Educators and Administrators

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Futrall, John Clinton

John Clinton Futrall was an influential figure in Arkansas higher education. Serving as president of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) for more than two and a half decades in the early part of the twentieth century, he oversaw the transformation of the state’s higher-education system. John C. Futrall was born on March 9, 1873, in Jackson, Tennessee, to Thomas Andrew Futrall and Emma Headen Futrall. One of seven children, Futrall received his early education in the public schools of Marianna (Lee County), where his father had served as superintendent of schools. In 1888, he graduated from the Marianna Male and Female Institute and then began attending the University of Arkansas. In 1890, Futrall and four other …

Gates, Noah Putnam

Noah Putnam Gates was an important educator in Arkansas in the last few decades of the nineteenth century. He played a particularly influential role in the development of what became the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Noah Putnam Gates was born on November 18, 1932, near Princeton, Kentucky, the son of Nathan Gates and Carolina Davidson Gates. His early education took place in a wide range of schools (predominantly church affiliated) located in Kentucky and Missouri. He attended Chapel Hill College in Chapel Hill, Missouri, and Princeton College in Princeton, Kentucky, before studying at Illinois Normal University and the University of Michigan. He did not receive a degree from any of these schools, but the board of …

Gatewood, Willard Badgett, Jr.

Willard Badgett Gatewood Jr. was a nationally recognized scholar and longtime professor of history at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He also served briefly as chancellor of the university. Gatewood was the author of numerous books, most dealing with African-American and southern history. Willard B. Gatewood was born on February 23, 1931, on a farm on the Park Springs Road in Caswell County, North Carolina. His parents were Willard B. Gatewood, who was a tobacco farmer, and Bessie Pryor Gatewood. He received his BA, MA, and PhD in history at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He began his college teaching career at East Tennessee State University in 1957, and it was there that he met …

Good, Mary Lowe

Mary Lowe Good was a renowned chemist, industrial innovator, professor, and government leader. Good was the first woman in Arkansas to earn a PhD in the so-called hard sciences such as chemistry or physics (fellow Arkansan Margaret Pittman was awarded a PhD in bacteriology in 1929). Good was the first woman elected to the board of the American Chemical Society, and she held important U.S. government positions under the administrations of four presidents. Mary Lowe was born in Grapevine, Texas, on June 20, 1931. Her parents were Winnie Lowe, who was a teacher and librarian, and John Lowe, a school principal; she had three siblings, including Betty Ann Lowe, who became a renowned hospital administrator. In 1942, the family moved …

Grant, Daniel

Daniel R. Grant became a prominent educator in the second half of the twentieth century. Like his father, he served as president of what is now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Daniel Ross Grant was born on August 18, 1923, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to James R. Grant and Grace Sowers Grant. He received his early education in Arkadelphia, where his father, after a five-year stint as president of what is now Arkansas Tech University, began serving as president of Ouachita Baptist when Grant was nine years old. Grant graduated with honors from Arkadelphia High School in 1941; with a major in history, he graduated from Ouachita Baptist in 1945. He earned an MA from the …

Gregg, Lafayette

One of the most enigmatic, if relatively unknown, figures in Arkansas history is Judge Lafayette Gregg. Gregg was a member of one of the pioneering families in northwest Arkansas and was involved in one way or another in nearly every major historical event in Arkansas history that happened during his lifetime. Although most remembered as an instrumental figure in the location of Arkansas Industrial University—later the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County)—in northwest Arkansas, he was also a banker, lawyer, state representative, Civil War veteran, and Arkansas Supreme Court justice. At the time of his death, Gregg was in service to Arkansas helping prepare the state’s exhibition for the 1893 World’s Fair. Lafayette Gregg was born on February …

