June 18, 2009

In 1964, El Dorado (Union County) native Donna Axum became the first Miss Arkansas to win the title of Miss America. Axum won her first title, Miss Union County, in 1958 and, as a senior at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1963, entered the Miss Arkansas pageant. After her reign as Miss America, she returned to UA, finishing her education in 1969 with a master’s degree in speech and drama. In 1988, she was named UA Distinguished Alumni and, in 2004, became the first Miss America named to that organization’s board of directors.

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