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

Atwood, Rufus Ballard

(born: 1897  -  died: 1983) 

Rufus B. Atwood was born in Hickman, KY. In 1929 he became the sixth president of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], serving in that capacity until 1962.

Atwood led the school toward becoming a four-year accredited college with revised and expanded programs. He was a non-confrontational advocate for the school and the education of African Americans.

Atwood was a World War I veteran and the first African American awarded the University of Kentucky Sullivan Medallion for his dedication to education. The Rufus B. Atwood papers are located at Kentucky State University.

For more see A Black Educator in the Segregated South, by G. Smith.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Atwood, Rufus Ballard,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-12-14 17:34:20