NIU Mourns the Passing of Key Leader in University’s Early History: Former Congressman Louis Stokes (1925-2015)

August 25, 2015

Former Representative Louis Stokes (D-Ohio), who was a key congressional ally during one of the most important turning points in the early history of National Intelligence University (NIU), passed away on 18 August 2015 at the age of 90.

Representative Louis Stokes (D-OH) (center) receives an honorary doctor of strategic intelligence degree at the Defense Intelligence College (DIC) graduation ceremony in 1987 from DIC Commandant Colonel John McCartney, USAF (left) and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Leonard Perroots, USAF.

Representative Stokes continued to be a friend and ardent supporter for decades to come. He was awarded an honorary doctor of strategic intelligence in 1987 during the school’s 25th anniversary year (see photos), and he later went on to serve on the school’s Board of Visitors for more than a decade, from 1988-2001. NIU President Dr. David Ellison noted that “the unwavering support and legislative savvy of former Representative Stokes during those early years set the stage for the (then) Defense Intelligence School to evolve into what is today a robust, rigorous university that is truly the center of academic life for the intelligence community.”

As an influential member of the House of Representatives in the late 1970s, Stokes helped garner congressional support for the initial legislation authorizing the school to award a master’s degree in intelligence. The law passed in 1980, and the degree it authorized – the Master of Science of Strategic Intelligence (MSSI) – is today a valued credential held by thousands of career intelligence professionals.

Representative Louis Stokes (D-OH) (standing, first row, 2nd from left) watches as the DIA Color Guard posts the colors during the opening of the Defense Intelligence College (DIC) graduation ceremony in 1987 at DIA Headquarters. To his left is the DIC Commandant COL John McCartney, USAF, and to his right are DIA Director LTG Leonard Perroots, USAF, and Admiral Bill Studeman, USN.

Louis Stokes, a member of “America’s Greatest Generation” who served in the U.S. Army in WWII, will be remembered for many notable firsts. He was Ohio’s first black member of Congress, serving 15 terms from 1968-1993.
He headed the Select Committee on Assassinations and chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was a co-founder and leader of the Congressional Black Caucus and the first black American on the House Appropriations Committee.

For the National Intelligence University, former Representative Stokes’ legacy carries on with each succeeding class of graduates who earn the MSSI degree that he played such a central role in establishing.