OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Ernest Holloway, the former longtime president of Oklahoma's only historically black college, Langston University, has died. He was 81.
Holloway died Saturday afternoon in Sugar Land, Texas, where he was undergoing treatment for stomach cancer, his son, Reginald Holloway, said on Sunday. Ernest Holloway was diagnosed with late-stage cancer in October, and had been staying with family members for the past few months, his son said.
"My dad, he was an amazing person who touched the lives of countless students, colleagues and just people in general," Reginald Holloway said by telephone from Richmond, Texas. "One of the characteristics I admired in him most was he was a man who opted for humility over arrogance."
Ernest Holloway steered Langston for 25 years, but his association with the school stretched back even farther.
He attended Langston in the 1950s and graduated with a degree in agriculture. He began his career at Langston as a professor in the early 1960s and worked as registrar, vice president for administrative affairs and in other positions before he was named the school's 14th president in 1979.
When Holloway retired in 2005, he had been president of Langston longer than anyone else. He was succeeded by JoAnn Haysbert, who recently resigned. A search is under way for a new president.
Holloway oversaw a renaissance in the school in the early 2000s. Expansions and improvements were made to the school's football field and gymnasium and to buildings for agricultural research and health education. Holloway also pushed for improvements to Oklahoma Highway 33, once a narrow, two-lane road that led into the town of Langston from Interstate 35.
Langston University was established in 1897, 10 years before statehood, and has campuses in Langston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Attempts to reach interim president Henry Ponder were unsuccessful on Sunday. Telephone and email messages left at the school seeking comment weren't immediately returned.
Funeral arrangements for Holloway are pending at Temple and Sons Funeral Home in Oklahoma City, Reginald Holloway said. Family members are hoping to hold a memorial service for him at Langston, he said.