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DSU’s oldest graduate — and longtime professor — dies at 106

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Courtney Stevenson, seated, was Delaware's oldest living graduate when she died Aug. 5
Courtney Stevenson, seated, was Delaware’s oldest living graduate when she died Aug. 5

Courtney Stevenson, Delaware State University’s oldest living graduate and a longtime professor at the school, died Aug. 5 at Bayhealth Medical Center in Dover. She was 106.

“With a warm heart and sweet spirit, she personified commitment and service to her community,” said Shavonne Bailey, president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Epsilon Iota Omega Chapter, a sorority where Mrs. Stevenson was a member.

A public viewing will be 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday at Evan W. Smith Funeral Home, 518 S. Bay Road, Dover. The invitation-only celebration of life service will be streamed on her memorial page on the funeral home’s website. Interment will be in Sunset Memorial Garden in Dover.

 

I thought I could guide the children and set them up for their future lives, ” she told the Dover Post in 2016.

“[Teaching] wasn’t easy,” Stevenson said. “But I think the students wanted to learn.”

Prior to her hospital admission for almost two months, Stevenson lived at Cadia Healthcare Capitol in Dover.

For her June 12 birthday, AKA members, kept by coronavirus restrictions from visiting her, met at Legislative Mall, where they sang “Happy Birthday” and released 65 balloons in her honor of the 65 years she had been a sorority member. 

 

Stevenson was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. She first entered college in Baltimore and in 1944 earned her bachelor of science in home economics – the ceremony was on her birthday – from the State College for Colored Students (now DSU).

She later earned a master of arts in higher education from New York University and took graduate courses at other colleges.

On Thanksgiving Day on 1944, she married her husband, William W. Stevenson, a 1941 graduate of the school, whom she met at Whatcoat United Methodist Church in Dover. He died in 2001.

 

She taught students from preschool to high school before joining the home economics faculty at her alma mater in 1961. She retired from DSU in 1991, following two stints as interim department chair. She returned to serve as interim chair, retiring again in 1994.

Stevenson was a graduate advisor of the Delta Lambda Chapter at DSU. She was a member of the Delaware State Chapter of the Links, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Order of the Golden Circle and the Daughters of Isis.

 

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