Griggs, Mildred Barnes

Mildred Barnes Griggs served as professor and dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and is a nationally recognized leader in the field of home economics. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2015. Mildred Barnes was born in Marianna (Lee County) on March 11, 1942. After graduating from Robert R. Moton High School in Marianna, she studied at Arkansas AM&N College in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County)—which is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB)—graduating in May 1963 with a degree in education. She earned graduate degrees, including a doctorate, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1967 and 1970. After joining the faculty in 1970, she …

Halbrook, William Erwin

William Erwin Halbrook was a prominent educator and education reformer in Arkansas during the first half of the twentieth century. Halbrook promoted high school education and led reform efforts to modernize schools in his native Ozarks region and was later important in combating adult illiteracy in the state. The Arkansas Education Association (AEA) considered Halbrook among the “Giants in Arkansas Education.” His career is representative of the early-twentieth-century education reformers who crusaded to bring progress and efficiency to the state’s public school system. William E. Halbrook was born on March 14, 1878, to Urijah Halbrook and Sarah Elizabeth (Woolverton) Halbrook in rural Van Buren County; he had five younger brothers. His father was a poor hill farmer, and Halbrook grew …

Hampton, Sybil Jordan

Sybil Jordan Hampton has served as a higher education administrator, leader in philanthropy, and political advisor during her career. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2005. Sybil Jordan was born on September 1, 1944, in Springfield, Missouri, to Leslie W. Jordan and Lorraine H. Jordan. Her mother was a longtime educator, and her father was a World War II veteran who worked for the U.S. Postal Service. Jordan grew up in Little Rock (Pulaski County) under the Jim Crow system of racial segregation, drinking from “colored” water fountains and attending segregated schools. After the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision ruling that racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional, Little Rock …

Harding, Arthur McCracken

Arthur McCracken Harding, the first Arkansas-born president of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), served his alma mater as a professor and in various administrative positions from 1905 to 1941, and then as president from 1941 to 1947. His teaching was marked by publication of books on mathematics and astronomy, and his administrative service developed new programs and extension of university education throughout Arkansas. As university president, he worked to quell political turmoil and helped UA face changes to the university brought by World War II. Arthur McCracken Harding was born on September 3, 1884, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), the eldest of seven sons, to Charles Taylor Harding and Florence May Brewster Harding. (His great-grandfather was …

Harrison, Allie Cleveland

Allie Cleveland Harrison was a professor of the dramatic arts who, for more than four decades, made a mark in the development of the theater programs in the South through his work at Little Rock Junior College (now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock), the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), and Alabama’s Auburn University. Harrison was also an award-winning memoirist. Cleveland Harrison was born on August 17, 1924, in McRae (White County). The younger son of Allie Harrison and Floy Harrison, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II, at one time being stationed in Berlin, Germany. Upon his return to the United States, he earned an AA degree from Little Rock Junior College; …

Harrison, William Neal

aka: William Neal Harrison
Novelist William Neal Harrison established the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1966. As advisor to the university literary magazine, he actively opposed censorship and defended academic freedom. However, he is probably best known for writing the screenplay to the 1975 movie Rollerball, based upon his short story. William Harrison was born on October 29, 1933, in Dallas, Texas, the son of Samuel Scott Harrison and Mary Etta (Cook) Harrison. He received a BA in 1955 from Texas Christian University and an MA in 1959 from Vanderbilt University. Harrison attended Iowa State University’s Creative Writing Program. He married Merlee Portland on February 2, 1957; the couple have …

Haynes, George Edmund

George Edmund Haynes, the first African American to earn a PhD from Columbia University, was a pioneering sociologist, a social worker, a policy expert, and cofounder of the National Urban League. George Haynes was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on May 11, 1880, to Louis and Mattie Haynes. His father was a laborer and his mother a domestic worker. He graduated from the Richard Allen Institute and, in 1903, earned a BA in sociology at Fisk University. He earned an MA in the same field at Yale University a year later and continued his studies at the University of Chicago, the New York School of Philanthropy, and Columbia University. Meanwhile, he was employed by the Colored Men’s Department of the …

