TROY, Ala. (WSFA) - Troy University officials confirm that Lamar Higgins, vice president pro tempore of the trustee board, has died.
The cause of death has not been released, but university officials say Higgins, 61, had been battling an extended illness.
The Marbury native became the university’s first Black Board of Trustees member in 1996. During his tenure, Higgins was a key figure in establishing the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, as well as leading the effort to establish Rosa Parks Day in Alabama.
University leaders say he also helped bring about legislation to erect statues of Parks and Helen Keller on the state Capitol grounds.
Higgins will also be remembered for establishing the John Robert Lewis Leadership Conference. The African American Leadership Conference has been part of the university’s Black History Month recognition for more than 20 years.
“It served not only the Troy University community but the Pike County community, the city of Troy community, and surrounding counties as well,” friend and colleague Derrick Brewster said.
“If there was anyone who lived a life that was the embodiment of the Golden Rule, I think that was Mr. Lamar P. Higgins,” Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said in a news release. “He was a true servant leader who was instrumental in so many important initiatives at TROY, including the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, the African American Leadership Conference and our Unity Prayer Breakfast. Troy University is a better place today because of Mr. Higgins, and his leadership and friendship will be greatly missed. He was our brother and was loved by all.”
When he was a student at Troy University, Higgins became the first Black vice president and president of the Student Government Association. He graduated in 1981.
Leaders say he wasn’t just an alumnus and board members, but an avid Trojans football fan who would photograph the action to gift to players and their families.
“No one loved Troy University more than Lamar, and Troy University loved him back,” Gibson Vance, president pro tempore of the Troy Board of Trustees, said in the release. “On a personal note, I valued his opinion on all things and trusted his judgment.”
“He inspired people in a way where as to have them to be the best that they could be,” friend Mary Griffin said. “He will be missed by the state of Alabama because he has done so much for so many.”
Higgins is also being remembered for his career in public and government service, serving as a partner at Fine Geddie & Associates LLC.
He was also active within the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was a leader at Saint Paul AME Church in Montgomery.