Goodbye, Cav — Widener University Professor and Project Prepare Director Alonzo Cavin

June 8, 2011

Dr. Cavin in 1989


“Dr. C.”


Sometimes even “Sweet Cav.”

These were nicknames used by students, faculty, and staff for Dr. Alonzo C. Cavin in his 41 years on the Main Campus of Widener.  He passed away Sunday at the age of 71.

“Dr. Cavin was an inspiration to all,” said Widener President James T. Harris III.  “He will be missed by the community, the university, and the students whose lives he touched.”

Dr. Cavin joined the faculty of PMC Colleges in June 1969 as an associate professor of education and the founding director of Project Prepare.  He was responsible for helping thousands of disadvantaged students earn college degrees.  Project Prepare‘s success made it a model for other colleges and universities, and in 1971, the program inspired Pennsylvania to create the Higher Education Equal Opportunities Act.  (You can visit the Wolfgram Memorial Library Digital Collections web page and read the text of an oral history with Dr. Cavin conducted in 2001.) 

Dr. Cavin retired in 2002 but continued teaching as an adjunct professor.  He also served the community for many years as a member of the Rotary Club of Chester, and as the chair of the Chester-Wallingford Chapter of the American Red Cross. After retiring from Widener, he continued to be involved in community service and was a member of the Council to Equalize Funding for Public Education and the C-U COPE Chester Upland Committee on Public Education.

Congo Funeral Home in Wilmington, Del., is handling the arrangements.  You can read the obituary by clicking here.  In lieu of flowers, contributions are requested in support of Widener’s African American Scholarship Fund.  Donations can me made online.

For a slide show of photos of Dr. Cavin, click here.

You also can view a video of the 40th Anniversary of Project Prepare made in 2009 that includes many images of him by clicking on the image below.



  1. Cav stood for so many great things about Widener – he was a dedicated educator, a compassionate person, and a taskmaster in the very best sense of the word. He was also a heck of a colleague – so many smiles thinking about him and his collection of stories.

    I feel sadness at his passing, but also great joy reflecting on the life he led and the *tremendous* impact he had on generations of scholars there.

    Rosemary Connors
    former alumni director

  2. To one of the best Mentors EVER, Dr. Cavin. You helped me make it through my first year of teaching. You reminded me to believe in myself and that I could be a great educator. You always gave me great advice, not just in my career but in my life and I am forever grateful. I thank Allah (God) for putting you in my life bc you were trully a blessing to me. May you Rest In Peace!!

  3. The first teacher to call me “colleague”

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