Hill, Daniel Harvey

Daniel Harvey Hill was a Confederate general, professor, and president of what is now the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), then called Arkansas Industrial University. Born on July 12, 1821 in York District, South Carolina, to Solomon Hill and Nancy Cabeen Hill, Daniel Harvey Hill was the youngest of eleven children. His father died four years later, and his mother raised the children with the help of her eldest son, William. The family owned a small plantation, and Hill grew up working the land. Entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1838, Hill graduated four years later, ranking twenty-eighth in a class of fifty-six. Originally assigned to the Engineer Corps, Hill instead served in the …

Hooper, Philo Oliver

Philo Oliver Hooper has been called the father of Arkansas medicine. He was one of the founders of the Medical Department of Arkansas Industrial University, now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), a founder and the first president of the Arkansas State Medical Association, a founding board member and director of the Arkansas Lunatic Asylum, and vice president of the American Medical Association. P. O. Hooper was born on October 11, 1833, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Alanson Hooper and Magdaline Perry Hooper. After obtaining what education was available in the city at the time, he pursued his education at Nashville University in Nashville, Tennessee. Returning home to Little Rock, he found employment as the chief clerk …

Horton, Zilphia Mae Johnson

Zilphia Mae Johnson Horton was an influential educator, folklorist, musician, and social justice activist who collected, adapted, performed, and promoted the use of folksongs and hymns in the labor and civil rights movements, notably “We Shall Not Be Moved” and “We Shall Overcome.” These two, respectively, became labor and civil rights movement anthems. She served as the first cultural director of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee—the precursor of today’s Highlander Research and Education Center, founded by her husband Myles Horton—until her untimely death in 1956. Zilphia Johnson was born in Paris (Logan County) on April 14, 1910, the second child of Robert Guy Johnson, a coal mine superintendent, and Ora Ermon Howard Johnson, a schoolteacher. She was the eldest of …

Howard, John Miller

John Miller Howard was an African-American artist and arts educator who founded the Art Department and taught at Arkansas AM&N—now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB)—from 1939 until his death in 1980. At AM&N, he worked to provide a top-quality arts education to his students, many of whom came from rural backgrounds and lacked exposure to art. Howard was recognized as a gifted painter and teacher. His life and work form an important chapter in the history of art in Arkansas. John Miller Howard was born in Alcorn, Mississippi, on September 22, 1908, to Lillie Howard, a young single mother who nurtured his early talent for drawing. He grew up in Brookhaven, Mississippi, attending segregated schools. He graduated …

Huckaby, Elizabeth Paisley

Elizabeth Paisley Huckaby, who served as an instructor of English for thirty-nine years, was vice principal for girls at Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the desegregation of Central High School. The author of Crisis at Central High: Little Rock 1957–58, Huckaby documented events within the school as the first black students, the Little Rock Nine, were admitted. Charged with protecting the six female members of the Little Rock Nine, she earned hostility and anger from segregationists within the school and in the community. She wrote her brother in October of that first year, “Things go on peacefully at school, if enforced peace is meant. The force isn’t needed for most of the children… but for the …

Iggers, Georg

Georg Iggers was a historian and social activist whose long career included teaching at Philander Smith College in the 1950s. Iggers, a German native, left Philander Smith in 1957 and eventually settled at the University of Buffalo, where he spent his subsequent four-decade career. Georg Iggers was born in Hamburg, Germany, on December 7, 1926. He and his Jewish family fled Germany and the Nazis in the fall of 1938. They originally landed in New York City and relocated to Richmond, Virginia, in early 1939. Iggers earned a bachelor’s degree in romance languages from the University of Richmond at the age of seventeen, before going on to earn both a master’s in Germanics and a PhD in history from the …

