Jessie Lou Arnold was the first African American student at UT Martin, enrolling on June 12, 1961. The moment was reported by newspapers across Tennessee.
Arnold, now Jessie Lou Arnold Pryor, was encouraged to be the first by Harold Conner Sr., her principal at the Weakley County Training School who later became the first African American administrator at UT Martin.
Conner, known as Dean Conner, joined the staff at UT Martin in 1969 as the assistant dean of students, later becoming the assistant vice chancellor for student affairs.
On Oct. 20, both pioneers were remembered by having residence facilities named in their honor. Arnold Pryor Place reflects the courage and determination that the student had in those first years of integration on campus. Conner Community memorializes the vision and mentorship of the former administrator.
Mills Achieves a First
Christina Mills graduated from UT Martin in August, and with that, the former Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) cadet became the first woman to commission as an active-duty infantry officer from the UT System. Mills, a criminal justice major, said she plans to make a career of the Army if she enjoys what she’s doing.
“My ultimate goal is to get an assignment in the Pentagon,” she says. “If I don’t make a career (in the Army), my other goal is to be an FBI special agent.”
Harriss Named to Hall of Fame
Elaine Harriss, a professor in the UT Martin Department of Music, was inducted into the Steinway & Sons Teachers Hall of Fame as a member of the hall’s fifth induction class Oct. 6 at a ceremony hosted by the Steinway and Sons firm in Astoria, New York. The Steinway & Sons Teachers Hall of Fame is a prestigious designation recognizing the work of North America’s most committed and passionate piano educators.
Kubin Achieves Top 100 Interns List
Abigail Kubin accepted an engineering internship over the summer with the civil engineering firm of Freese and Nichols in Dallas, Texas, and came back to UT Martin with more than the work experience.
Kubin was named to the WayUp Top 100 Interns List for 2023, a national ranking taken from the top 100 programs hiring interns. Kubin, a junior mechanical engineering major from Highland Village, Texas, worked in the Water and Wastewater Division in transmission and utilities from early June through mid-August.