TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Longtime Stillman College president and Tuscaloosa community leader Cordell Wynn died Wednesday at a Tuscaloosa nursing home. He was 83.
Wynn was president of Stillman for 15 years beginning in 1982 and enrollment at the predominantly black liberal arts school almost doubled to more than 1,000 students under his leadership.
A native of Eatonton, Ga., Wynn was dean of education at Alabama A&M when he was named president of Stillman. The Tuscaloosa college was losing enrollment at the time and there was talk it might be closed.
"It wasn't just a set of circumstances, it was by God's design that brought him to Stillman, and he was the person we needed at just that right time," Sarah Davis, longtime assistant and eventual vice president for administration under Wynn, told The Tuscaloosa News.
In addition to leading Stillman for 15 years, Wynn became a state and local civic leader.
Wynn served as chairman of the Tuscaloosa Housing Authority board. He served as a member of the Alabama Ethics Commission and was former president of the United Negro College Fund Board.
He started his career as a teacher in the Bibb County, Ga., school system. Wynn wrote the desegregation plan for the system as an assistant superintendent.
He later was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to a national advisory committee on education was a consultant for desegregation of schools for President Richard Nixon.
When Wynn came to Stillman, he brought a new energy and began to rebuild relationships with the community, alumni and the nearby University of Alabama, said R.L. Guffin, a professor at Stillman for 44 years.
"Morale on campus was lifted because things were kind of down when he came, but he brought a new spirit on campus," Guffin said.
Funeral will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa, Van Hoose & Steele Funeral Home directing.