Hettie Simmons Love: First Black Student To Graduate From The World’s Top Business School Honored At 98

by Gee NY
Image Credit: Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

The National Youth Foundation (NYF) has unveiled the remarkable story of Hettie Simmons Love, an unsung pioneer and the first African American to graduate from the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

At 98 years old, Mrs. Love shared her life’s journey with students from Philadelphia, PA.

She inspired an original picture book titled “Hettie Simmons Love: Penn Pioneer,” beautifully written and illustrated by local youth.

Her remarkable story unfurls in Jacksonville, Florida, during the 1920s, barely six decades after the Emancipation Proclamation.

A young Hettie Simmons attended the esteemed Boylan-Haven Boarding School, and post-graduation, she ventured to the distinguished HBCU, Fisk University.

Excelling in mathematics and joining the esteemed Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Hettie set her sights further north to pursue business studies at Wharton.

Her time at Wharton was marked by singular distinction: she was the sole woman and African American in her classes.

Hettie graduated in 1947 amidst jubilation with her family and future husband, George Love. Their storybook romance led to marriage, two remarkable children, and global travels—an extraordinary feat preceding the Civil Rights Act of the United States.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until 2016, at an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority event, Mrs. Love discovered her historic status as the first African American to graduate from Wharton.

This revelation transformed her life story into an empowering children’s biography, celebrating her as a Penn Pioneer.

Hettie Simmons Love (center) with her daughter Karen Love (left) and Wharton Dean Erika James (right) (Photo from Penn Today).

To delve deeper into the captivating narrative of Hettie Simmons Love and secure a copy of “Hettie Simmons Love: Penn Pioneer,” visit NationalYouthFoundation.org.

Educators can request complimentary hardcover copies of the book (subject to availability) by contacting the National Youth Foundation at ContactNationalYouthFoundation@gmail.com.

The National Youth Foundation, a Black-led non-profit organization, remains steadfast in its commitment to preserving and sharing diverse stories that inspire, uplift, and celebrate resilience.

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