notable alumni

FVSU graduates and attendees have gone on to be transformative and towering figures in virtually every field of human endeavor.


The Honorable Austin Thomas Walden, 1902

Georgia’s first black judge since Reconstruction.

Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, 1934

President, Women’s Political Council, board member of the Montgomery Improvement Association, and civil rights activist central to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.


Horace Tate, 1943

First African-American mayoral candidate for the city of Atlanta (1969), Georgia State Senator, first African-American to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky; first African American president of the Georgia Association of Educators.

Leon J. (Stan) Lomax, 1943

Coach of FVSU Wildcat football team from 1963-1976. Lomax’s teams won four SIAC championships and was the first HBCU football team to be featured on a national television network (ABC-televised game versus Fisk University, 1972). Member of the Georgia Sports, SIAC, and FVSC Alumni Halls of Fame.



Dr. Cleveland William Pettigrew, 1945

First alumni president of Fort Valley State College.

Dr. Stanley Edward Rutland, 1947

President of Paul Quinn College (1969-1976).

Josiah Phelps, 1949

First minority to be president of the Future Famers of American National Alumni Association, Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame charter member and first African-American inductee.

Dr. Cordell Wynn, 1950

President of Stillman College (1982-1997).



Catherine Hardy Lavender, 1952

Set American record in the 50-yard dash (1951), anchor of world-record setting women’s gold medal 4 x100 meter relay team at the 1952 Olympics, and member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Dr. John Wesley Blassingame, 1960

Historian and chair of the African-American Studies program at Yale University (1981-1989).


Dr. Genevieve M. Knight, 1961

Virginia (1980) and Maryland (1993) College Mathematics Teacher of the Year, 1987 recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award for Mathematics and Mentoring of Minority Youth from the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Dr. Samuel D. Jolley, Jr., 1962

President of Morris Brown College (1993-1997, 2004-2006).


Chanchy T. "Enus" Wright, 1964

President of Cheyney State University (1982-1985).

Larry Rayfield Wright, 1967

Captain of the Dallas Cowboys, Pro Football Hall of Fame member, and selected by ESPN as one of the top 10 Dallas Cowboys of all time. He is tied for #2 on the list of NFL players who have played in the most Super Bowls, with five appearances and two championships (VI, XII).

Therman McKenzie, Sr., 1970

Inventor of the Sta-Sof-Fro formula, the first product to soften black hair. With Cornell McBride, Sr., founded M&M products, creator of the Curly Perm and marketer of Sta-Sof-Fro.

Georgia State Representative Calvin Smyre, 1970

Elected at age 26 as the youngest member of the Georgia House of Representatives and now longest-serving member. First African-American chair of the Democratic state legislative caucus, chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, and president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. Voted as the national “legislator of the year” in 1985 and 2005.

Chief Judge Willie Earl Lockette, 1971

Chief Judge of the Superior Court of Dougherty County, GA.

Mayor Barbara B. Williams, 1971

First African-American female mayor of Fort Valley, GA and Georgia’s first female band director (Dooly County High School).

Georgia State Senator Freddie Powell Sims, 1972

Has represented the 12th Senatorial District in the Georgia State Senate since 2008, which includes Albany, Georgia and nearby areas. Serves as vice-chairman of the Interstate Cooperation Committee and serves on the Appropriations and Natural Resources and the Environment Committees.

Thomas Wesley Dortch, Jr., 1972

Founder, National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, chairman of 100 Black Men National Board of Directors, and chairman and CEO of the TWD, Inc. consulting firm.

Dr. Larry Eugene Rivers, 1973

President of Fort Valley State University (2006-2013).

Lonnie Bartley, 1983

Winningest coach in the history of HBCU women’s basketball. Two of his teams advanced to the NCAA Women’s Sweet Sixteen.

Georgia State Representative Brian Prince, 1987

Has represented the 127th House District in the Georgia Legislature since 2013, which includes Augusta, Georgia and nearby areas. Serves on the Appropriations, Defense and Veterans Affairs, Motor Vehicles, Special Rules, and Transportation Committees.

Greg Lloyd, 1987

Selected for the NFL Pro Bowl five times with the Pittsburgh Steelers. 2018 Black College Football Hall of Fame Inductee.

Tyrone Poole, 1995

Two-time Super Bowl champion (XXXVIII and XXXIX) as a starter on the New England Patriots NFL team (2003 and 2004).

Nick Harper (attended)

Super Bowl XLI champion with the Indianapolis Colts (2007).

Cornell McBride, Sr. (attended)

Pioneer of African-American hair care industry. With Therman McKenzie, Sr., founded M&M products, creator of the Curly Perm and marketer of Sta-Sof-Fro. Later created Wave By Design.

Curtis Lee Atkinson

First African-American to serve on a U.S. senator’s official staff (Sen. Herman Talmadge) and, first African-American Assistant Secretary of State for the State of Georgia.

The Honorable William Alexander

Fulton County, GA Superior Court judge, state legislator, and civil rights attorney who successfully challenged segregation and discrimination.

Richard Knight, Jr.

First African-American city manager of Dallas, TX and current chair of the State Fair of Texas.

Georgia State Representative Valencia Stovall (attended)

Has represented the 74th House District in the Georgia Legislature since 2013, which includes Riverdale, Forest Park, and College Park, Georgia and nearby areas. Serves on the Economic Development and Tourism, Education, Interstate Cooperation, and Small Business Development Committees.

Dr. Clinton H. Dixon

Recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (awarded by President George W. Bush, 2001)

Dr. Cynthia Hammond

2017 Georgia National Distinguished Principal.

Casey Bethel, 2000

2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

Ricardo Quantaye Lockette

Super Bowl XLVIII champion with the Seattle Seahawks (2013).

Marquette King

King is the only current African-American punter in the NFL and is only the fifth African-American to exclusively play punter in NFL history.