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Estate gift memorializes Blackwell’s love of music

May 23, 2017

Published: May 23, 2017

Contact: Michael Tullier, APR
Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Dr. Wayne Barr receives check from Velma Blackwell's brother and sister
Brother David Blackwell (left) and sister Gladys Hubbard (center) with Golden Voices Choir Director Dr. Wayne Barr.
Pictured in the background is the Kellogg Conference Center, one of several university
capital projects benefiting from Dr. Blackwell’s fundraising efforts as vice president for development.

A recent gift from the estate of 1956 Tuskegee University alumna Velma L. Blackwell will create a memorial endowment fund to provide charitable support for the university’s Golden Voices Choir.

Velma Blackwell

From 1969 until her retirement in 2008, Blackwell’s numerous roles as a Tuskegee University administrator included fundraising responsibilities and serving as the university’s first female associate provost. Her leadership as vice president for development led to the construction of the Kellogg Conference Center and the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education. A Tuskegee graduate, she completed a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1956.

Before passing away in 2016, she had been a long-time champion of choral programs, and her past philanthropic support had funded several musical lectureships. She also helped develop the concept of the William Levi Dawson Institute for Classical and Folk Music, which was established in 1992 and currently includes the Dawson Lecture and the Dawson Concert. The concert showcases invited college and university choirs from around the region, along with the university’s own Golden Voices, alumni choir and concert band.

The gift was presented by Blackwell’s sister, 1964 graduate Gladys Blackwell Hubbard, and brother, David Blackwell.

The Golden Voices Choir is under the direction of Dr. Wayne Barr, director of choral activities in the College of Arts and Sciences. For more information about the choir, visit the Golden Voices website at

© 2017 Tuskegee University