By Gabriel Donahue, Editor-in-Chief
Julius Chapman, who served as Towson University’s first dean of minority affairs, died Tuesday, the university announced Wednesday.
“His leadership laid a foundation for the inclusive community that is now the hallmark of a TU education,” Interim-President Melanie Perreault said in a statement. “Our work continues every day to build upon and honor Dean Chapman’s legacy for generations to come.”
Chapman began at Towson in 1969 when Black students accounted for roughly 2% of the student population, according to a 1969 Towerlight article. As of 2023, about 31% of undergraduates identify as African American or Black, a proportion that has been increasing since 2018.
Chapman was appointed dean of minority affairs in 1973. The Office of Minority Affairs was a precursor to the current Center for Student Diversity, according to an article by Felicity Knox, assistant university archivist librarian.
His duties included “coordinat[ing] the academic experiences of all minority students in all phases of college life and serv[ing] as a mediary between the academic deans and departments and the black community,” a 1973 Towerlight article reported.
Chapman had a hand in creating the Black Faculty and Administrators Association, the Black Cultural Center and the Black Student Union, the university statement said.
Black Student Union President Njideka Onyekwere called Chapman a “pioneering figure” in an emailed statement Wednesday.
“Julius served as an enduring symbol of hope for Black students at Towson University, and his vision continues to shine bright throughout the campus community,” Onyekwere wrote. “The Black Student Union expresses eternal gratitude for his contributions to Towson, which will endure and profoundly influence our lives.”
In 2019, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity funded a bust of Chapman, displayed in the Dr. Julius Chapman Quadrangle near the Media Center, The Towerlight reported. A walkway dedicated to Towson’s chapters of the Divine Nine historically Black fraternities and sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council was unveiled in the Chapman Quad last October.