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Valpo Remembers

Floyd Lee Henderson ’57

Fall 2021

Floyd Lee Henderson ’57, age 87, passed away April 11, 2020, in New Hope, Minnesota.

In 1951, Floyd became the first African American to compete in intercollegiate athletics at Valparaiso University, and in 2013 he was inducted into the Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame.

Floyd competed in both football and track and field for Valpo and was known for his electrifying runs on the gridiron, both as a halfback and as a punt returner. Following his sophomore year, Floyd served two years active duty in the United States Army, where he was a starter on the U.S. Army 5th Division football team. Following graduation, Floyd was invited to NFL tryouts with the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.

Following his graduation from Valpo with a degree in business administration, Floyd earned a master’s degree in library science and enjoyed a distinguished career as a manager in the biological science division of the United States Forestry Service. Floyd continued to work part time at various Minneapolis Public Libraries, just to be around books and to help children learn to find what they needed in the library.