Iggers, Wilma Abeles

Wilma Iggers was a longtime and well-respected scholar specializing in German literature. In addition to her scholarly pursuits, she and her husband, Georg Iggers, a scholar of European intellectual history, were active in the American civil rights movement through their work at a number of historically black colleges in the South, including Philander Smith College in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Wilma Abeles was born on March 23, 1921, in the German-speaking part of Czechoslovakia. A Jew, she and her family moved to Canada in 1938 to escape the Nazis, who had recently begun their occupation of Czechoslovakia. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from McMaster University in Canada and, in 1952, a PhD in Germanics from the University of Chicago. …

Ivey, Helen Booker

Helen Booker Ivey was a longtime teacher and principal in Little Rock (Pulaski County) public schools. The Colored Branch of the Little Rock Public Library was renamed in her honor in 1951. The branch library continued to operate and serve as a community meeting place throughout the 1960s. Helen Booker Ivey was the daughter of Dr. Joseph A. Booker and Mary Jane Caver Booker; her father was the first president of Arkansas Baptist College and a leader in Arkansas’s African-American community. Her date of birth is uncertain: the 1900 census states that she was born in December 1896, while the 1930 census places her age as thirty-two, indicating an 1898 birth; her gravestone has a 1901 birthdate. She attended Arkansas …

James, Douglas Arthur

Douglas Arthur James served as a professor of biological sciences at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) from 1953 to 2016. He was considered the authority of the birds of Arkansas, co-authoring Arkansas Birds with Joseph C. Neal in 1986, and became one of the state’s leading conservationists in the second half of the last century, helping to start the Arkansas Audubon Society in 1955 and the Arkansas Audubon Society Trust in 1972. He arranged the first meeting of what would become the Ozark Society, which was responsible for saving the Buffalo River from damming. Starting with studies of scrubland birds in northwestern Arkansas, James expanded to studying scrubland birds in Africa, Nepal, and Belize. He was …

Jennings, Roscoe Greene

Roscoe Greene Jennings was one of the eight founders of the Arkansas Industrial University Medical Department, now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Roscoe Jennings was born in Leeds, Maine, on June 11, 1833, the fourth son and fifth child of Perez Smith Jennings and Johanna (Lane) Jennings. His great grandfather, Samuel Jennings of Salem, Massachusetts, had held an important office under King George III of Great Britain but, after the Revolutionary War, had lost his property and moved to Maine to farm. Young Roscoe grew up working on a farm there in the summer and attended school during the winter. He later traveled and taught school to support himself and his continuing education. Jennings apprenticed in medicine …

Johnston, Lewis, Jr.

Lewis Johnston Jr. was the first African American ordained as a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church and the founder (with his wife) of the Richard Allen Institute in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), a school black students. He was also a teacher, writer, and newspaper publisher. He worked with Professor Joseph Carter Corbin and the Reverend Elias Camp Morris during a time of major transformation in the development of education for African Americans. Four of his sons were killed during the Elaine Massacre in 1919. Lewis Johnston Jr. was born free on December 12, 1847, in Blairsville, Pennsylvania, to Lewis Johnston (1805–1881) and Jane Bronson Johnston (1810–1897). His father had been born a slave in Derry, Pennsylvania, and later became …

Kays, Victor Cicero (V. C.)

Victor Cicero (V. C.) Kays was the founding president of the First District State Agricultural School, which evolved into Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County). During his thirty-two-and-a-half-year tenure, Kays guided the institution through trying circumstances and led its transformation from a regional agricultural training school to a college that offered four-year academic degree programs. He was successful despite hardships that were magnified by the impact of two world wars, the Great Depression, meager public funding, and a fire that consumed the college’s main building. V. C. Kays was born on July 24, 1882, in Magnolia, Illinois, one of six children of John A. Kays and Mary Alice Kays. His father was a farmer. After finishing high school …

