Dr. Benjamin F. Payton, the 10th president of Benedict College -- from 1967 to 1972 -- died Wednesday, September 28 2016 in Fort Myers, Fla. at the age of 83.
Funeral services will be held on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, at 1 p.m. in the Tuskegee University Chapel, Tuskegee, Ala. The family hour will be held on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 at 7 p.m. at Peoples Funeral Home in Tuskegee.
In 1967, at the age of 34, Dr. Payton became the youngest person to be elected president of Benedict College. Four years ago, Dr. Payton returned to Benedict to give the keynote address for the 142nd spring commencement ceremony.
Dr. Payton, also the fifth President of Tuskegee University, retired June 30, 2010. He is credited with leading a makeover of the learning environment at Tuskegee. During his tenure, the university added the General Daniel "Chappie" James Center for Aerospace Engineering and Health Education, the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, and the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. More than $300 million has been invested in student scholarships and campus infrastructure. At the same time, the university's endowment grew from $15 million to more than $102 million.
Survivors include one son, Mark Steven (Christiane) Payton; one daughter, Deborah Elizabeth Payton; four grandchildren, Danielle Marie, Maya Elizabeth, William Isaac and Nicholas Warren Payton; and three brothers and three sisters. He was preceded in death by his wife, Thelma Plane Payton, in 2013, and by two of his brothers, Leroy Oscar Payton and James Israel Payton, in 1998 and 1999, respectively.