Educational administrator Earl S. Richardson was born September 25, 1943, in Westover, Maryland. After high school, Richardson attended Maryland State College (now the University of Maryland Eastern Shore) where he earned a B.A. degree in social science in 1965. Following four years in the U.S. Air Force, Richardson returned to school, earning an M.S. degree in educational administration from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973, and an Ed.D. in educational administration in 1976.
Following an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, Richardson returned to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), where he became director of career planning and placement in 1970, and acting director of admissions and registration the following year. From 1973 to 1974, Richardson worked as a graduate assistant at the University of Pennsylvania, before returning to UMES as director of career planning and placement. In 1975, Richardson was named the executive assistant to the chancellor and became a part-time lecturer. In 1982, Richardson was named assistant to the president of the University of Maryland system, and on November 1, 1984, he was named interim president of Morgan State University. The following year, he became the eleventh president of Morgan State University.
Under Richardson's leadership, Morgan State University has seen an increase in financial gifts and grants, both from alumni and foundations. The student population has nearly doubled, and a number of higher education degrees are now offered at the school, including doctorate programs in engineering, mathematics education and science education.
Richardson leads an active life outside of work. He is a past member of the board of directors of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and is currently a member of the board of directors of the Baltimore Council of Boy Scouts of America, among other organizations. In 1995, Richardson was the recipient of the Profile of a Leader Award from Morgan State University. He has also received both a Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Richardson and his wife Sheila live in Baltimore. They have one son.
Richardson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 12, 2003.