Kearney, James and Ethel

Thomas James (T. J.) Kearney (1906–2013), and his wife, Ethel Virginia Curry Kearney (1917–1982), were cotton sharecroppers. They were recognized for their contributions to childhood education and Christian service by the state of Arkansas; Johnson Publishing Company of Chicago, Illinois; President William J. Clinton; and the country of Israel. Of the couple’s nineteen children, eighteen were college graduates. A number of their children served the state of Arkansas and the U.S. government in leadership roles. T. J. and Ethel Kearney are members of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. T. J. Kearney was born June 25, 1906, to Thomas Clayton (T. C.) Kearney and Cynthia Davis Kearney in Lake Village (Chicot County). His parents were itinerant farmers. T. J. was …

Keohane, Nannerl Overholser

Nannerl Overholser Keohane has been a leader in American higher education, first as president of Wellesley College and then as president of Duke University. Both symbolically, as a pioneering female leader, and substantively in the way she shaped the direction of those two institutions, Keohane has had a major impact on the college and university landscape into the twenty-first century. Nannerl Overholser was born on September 18, 1940, in Blytheville (Mississippi County). The daughter of Grace Overholser and James Overholser, who was a Presbyterian minister, she was the oldest of three children and was named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s sister. The family relocated several times during her childhood, both to Texas and to South Carolina, as well as a stint in …

Kimbrough, Wilson Whitaker, Jr.

Wilson Whitaker Kimbrough Jr. made distinctive contributions to society through his efforts to professionalize law enforcement in Arkansas. He is considered the father of police and criminal psychology in Arkansas and one of the founders of police and criminal psychology in the United States. Throughout his professional career, he actively supported many mental health initiatives in northwest Arkansas and, as a Washington County Quorum Court member, led in the development of prototype job evaluation and salary administration programs. Wilson Kimbrough Jr., the first son of Lydia Reed and Wilson W. Kimbrough Sr., was born on March 29, 1926, on the family farm northeast of Springdale (Washington County). Both his parents were members of pioneer families of the county and were educators …

Kimpel, Ben Drew

Ben Drew Kimpel, a professor of English at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) from 1952 to 1983, was a widely respected scholar and linguist. He wrote the definitive biography of eighteenth-century novelist Samuel Richardson with UA colleague Duncan Eaves; they also published numerous articles on Richardson and the works of twentieth-century poet Ezra Pound and edited a 1971 edition of Richardson’s novel Pamela. Ben Kimpel was born on November 5, 1915, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). He was the only son of attorney Ben Drew Kimpel Sr. and Gladys Kimpel. Kimpel attended the public schools (with a private tutor in French) and graduated from Fort Smith High School at age fourteen. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy …

Kumpe, Roy Franklin

Roy Franklin Kumpe founded World Services for the Blind. Visually impaired from trachoma—a viral infection that causes cornea scarring—he worked to create educational and employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired, both in Arkansas and around the world. Roy Kumpe was born on January 18, 1910, in Ironton (Pulaski County) to Dave and Mary Kumpe. Kumpe was the fourth child; however, two sisters died in infancy between his birth and his older sister’s. The family lived on a forty-acre farm, and Kumpe’s father raised livestock and grew produce that he sold to grocers. After the onset of blindness at the age of eight, Kumpe attended the Arkansas School for the Blind. Declining any financial assistance from his …

Lavers, Norman

aka: Cecil Norman Lavers
Throughout his career, Norman Lavers has been an award-winning author of several books and short stories, an English and creative writing professor at Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County), an avid nature instructor/photographer/blogger, and winner of Arkansas’s annual Porter Prize. Cecil Norman Lavers was born in Berkeley, California, on April 21, 1935, to attorney Cecil Lavers and homemaker Mary Parker Lavers. He has two sisters. When Lavers was nine years old, he won first prize from the Young Author’s Club for a story published in the Berkeley Daily Gazette. His major influence for writing came from his grandfather, who was a successful short-story writer. Later in life, Lavers would write Growing Up in Berkeley with the Bomb (Summer …

Ledbetter, Calvin Reville (Cal), Jr.

