A photo of Dr. Luella “Eudora” (Williams) Pettigrew

Dr. Luella “Eudora” (Williams) Pettigrew

Dr. Luella “Eudora” (Williams) Pettigrew, age 93, of Townsend, DE, passed away after a lengthy illness on Monday, December 6, 2021.

Born in Christian County, Hopkinsville, KT, she was a daughter of the late Warren Cicero Williams and Corrye Lee Newell. Eudora’s mother was a school teacher and her father a licensed County Farm agent.

She devoted her life to a career in education, which spanned more than forty years. Eudora received of Bachelor of Art from West Virginia State College, and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Psychology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, III in 1966. She served as Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut from 1966 to 1970. v then served as the Chairman and Professor of Urban Studies at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI from 1970 until 1980. She was then appointed Associate Provost at the University of Delaware and held this position from 1980 until 1986.

Dr. Pettigrew was the first African American woman to be appointed to the position of President of the State University of New York at Old Westbury in 1986. She retired from the position in 1999. Dr. Pettigrew served as Chair of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP)/United Nations Commission on Disarmament Education Conflict Resolution, and Peace, which promotes global awareness and competence as well as peace and international understanding through education. She served from 1996 to 2002 for the IAUP on the UNESCO Peace Program in Palestine. Dr. Pettigrew was the European Center’s chair for the IAUP program in Austria on human rights, democracy, peace, and tolerance.

In addition to her PhD in Educational Psychology, Eudora received three honorary doctorate degrees: a PhD in Human Letters from the University of Pretoria, South Africa in 1997, the second from Holy Family University in Philadelphia, PA in 2002, and the third from Western Connecticut State University in 2004. Dr. Pettigrew received many additional awards and citations over the course of her long career. In 1991, she received the Distinguished Black Women in Education Award, the National Council of Negro Women’s highest citation.

Eudora retired to Hockessin, DE, where she served as a member of the Wilmington Rotary Club. Her papers are available for research in the Special Collections in the University of Delaware Library. This was a gift to the library from her son. 

In addition to her parents, Eudora was preceded in death by her brother, Dr. Charles Williams and son, Jonathan Robert Pettigrew. She is survived by her son, Peter Warren Woodard.

All services will be held privately.

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7 Condolences for Dr. Luella “Eudora” (Williams) Pettigrew

  • Aunt Eudora lived an amazing and accomplished life. She touched many lives as both an educator and administrator. As an aunt, she always took time to share lessons of leadership and family history with me. She is already dearly missed and her life will be treasured forever. I Will Always Love You, Aunt Eudora! Rest in Peace.

    Warren Williams

  • Peter, Julianna and I give you our condolences . Your mom was an inspiration to many, and I am sure to you the most. Hope you are doing well.
    Charlie Myers

  • As the 6th president of SUNY Old Westbury, I can attest to the magnitude of the life and work of Dr. Pettigrew. She worked tirelessly to advance our college and to launch our graduates into productive and impactful lives. She stood as a testament to our unique mission that calls for liberal arts excellence, access, social justice and sustainability. She will forever be a central figure in the history of our college. We are grateful for her tireless service to SUNY Old Westbury.

  • Eudora,
    I have learned a lot from you. You were a great mentor and a very dear friend. I do miss you but it is sweet sorrow as I am relieved that your pain is no more. I will try each day to remember your advice to me and follow in your scholarship. May God continue to bless you.
    Gloria

  • I was truly saddened to hear of Dr. Pettigrew’s passing. We shared eight years of service at State University of New York at Old Westbury, she as President and I as Office Assistant. During that tenure I had the honor and pleasure of accompanying her to Cape Town, South Africa. The trip was both educational and enjoyable. I have many fond memories of Dr. Pettigrew that I will cherish always.

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  • Dr Pettigrew was a strong leader at SUNY Old Westbury and yet a fair person to the Staff and students. It was an honor to work with her on the campus providing her with a safe environment. Retired Lt. A Zederbaum

  • My condolences to Eudora’s family. I remember her well! She was a trailblazer at UD. While working at UD, she lived in New Castle, where I live. We sometimes walked and talked. I enjoyed her company. As a young professor at UD, she helped me to understand university politics. She has had a remarkable career. You must be very proud of all that she accomplished. As I watched her career unfold from afar after she left UD, I certainly marveled at all that she was doing. God rest her soul!