SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX CAROLINA) - Converse University is mourning the loss of interim president Jeffrey Barker, who died in a fatal bicycle crash on Wednesday evening.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol said Barker was riding his bike and going north on Meadowbrook Road near Cherry Hill Road when they ran off the right side of the roadway.
The 63-year-old Barker was later identified by the Spartanburg County Coroner's Office.
Barker served 20 years at Converse University, according to school officials. He most recently served as Converse's Provost and as Interim President.
Converse University released the following statement:
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Converse’s 11th President, Jeffrey H. Barker. Dr. Barker suddenly and tragically was taken away from us last evening, July 21, 2021, in a fatal bicycle crash in Spartanburg. As we mourn this loss together, we also send our love and heartfelt condolences to Dr. Barker’s wife Jan, and their son Sam.
Dr. Barker’s commitment to the students and faculty of Converse is evident through his long list of accomplishments that have had our Converse community and its advancement and well-being at their center. He loved Converse, and his love for us brought him out of his planned retirement to serve us as President. Because of our love for him, we feel his loss personally and deeply, and we will greatly miss him."
A viewing for Dr. Barker will be held on Sunday, Aug. 1 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the John Stinson Woodward Memorial Chapel of the J.W. Woodward Funeral Home.
A campus-wide memorial service to celebrate Dr. Barker's life and legacy will take place on Friday, Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. in Twichell Auditorium.
South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office are investigating this incident.