Elon alumna Donna Oliver named president of Mississippi Valley State University

Donna Oliver '72 has been named the sixth president of Mississippi Valley State University, located in Leflore County, Miss. The announcement was made Oct. 22 by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

Donna Oliver

With a distinguished 30-year career in education, Oliver hasserved as a K-12 public school biology and chemistry teacher, a collegeprofessor, and a K-16 administrator. She began her studies at Elon, where she completed her undergraduate degree in biology andeducation. After teaching five years at the high school level, Oliver earned a master’s of education degree in biology and curriculumand instruction, followed by a doctorate in curriculum and teaching, bothfrom the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

She was named the 1986 North Carolina Teacher of the Year and the 1987 National Teacher of the Year having been selected from among America’s 2.5 million K-12 teachers. She was presented the Crystal Apple Award by President Ronald Reagan during an Oval Office Ceremony in the White House.

In 2004 as a Bush Scholar, Oliver completed the Higher Education Institute for Educational Management Certification at Harvard University. She continues her research by having students identify what they perceive to be barriers to their education. She has published numerous articles on multicultural teacher education in professional journals and has presented her research at numerous national professional meetings and conferences. She continues to conduct workshops for public schools and university teacher education faculty.

Oliver made history in 1987 by becoming the first African American to receive Elon’s Distinguished Young Alumnus of the Year Award. During that same year she was recognized by Howard University as an outstanding African American Woman of Achievement, was named to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the White House Commission for a Drug Free America. In 1995 she was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education as the weekly Profile for the January 28 volume. She has been recognized in more than 40 of the United States and three foreign countries for her contributions as a teacher, administrator, and educator. She is the recipient of the Kentucky Colonel Award, the Arkansas Traveler Award presented by former President Bill Clinton, and Keys to the City in 10 different states. She has received more than 100 Outstanding Educator Awards from local, state, national and international civic, education, community and religious organizations.

Oliver has been serving as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, Fla. She previously served on the Elon faculty and was vice president for academic affairs and student development at Bennett College, Greensboro, N.C.

Oliver willbegin her service at Mississippi Valley in early January, 2009.