Frederick Douglass Patterson, the leading black educator who founded the United Negro College Fund, has died of a heart attack. He was 86.
Patterson, president emeritus of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, died Tuesday at his home here.
The fund he started became the largest independent source of funds for private, historically black colleges in the United States. It provides money for scholarships, staff salaries, library resources and laboratories.
A consortium of black colleges seeking ways to raise money, the fund was founded in 1943 with an endowment of $765,000. Its original 27 members served 12,000 students.
Today the fund has 42 members and in the fiscal year ending March 31 aided 45,000 students from an endowment of $42 million.
Born in Washington
Patterson, named for the black anti-slavery leader Frederick Douglass, was born in Washington. He received a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1923 and a master of science degree in 1927 from Iowa State College. He went on to get a second doctorate at Cornell University.
In 1923, he became an instructor at Virginia State College and then was named director of agriculture at the Petersburg, Va., school.
He went to work in 1928 at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, raising the vocational training school for blacks to national fame in his 25 years there. He was president of the institute founded by Booker T. Washington in 1881 from 1935 to 1953.
During his tenure student enrollment grew to 2,000 taught by a faculty of 300 in 133 buildings, many of which were built by the students.
President Reagan in 1987 honored Patterson with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.