Calvin Reville (Cal) Ledbetter Jr. was a professor, author, politician, and philanthropist. He taught political science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) from 1960 to 1997, after which he was named Professor Emeritus of Political Science. He also served five consecutive terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives, from 1967 to 1977. Ledbetter is widely remembered for his dedication to higher education as well as his efforts to foster constitutional reform in Arkansas in the 1960s and 1970s. Cal Ledbetter was born on April 29, 1929, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Virginia Ledbetter and Cal Ledbetter Sr. (II); his father served as president of the Boyle Realty Company. Ledbetter received his undergraduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School …

Leflar, Robert Allen

Robert Allen Leflar was one of Arkansas’s most renowned legal scholars, a champion of racial equality, longtime dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville (Washington County), and president of two state constitutional conventions. Robert Leflar was born on March 22, 1901, in Siloam Springs (Benton County), the son of Lewis D. Leflar—who was a drayman, former deputy U.S. marshal in “Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker’s court, and former Alma (Crawford County) town marshal—and Viva Mae Pilkenton of Siloam Springs. The oldest of eight children, Leflar later said that his mother, a high school graduate, was the chief influence on him and his siblings getting an education. Leflar worked his way through the University of Arkansas (UA), beginning …

Lemke, Walter John

Walter John Lemke established the department of journalism at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1928 and served as the head of the department until his retirement in 1959. The university named the department the Walter J. Lemke Department of Journalism in his honor in 1988. In addition, he founded several historical and journalistic organizations. Walter Lemke was born on January 6, 1891, in Wausau, Wisconsin, to Carl Lemke and Ulrika Block Lemke. Lemke attended the University of Wisconsin and the University of Indiana. He received his AB degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, which is near Cleveland, in 1911. The college later awarded him an honorary doctor of letters degree in 1962. He earned …

Lindquist, Evan Leroy

Evan Leroy Lindquist of Jonesboro (Craighead County) is an American artist who is renowned as an artist-printmaker and art educator. His works are in permanent collections of many major galleries across the United States and around the world. Evan Lindquist was born on May 23, 1936, in Salina, Kansas, to Elmer L. Lindquist and Linnette Shogren Lindquist. His father was a corporate officer for a chain of retail lumber firms, and his mother was a homemaker. In 1945, Lindquist’s family moved to Emporia, Kansas, where Lindquist built a calligraphy business while in junior high school, encouraged by his father, an expert in ornamental penmanship. The business included creating certificates and charters for national organizations. His calligraphy experience led to a …

Linton, Henri

Henri Linton has been recognized as one of the most talented artists working in the state of Arkansas. He has also served as chair of the art department at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Henri Linton was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1944. After discovering his artistic talents early, he soon began painting and visiting museums. To buy art supplies, he took on odd jobs such as painting signs and shining shoes. After entering a national art contest as a teenager, he won a four-year scholarship to the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. Linton earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University and a master’s degree in art from the University of Cincinnati …

Long, Isaac Jasper

Isaac Jasper Long was a Presbyterian minister from South Carolina who helped found Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville (Independence County) and served as its first president. Isaac Long was on born February 23, 1834, in Anderson District, South Carolina, the son of Isaac and Lettie Hamilton Long. Orphaned at fourteen, he supported himself as a laborer and tutor. He obtained his education at Reverend James Leland Kennedy’s Thalian Academy in South Carolina. Under the sponsorship of Reverend David Humphreys, he was able to attend Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where he graduated in 1858. He remained at Danville to pursue his theological studies at Danville Seminary and also attended Columbia Seminary in South Carolina. On August 30, 1859, …

