From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Pettigrew, L. [Luella] Eudora Williams

(born: March 1, 1928  -  died: December 6, 2021) 

L. Eudora Pettigrew was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the daughter of Corrye L. Newell Williams and Warren C. Williams, the first African American agricultural agent in Christian County, KY.

Eudora Pettigrew was a graduate of West Virginia State College [now West Virginia State University] and Southern Illinois University. She was a professor at several universities before she served six years as associate provost at the University of Delaware. She became president of SUNY Old Westbury in 1986, the first African American woman to become president of a SUNY campus.  She retired in1998.

Pettigrew was also the first African American to serve as chair of a department at Michigan State University (1974-78) and the first to be a central administrator at the University of Delaware (1981-1986).

Pettigrew's initial career plan was to become a concert pianist; she earned her B.Mus. in 1950. She switched career paths when she was in her early 30s, leaving Kentucky to enroll at Southern Illinois, where she earned a masters in counseling and a Ph.D. in educational psychology.

For more see S. C. Schaer, "Positive thinker L. Eudora Pettigrew sunny-old Westbury's president, is both a role model and a commanding presence," Newsday (Melville, NY, Nassau and Suffolk edition), 8/19/1990, The Newsday Magazine section, p. 8; Campus History, an Old Westbury website; Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006; K. Grossman, "Dr. L. Eudora Pettigrew," The Crisis, October 1991, vol. 98, no. 8, pp. 27-29; and The L. Eudora Pettigrew papers at Special Collections, Unviversity of Delaware Libraries.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Christian County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Hopkinsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Newsday (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Who's who among African Americans
NKAA Source: Crisis (periodical)

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“Pettigrew, L. [Luella] Eudora Williams,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 28, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-02-16 19:34:29