LAKE – (AP) E.E. “Tad” Thrash, who led Mississippi’s higher education system for 19 years as it struggled with desegregation issues related to historic black colleges, died Tuesday, May 2. He was 86.
Officials with Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home said funeral services were held Friday, May 4, at Raymond United Methodist Church. Burial was at Pine Ridge Cemetery in Lake.
Details of his death were not released.
A native of Lake, Thrash attended Hinds Community College and Louisiana State University, where he ultimately earned his doctorate. While at LSU, Thrash won the NCAA boxing championships in 1949 and 1950. He was inducted to the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1950.
In 1968, Thrash was named executive secretary of the state College Board. The position is presently called commissioner of higher education.
It was during his tenure that the university system struggled with ongoing issues of desegregation. A lawsuit filed by the late Jake Ayers Sr. in 1975 challenged the inequities of funding for the historic black colleges and led to a settlement three decades later that provided $503.2 million for the benefit of Jackson State, Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley, including new programs and infrastructure.
After retiring in 1987, he continued working as a professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Survivors include his wife, Jessie; a daughter and a son, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.