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Shaw University Hosts Memorial Service, Luncheon for President Emeritus

Shaw University will host a memorial service and luncheon April 14 to celebrate Dr. Talbert O. Shaw, the university’s 12th president.

Shaw, who later became president emeritus and died in January, is credited with leading the university through difficult financial times and restoring its reputation. He became president in 1987, when the university’s finances were in trouble. He immediately went to work to repair Shaw’s finances and public reputation. Using a combination of charm, public-relations savvy, and hard work, he was able to raise much-needed funds by building connections with the Raleigh business community.

As student enrollment and donations soared, the university eventually paid off its debts and established a $12-million endowment by the time he retired in 2003.

During his 15-year tenure, Shaw oversaw renovations of historic buildings, built new ones and revamped academic programs. He took the Shaw Divinity School from an independent school of theology to being under the university and introduced programs in ethics training for students while emphasizing the importance of character development in higher education.

“Shaw University was incredibly blessed to have Dr. Shaw as part of our family,” said interim president Dr. Paulette Dillard. “His legacy is an inspiration and his contributions to this university and the city of Raleigh will never be forgotten.”

The memorial service will begin at 12 p.m. at the Thomas J. Boyd Chapel on the Shaw campus, followed by a luncheon with the family at the C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium. Luncheon tickets are $100 and proceeds will go to the Student Retention Fund in honor of Dr. Talbert O. and Mrs. Marlene Shaw. More information and luncheon tickets are available at

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