Dr. Oscar L. Prater

The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) is saddened to learn of the passing of HBCU alumnus and former college president, Dr. Oscar L. Prater, who died on December 8, 2022. He was 83 years-old. The organization extends its sincere condolences and prayers to his family, friends, the FVSU and Talladega College communities.

Known as a renowned educator and administrator, Dr. Prater was appreciated for his unwavering commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He served as the 6th president of Fort Valley State College and Fort Valley State University from 1990 to 2001 and as the 19th President of Talladega College from 2005 to 2007. Dr. Prater also held diverse leadership roles at Hampton University, including vice president and special assistant to the President William R. Harvey. Dr. Harvey and Dr. Prater, who were classmates and basketball teammates at Talladega College, are among the institution’s 17 graduates who went on to become college presidents.

Dr. Prater was a dedicated educator and a contributing author of The Status of Blacks in Higher Education (1989). During his tenure as president of Talladega College, he established the Talladega Walk of Fame outside historic Swayne Hall and helped increase the institution’s stability.

The most momentous change of Dr. Prater’s leadership at FVSC, was that the institution was granted university status by the USG BOR in 1996. The College then became the Fort Valley State University, a state and land-grant university.

His extensive experience in academia included teaching at Rappahannock Community College, Talladega College, and Hampton University. He also taught in Williamsburg, Virginia public schools and served as a member of the Board of Education of the Williamsburg School District.

Dr. Prater was born in Sylacuga, Alabama in 1939. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Talladega College in 1946; a Master’s of Arts from Hampton University; and a Master of Science and Doctorate in education from the College of William and Mary. He was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity ( The BoulĂ©).

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 17, 2022, at the Historic First Baptist Church (727 Scotland St, Williamsburg, VA). Livestream will be available at the beginning of the service. Viewing will take place on tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 16, from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. with Omega Psi Phi Omega Memorial Service beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Whiting’s Funeral Home, 7005 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg, VA.

Click here to read Dr. Prater’s full obituary online.

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