back to the 17th Century.

Under Rivers’ presidency, the 2013 U.S. News and World Report recognized FVSU as the top public historically black college and university in Georgia. Dr. Rivers has earned numerous awards, and was featured in state and national publications such as Georgia Trend and Smart Money magazines.

The Philadelphia native grew up in the Sharon Hill suburb. FVSU’s future eighth president came to the Peach State, enrolled at Fort Valley State College (now University); then earned a bachelor’s degree in social science education.

After graduating from FVSC, the academician entered Villanova University. He received a master’s degree in history. Carnegie-Mellon University awarded the scholar a doctorate degree in history and curriculum development in 1977. He earned a doctorate of philosophy in history from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2002.

The scholar taught history at Florida A & M University for more than two decades. The Sunshine State university later named Dr. Rivers as a “Distinguished University Professor.” Additionally, FVSU’s chief leader served in a series of administrative appointments that lead to his selection in 2002, as FAMU’s College of Arts and Sciences dean.

In 2006, Georgia’s Board of Regents named Dr. Rivers as the eighth president of Fort Valley State University. He brought to the institution a solid record of scholarship, excellence in teaching, administrative experience and business success.

Dr. Rivers and his administration have succeeded in tackling many challenges at FVSU. He has launched many capital project initiatives including the construction of a $16.8 million Academic, Science and Classroom Building; a $9 million Wildcat Stadium; a $6 million Student Amenities Building; the renovations of Huntington and Ohio halls, and a State Animal Facility for Emergencies Center.

Dr. Rivers has also authored additional books. His work, “Slavery In Florida, Territorial Days to Emancipation,” published in 2000, garnered three national awards. He subsequently co-authored two additional volumes – “Laborers in the Vineyard of the Lord: The Beginnings of the AME Church in Florida” and “For a Great and Grand Purpose: The Beginnings of the AMEZ Church in Florida” – that have received scholarly acclaim. President Rivers also co-edited another three volumes – “The Varieties of Women’s Experiences: Southern Women in the Post Civil War Century”,” John Willis Menard: Lays in Summer Lands” and “The African American Experience”.

The father of two sons, Larry Omar and Linje Eugene, Dr. Rivers is married to FVSU’s first lady Betty Hubbard Rivers.

For more information, contact Alecia Livatt, interim director of development, at (478) 825-6959.



Christina D. Milton, writer

Marketing and Communications

(478) 825-6319, miltonc@fvsu.edu