Lorch, Lee

Lee Lorch was a professor of mathematics at Philander Smith College in Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the second half of the 1950s. He and his wife, Grace Lorch, became involved in the black civil rights struggle in central Arkansas. As a lifelong leftwing activist, he also came to the attention of investigatory commissions at both the federal and state levels. Lee Lorch was born to Adolph Lorch and Florence Lorch in New York City on September 20, 1915. Lorch’s grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Germany (an old town in the Rhine River Valley is named Lorch). His mother was a school teacher until she married, and his father eventually became part owner of a small factory. Lorch had three …

Lyon, Aaron Woodruff

Aaron Woodruff Lyon was an early Arkansas settler and pioneer educator who founded the first academy to be chartered by the state of Arkansas and was instrumental in the development of Batesville in Independence County and Elizabeth in Jackson County. Aaron Lyon was born on July 11, 1797, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the son of Aaron and Joanna Hatfield Lyon. During the War of 1812, he served in Captain Altman’s Pennsylvania Militia. In 1824, he graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York. He entered Princeton Theological Seminary in 1825 and completed the full three-year curriculum. After completing his studies in 1828, his health forced him to move south. Lyon accompanied Major Edward Duval to Lower Township (Crawford County), where …

Madden, Ed

Ed Madden is a poet, activist, and educator who has written, co-written, and edited numerous books and anthologies. His poem “Sacrifice” was selected for the Best New Poets 2007 anthology. In 2015, he was named the first poet laureate of Columbia, South Carolina. Ed Madden was born on September 13, 1963. Originally from Newport (Jackson County), Madden grew up on a rice farm. His family was devoutly Christian. Madden studied English and French at Harding University in Searcy (White County) and graduated with a BA in 1985. He received a BS in biblical studies from the Institute for Christian Studies in Austin, Texas, in 1992; an MA from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin in 1989, and a PhD …

Maddox, Ode Lee

Ode Lee Maddox was a long-serving and influential member of the Arkansas General Assembly as well as a dedicated career educator. By combining his passion for education with his well-developed political skills, he played a central role in the development of the Arkansas public education system. Ode Lee Maddox was born on October 2, 1912 in Oden (Montgomery County). He was the youngest of four children of Hugh Maddox and Alice Edwards Maddox. He received his early education at Caney Elementary, an experience he believed so central to his future accomplishments that he often said that his most important educational experience had been at the “University of Caney.” He graduated from Oden High School in 1932. On October 6, 1934, …

Massey, Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth Massey was a history professor noted for her early studies of women in the Civil War, years before women’s history courses became common in university history departments. Her books have continued to be important decades after their publication. Mary Elizabeth Massey (she used her full name throughout her life) was born on December 25, 1915, in Morrilton (Conway County) to Mary McClung Massey and Charles Leonidas Massey. After graduation from Morrilton High School, she attended Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County). For multiple years, Massey was president of her sorority (in an era when Hendrix had fraternities and sororities), and she served on the Interfraternity Council, the dormitory council, and the Student Senate, in addition to serving one-year …

McBrien, Dean Depew (D. D.)

Dean Depew (D. D.) McBrien was a college professor and academic administrator at Henderson State Teachers College (HSTC)—now Henderson State University (HSU)—in Arkadelphia (Clark County) for eighteen years. D. D. McBrien was born on November 14, 1892, in Tecumseh, Nebraska, to Jasper Leonidas McBrien and Eva Forbes McBrien. The oldest of five children, McBrien graduated from high school in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1909 and entered the University of Nebraska. McBrien first worked at the high school level, serving as principal of the high school in Phillips, Nebraska, in the 1912–13 school year. He graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1914 and obtained a position at Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC)—now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner …

McCain, Paul Moffatt

Dr. Paul Moffatt McCain served as president of Arkansas College (which later became Lyon College) from 1952 to 1969, the second-longest consecutive presidential tenure in the institution’s history. Only the first president, Isaac J. Long, served longer. McCain led the college though a period of growth, with enrollment tripling, the budget increasing by more than 600 percent, the location moving a mile to the east, and new academic buildings and residence halls springing up. His most significant accomplishment, however, was gaining accreditation for the school from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a step that gave Arkansas College greater credibility and opened the door to new funding resources. Paul McCain was born on January 25, 1920, in Atlanta, …

