Culp was the son of Joseph Daniel and Lela Popwell Culp and attended public schools in Chilton County. He was the valedictorian of his 1931 class at Isabella High School in Maplesville and went on to secure a diploma from Jacksonville State University. He then earned a bachelor of science and master of science at Auburn University.
Culp began his career as a teacher at a one room school in Chilton County and rose quickly, serving as principal of Greenville High School (Butler County) before returning to Chilton County Schools as superintendent in 1942. In 1946 he resigned to become an administrator at the Alabama State Department of Education. In 1949 he enrolled in the doctoral program in education at Columbia University in New York, New York. His graduate studies were assisted by fellowships and grants that permitted him to study public education systems across the country. He developed a specialty in policies for pupil transportation, authoring two books on the subject.
In 1951 Culp returned to Auburn as an associate professor. He was promoted to full professor before he left in 1954 to become president of Livingston State College in Sumter County. While there he served as director of the Alabama Education Commission, president of the Alabama Association of College Administrators, and chair of the Alabama Education Association's policies commission.
In 1963 he was named the 9th president of Alabama College (now the University of Montevallo). In 1965 he signed certificates assuring the institution's compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The first three African-American students at the college were enrolled in 1968.
That same year, Culp left Montevallo to become the fourth president of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. He retired in 1977 and maintained his home there. Culp and his wife, the former Martha Edwardine Street, had three children: Martha Jean, James and John. He was active in the United Methodist Church and served as a lay leader at the local and district level.
|President of the University of Montevallo
- "Fourth ETSU President: Dr. Delos P. Culp". etsu.edu - accessed March 3, 2010
- "Culp, Delos Poe, Dr." obituary (October 24, 2000) Clanton Advertiser
- Arneson, Rosemary H. (February 22, 2010) "University of Montevallo" Encyclopedia of Alabama - accessed March 3, 2010
- Culp, D. P. (1949) An Administrator's Handbook of School Transportation. Montgomery: Alabama Department of Education
- Featherston, E. Glenn and D. P. Culp (1953) Pupil Transportation: State and Local Programs. New York: Harper & Row