Celebrating the History of Desegregation at Murray State University

Historical Marker near Pogue LibraryHistorical Milestones

First African-American student, Mary Ford Holland, 1955

First African-American graduate, Nancy Tyler, 1961

In 1961, Vador Perry, became the first black student to attend the Murray Training School.

First African-American varsity athlete, Dennis Jackson, 1960

The first black person to serve as a full time faculty member was Ernest Brooks. He taught in the Department of Guidance and Counseling beginning in 1970.

Hopkins County native Jerry Sue Pritchett Owens Thornton, ’69, became the first black graduate student to teach at the university.   

African-American Distinguished Alumnus Recipients

1987 Jerry Pritchett Thornton, Ph.D. ’69

1992 Walter Bumphus, Ph.D. ’71

2005 Don Tharpe, Ph.D.’74

African-American Golden Horseshoe Recipient

1997 Michael Hamilton ’70

Outstanding Senior Man

1997 Reuel Shepherd

2007 Terone Lewis