Born in Roanoke Rapids, Dr. Cheek was named President of Shaw in 1963 at the age of 30 - making him Shaw’s youngest president. He would serve Shaw for five years.
In 1968, he was appointed president of Howard University in Washington, DC, where he served 20 years. He retired in 1989.
"The entire Shaw University family today mourns the loss of one of our most beloved leaders, and we send our sincere condolences to the Cheek family," said Shaw University Board of Trustees Chairman Willie E. Gary. "Dr. Cheek had a profound effect on every aspect of this institution, from academics and research, to student life, alumni affairs and our engagement with the community. In a short period of time, his vision and leadership helped to make Shaw University the outstanding institution it is today."
Dr. Cheek is survived by his wife Celestine, two children, and four grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized.