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2012 News Releases

Longwood’s first African-American graduate honored with naming of university center

September 25, 2012

N.H. “Cookie” Scott N.H. “Cookie” Scott

Longwood University has recognized the trailblazing legacy of its first African-American graduate by naming the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in her honor.

The N.H. Scott Center for Diversity and Inclusion, approved Sept. 15 by the Board of Visitors, honors N.H. "Cookie" Scott '72, deputy director for administration for the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC).

"We wanted to honor someone who is a diversity pioneer in Longwood's history, and we felt there was no better person than Cookie Scott," said Dr. Jamie R. Riley, director of diversity and inclusion. "She is a role model and a success story for not only minority students but all students. It is important to never forget her legacy at this university."

Scott was called a "trailblazer and pioneer" and cited for her "courage and bravery" in an accompanying resolution approved by the Board of Visitors. Scott has also been a pioneer since graduating from Longwood. She became the DOC's first female deputy director in 2002; earlier, at the age of 28, she held the distinction of being the agency's youngest court director.

"I feel so honored, amazed, speechless and overwhelmed to be recognized by Longwood in such a manner," said Scott. "I owe Longwood, as well, for an excellent education, for lasting, exceptional friendships and for the opportunity to grow and develop. I only wish my mother, who passed away four years ago, was here to share this honor with me. My mother, my family and my friends-including my Longwood friends-were my strong support throughout my years at Longwood."

The naming of the N.H. Scott Center for Diversity and Inclusion refers to a lounge area in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which includes a mounted TV, a DVD player, computer space, work space for interns, and resources such as books, magazines and DVDs. Fourteen student organizations use the space for meetings and programming.

"This is a place where all students can come and be themselves-free of judgment-and develop into citizen leaders," Riley said.

Scott attended Longwood at the urging of Virginia Dofflemyer (who died in February 2012), a 1941 Longwood graduate who was her high-school guidance counselor in Albemarle County, who wanted her to be a "trailblazer." Dofflemyer drove her to campus in her car in 1968, which Scott has said involved "personal risk" for her. Dofflemyer and former assistant principal Julian King (also deceased), at Albemarle High School, were both strong supporters of, and an inspiration for, Scott's journey in the late 1960s. "I owe both of them more than can ever be repaid," Scott said.

Scott, who graduated with a B.A. in sociology, knew by her sophomore year that she wanted to work in the criminal justice system. She attributes her interest to the late professor Kathleen Cover, whom she had for a juvenile delinquency course.

Nancy H. Scott was born into poverty in Esmont, a small community in southern Albemarle County near Scottsville. She was raised by a single mom (her dad died when he was 37 and Cookie was 5) and moved to the Carytown section of Richmond just before entering school. Her family moved back to Albemarle County the summer before she entered high school. She attended segregated schools until her senior year of high school. "I had excellent teachers and guidance counselors in those segregated schools, and they were a significant part of my development," said Scott.