A leader, educator, and an activist are nouns many would use todescribe Dr. Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe. Dr. Wolfe, whodied on Friday Sept. 5 at the University Medical Center atPrinceton University, focused her life on promoting education andservice for African Americans.
Dr. Deborah Wolfe made many contributions toAfrican American college students. By working at TuskegeeUniversity, she reached students through her teachings and was thefirst professor at the university to earn her doctoratedegree. While Dr. Wolfe was a professor at Tuskegee, sheacted as director of graduate work and helped motivate many AfricanAmerican students to earning higher degrees in their fields.
In order to gain more power in helping AfricanAmerican students she became the chairperson of all non- governmentorganizations at the United Nations. As education chief forthe U.S. Congress, she served Hon. Adam Clayton Power Jr. andpromoted legislation to launch Head Start and numerous federal loanprograms.
Her contributions to the historical AfricanAmerican Zeta Phi Beta Sorority are extensive as she became afounding member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority National Foundationand served as the first Chairman of the Foundation. Dr. Wolfeplayed a key role in helping the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority purchasetheir first current International Headquarters in WashingtonD.C. She also supported study abroad programs, which offeredAfrican American college students an opportunity to be educatedglobally.
“Her commitment to service isexemplified by her extensive work in education and is somethingthat all of our service-based organizations need to remain rootedin and demonstrate. She definitely left “bigboots” to fill,” says Latoya Bell, a 27-year-old lawstudent and current member of Zeta Phi Beta Spring ’99 AlphaChapter.
The Monroe Township, New Jersey native provedthat she was determined to be influential in the advancement ofAfrican Americans, and particularly college students through herendless work to promote education. Her legacy will not beforgotten.