It is with heavy hearts that we announce to the Philander Smith Community of Scholars that our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Zollie Stevenson, Jr., passed away early on the morning of Friday, July 8, 2022.
As many know, Dr. Stevenson officially joined Philander Smith College in 2015 as an Associate Professor of Psychology (Tenured) and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. His dedication, admirable work and vision in these capacities earned his well-deserved ascension to Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, followed by his permanent placement as Vice President for Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer. During his tenure, along with other significant achievements, he was a key architect of the College’s 10-Year Long Range Plan and vision for the future. As such, he was a central figure of the President’s Executive Cabinet until his retirement and relocation to Maryland in December 2019.
Because of his unswerving affinity for the College, however, while in retirement Dr. Stevenson remained a fixture in our Forward Movement. Serving as a consultant, he helped to undergird progress by assisting the President with institutional strategy, as well as sponsored research and grantsmanship activities. He worked diligently with those helping to realize the Dr. Joycelyn Elders School of Allied and Public Health, and he consulted on the Lilly Foundation Grant that supports the institution’s Youth Theological Institute and Thriving In Ministry program. Additionally, he was deeply invested in the Social Justice Institute and participated in the December 2021 Ideation Retreat to help chart its course forward. Most notably, perhaps, Dr. Stevenson continued to act as an advocate, support system and mentor for many at the institution, but most especially for those within the Division of Academic Affairs.
While we are at a loss for words at how profoundly his transition hurts, we are forever grateful for Dr. Stevenson’s indelible fingerprints upon our lives individually and upon Philander Smith College’s most recent history. During his lifetime Dr. Stevenson was many things: an erudite scholar, an influential expert within the halls of academia, a well-respected and Life Member of his beloved Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a doting father and grandfather, and a trusted friend and confidante.
It is without understatement to assert that Dr. Zollie Stevenson, Jr. has earned our eternal respect and shall never be forgotten. Our prayers are lifted toward his family, loved ones, and legion of friends and fraternity brothers worldwide with whom we mourn alongside.