The Valpo Athletics family is saddened by the passing of Floyd Henderson ‘57, who became the first African American to compete in intercollegiate athletics at Valparaiso University in 1951.
Henderson (May 18, 1932 – April 11, 2020) passed away at the age of 87 in New Hope, Minn.
A trailblazer for the department and University, Henderson’s impact on Valpo’s campus community is felt to this day and will be for years to come. He represented the University in a commendable manner both during his playing days in football and track and in his career as a biological science librarian with the U.S. Forest Service.
Following his sophomore year, Henderson served two years active duty in the U.S. Army, where he was a starter on the U.S. Army 5th Division football team. Upon graduation, Henderson was invited to NFL tryouts with the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. He was a member of the football program in 1951, 1952, 1955 and 1956 and competed in track & field in 1951 and 1952.
Henderson returned to campus in 2013 for his enshrinement into the Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame.