Sandra J. DeLoatch

Published 10:20 pm Friday, April 20, 2018

Dr. Sandra J. DeLoatch, 68, departed this life peacefully on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

She was born in Nansemond County and was a lifelong resident of Suffolk. She was the fifth child of the late David W. DeLoatch Sr. and Essie M. DeLoatch. Dr. DeLoatch graduated from John F. Kennedy High School class of 1967. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics (magna cum laude) from Howard University and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned graduate degrees in mathematics and computer science and attended University of Michigan (Master of Arts), Indiana University (Doctor of Philosophy) and The College of William and Mary (Master of Science).

Dr. DeLoatch joined Norfolk State University in 1972 as a mathematics professor, but subsequently held many positions including founding chair of the Computer Science Department, dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology and acting university president. She last served as provost and vice president for academic affairs before retiring in February 2017. She has broken many barriers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Dr. DeLoatch has been an innovator, collaborator, champion and distinguished leader. She was one of the university’s most charitable donors, having been inducted into the Lyman Beecher Brooks Society in March 2015 for giving more than $100,000 to the institution.

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Through the years, Dr. DeLoatch made extraordinary contributions to the science, engineering and technology fields. She championed programs, on and off campus, that have encouraged women, girls and minorities to enter scientific fields. She achieved many “firsts” during her career including serving as the principal investigator for one of the first two research contracts ever awarded to an HBCU by the National Security Agency. Her pioneering efforts in information assurance and computer science laid the groundwork for NSU’s emerging prowess and success in cybersecurity.

Dr. DeLoatch administered more than $50 million in external funding for computer science and mathematics research and educational projects from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA Langley Research Center, Department of Defense (National Security Agency), Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Education, Department of Energy and others. She also authored research articles, textbooks and technical reports.

Dr. DeLoatch was revered by her peers, colleagues, students, the community and her beloved Girl Scouts and Lambda Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Her awards include the NAACP (Norfolk) Trailblazer Award, YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, Information Technology Executive Ivory Dome Achievement Award, and the Virginia Association of Educational Office Professionals Administrator of the Year, among others. As a Girl Scout, she received many recognitions. Those included three sponsored by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast: Woman of Distinction Award, Famous Former and the Dorothy Barber Lifetime Achievement Award. She also received two Girl Scout national awards — Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II. In recognition of her substantial contributions to STEM initiatives and appreciation for her service, a Girl Scout patch, “Exploring STEM Honoring Dr. Sandra DeLoatch,” was created. In 2017, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Lambda Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Through her efforts, NSU’s CSET was awarded the Urban League Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award.

Her community service included vice chairman of the Board of Zoning Appeals in Suffolk, secretary of the Board of Trustees for the Old Dominion University Research Foundation, life member of the Girl Scouts, a member of the Broad Creek Digital Inclusion Advisory Board, and a member of Lambda Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Her memory will be cherished by her custodial great-nephew, Tyler DeLoatch; brothers, Charles E. DeLoatch and Earl H. DeLoatch, all of Suffolk; many other relatives, friends and the thousands of students, faculty, staff and aspiring young people she mentored.

A viewing will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at East End Baptist Church, 1056 Portsmouth Blvd., Suffolk, VA 23434, followed by a funeral at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Norfolk State University Foundation for Dr. Sandra J. DeLoatch (700 Park Ave., Suite 410, Norfolk, VA 23504) and the Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast, (912 Cedar Road, Chesapeake, VA 23322) www.gsccc.org. Condolences to the DeLoatch family may be extended to www.crockerfuneralhome.com. Professional services with dignity have been entrusted to Crocker Funeral Home Inc.