Darlington Mourns Loss of Dr. Elson Floyd: The School’s First Black Alumnus

Elson Floyd ('74), Thom Young ('74) and Doug Hendrickson ('74) pictured with then-President Gordon Bondurant at their Commencement.

Elson Floyd (’74), Thom Young (’74) and Doug Hendrickson (’74) pictured with then-President Gordon Bondurant at their Commencement.

Darlington School will mark the the loss of Elson Floyd (’74), first black graduate with a service on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 3 p.m. in Morris Chapel. Dr. Floyd He was serving as president of Washington State University when he died.

A member of Darlington’s 1974 class, Floyd grew up in Henderson, NC the son of a bricklayer and tobacco factory worker.

Floyd took his Darlington education and ran. Floyd earned a scholarship to attend Darlington and immersed himself in school life when he arrived on campus in 1972. Floyd’s roommate was future Darlington trustee Bill Smith.

“Elson was a great fellow. It was easy to see from the day he arrived at Darlington he would be very successful in life…Elson broke the color barrier. His style and grace were at the forefront of everything he undertook at the Lakeside. Elson made Darlington better simply by his presence,” Smith said of Floyd’s passing.

After graduating from Darlington in 1974, Floyd went on to earn a BA in Political Science and Speech, an MEd in Adult Education, and his PhD in Higher and Adult Education- all from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

I thoroughly recommend Darlington’s full page/story about Dr. Floyd. It includes much more on Dr. Floyd’s Darlington experience including a 2010 interview in which Floyd talks about Darlington’s affect on him.

Quite a life.

Brian Fisher

A product of both private and public education, Brian Fisher served as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator at three different boarding schools. Brian also fills the role of Director of Development at Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, in NH along with being a partner at AdmissionsQuest.

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