McGraw, Patricia Washington

Patricia Washington McGraw, a scholar, professor, and author, has made a significant impact throughout the country and the world as an educator and African-American cultural preservationist. Patricia Washington was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to William and Ruth Washington, natives of Danville (Yell County), on May 6, 1935. While she was growing up in a time of school segregation and Jim Crow laws, her parents instilled in her the value of education and the importance of embracing her African-American heritage. In 1953, she graduated from all-black Dunbar High School in Little Rock. McGraw graduated from San Francisco State College in California in 1957 and earned a master’s degree in American literature from the college in 1967. She was the …

McKay, Eugene

Eugene McKay was a prominent educator in Arkansas in the second half of the twentieth century. He is most closely identified with Arkansas State University–Beebe (ASU–Beebe), where he spent just short of five decades, eventually rising to become the school’s chancellor, a post he held for a little over twenty years before retiring in 2016. Eugene McKay was born on May 5, 1941, in Amagon (Jackson County). His parents were farmers. Much of McKay’s early life was spent picking and chopping cotton. The McKay family moved frequently to do farm work, but they were usually in the Amagon area. McKay attended a number of rural schools in Amagon, Wiona (Independence County), and Charlotte (Independence County) before the family settled in …

Meriwether, John Thompson (Jack)

John Thompson (Jack) Meriwether was a city administrator whose later career in higher education channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to Arkansas colleges and universities. Meriwether was city manager—the city’s chief administrator—of Texarkana (Miller County) and then Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was an officer at a bank in his hometown of Paragould (Greene County) and was general manager of the Arkansas Gazette for several years. He also served as vice president for governmental relations for the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Jack Meriwether was born on November 23, 1933, to Ray Meriwether and Marie Thompson Meriwether in Paragould. His father and his uncle, Bill Meriwether, ran a hardware store started by his grandfather in 1883. Meriwether and his …

Millar, Alexander Copeland

Alexander Copeland Millar was a prominent Methodist minister, educator (elected one of the nation’s youngest college presidents), and publisher. Alexander Millar was born May 17, 1861, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, to William John Millar and Ellen Caven. His father engaged in the drug business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, until the great fire of April 10, 1845, destroyed at least one third of the city, including his drug business and his family’s home. Later, William Millar tried his hand at being an inventor. In 1867, he moved his family to Missouri, where he bought a farm near Brookfield in Linn County. In 1885, Alexander Millar graduated from the Methodist-affiliated Central College in Fayette, Missouri. Four years later, he earned an MA from Central …

Miller, Asbury Mansfield

Asbury Mansfield (A. M.) Miller was an African American who served for many years as an educator in Batesville (Independence County). A. M. Miller, the son of Randal and Pollie Miller, was born on February 4, 1893, in Perla (Hot Spring County). His father, a native of Mississippi, worked in a sawmill there. Miller graduated from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and he later did graduate work at what is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). During World War I, he worked as a waiter at Fort Logan H. Roots in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). On May 25, 1921, he married Ethel O. Walter in Clark County. At around this time, he worked …

Miller, Eliza Ann Ross

Eliza Ann Ross Miller was an African-American businesswoman and educator, as well as the first woman to build and operate a movie theater in Arkansas. She was the wife of prosperous Helena (Phillips County) businessman, state legislator, and church leader Abraham Hugo Miller. After her husband’s death, she continued his business operations while also providing leadership in the Helena school system. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1999. Eliza Ross was born in Arkadelphia (Clark County) on September 6, 1869, to George and Sarah Ross. On June 15, 1887, she married Abraham H. Miller in Arkadelphia. The couple had eight children, five of whom survived into adulthood. Abraham Miller, who had been successful in real …