The first Black graduate of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has passed away at the age of 100.
Hettie Simmons Love was the first Black to graduate with a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School, Penn Live reported. Love graduated from the Ivy League institution in 1947. She was the only Black student, and she and one other woman were the only female students at the time.
She was remembered as a pioneer and an educator by the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, community. ABC27 anchor James Crummel, who was a student of Love’s daughter, Karen, wrote on Facebook, “100-year-old Hettie Love was a trailblazer in more ways than one. She was passionate about education and was always giving back to the community. I always enjoyed our time together. It was a real honor to know her. She will absolutely be missed,” the post read.
According to Penn Today, the National Youth Foundation nonprofit organized a workshop in which students wrote a book about Love’s life in 2021. That book, Hettie Simmons Love: Penn Pioneer, included a quote from Erika James, Wharton’s first Black woman dean, at Love’s request.
When Love returned to the campus for the writing workshop in 2021, James said to her, “I would not be here if it weren’t for someone like you who paved the way.” She continued, “It’s so inspiring to me, inspiring to your family, and to others … that it has resulted in a book in your honor. This book recognizes the work that you’ve done and the life you have led.”
Before attending Wharton, Love completed her undergraduate education at Fisk University.
Hettie Simmons Love was born in Jacksonville, Fla., and became a Diamond member of Fisk’s Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, according to Penn Live. She was married to George Love, with whom she shared two children, George Jr. and Karen.