In Memoriam: Dr. Norman C. Crawford
“I was saddened today to learn of the death of Salisbury University President Emeritus Norman Crawford. As the fifth president of SU — then known as Salisbury State College — from 1970-1980, he helped lay the foundation for many of the successes the campus enjoys today. Under his guidance, SU established its honors program, winter academic term, campus radio station and The Flyer student newspaper — all traditions that continue. He also oversaw the creation of the Salisbury University Foundation, Inc., which has played a pivotal role in SU’s development as A Maryland University of National Distinction. Many buildings opened during his tenure, including Choptank Hall — the campus’ first co-ed residence hall — Chester and Chesapeake residence halls and Maggs Physical Activities Center. He also established the Great Hall of Holloway Hall as the original home for the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art.
“Perhaps Dr. Crawford’s most lasting contribution was his dedication to increasing diversity at the institution. Within his inaugural year as president, he hired the University’s first African-American faculty member, Dr. A.K. Talbot of the Sociology Department. Several years later, he welcomed SU’s first African-American fraternity, Omega Psi Phi. He was steadfast in his commitment to increasing the school’s African-American student population — which numbered only three when he was named president. By the time of his departure, that number had grown to 430 (more than 14,000 percent). During his presidency, he took a personal interest in the lives of African-American student leaders on campus, hosting weekly meetings to discuss any problems they may have encountered. He once noted that ‘the harmonious desegregation of the state college’ was his proudest accomplishment.
“I met Dr. Crawford upon becoming president of SU in 2000. He had retired from academia and, with his wife, Garnette, had returned to the Eastern Shore. He was one of the most enthusiastic Sea Gull fans I ever met: The varsity football, softball, swimming, cross country, tennis and lacrosse programs were established and the East Campus athletic fields were built during his tenure. After retirement, he continued to take pride in the University and to maintain a strong interest in the campus until his passing.
“A few weeks ago, during festive ceremonies for SU’s new Sea Gull Stadium, he was recognized for his vision in many areas of the student experience. I also had the privilege of presenting him with the inaugural Spirit of Salisbury University Award in 2006. It was a fitting honor: For many, Norm Crawford was a living embodiment of SU, and we will miss him greatly.”
— Janet Dudley-Eshbach, Ph.D.
President, Salisbury University
Active at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Berlin, services are scheduled there at 3 p.m. Friday, May 20, with Father Michael Moyer officiating. A memorial service at Salisbury University is also being planned for a later date.
Those wishing to remember him may contribute to the Norman Crawford Memorial Fund, in care of the Salisbury University Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 2655, Salisbury, MD 21802.