Hettie Simmons Love, The First Black Graduate Of The World’s Top Business School, Honored At 98

Wagswoofs – The National Youth Foundation (NYF) has recently shared the inspiring tale of Hettie Simmons Love, an extraordinary trailblazer who made history as the first African American graduate from the renowned Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Love, a vibrant 98-year-old woman, had the wonderful opportunity to share her life’s journey with students from Philadelphia, PA.

A wonderful picture book called “Hettie Simmons Love: Penn Pioneer” was created in honor of her. It was written and illustrated by talented young artists from the community.

In the 1920s, in Jacksonville, Florida, a truly remarkable story unfolds. This story takes place just six decades after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

After completing her education at the renowned Boylan-Haven Boarding School, a young Hettie Simmons embarked on her academic journey at the esteemed HBCU, Fisk University.

After mastering mathematics and becoming a member of the prestigious Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Hettie aimed higher and decided to pursue business studies at Wharton.

During her time at Wharton, she stood out for her remarkable achievements as the only woman and African American in her classes.


In 1947, Hettie completed her education with great joy and celebration, supported by her loving family and her future husband, George Love. Their fairytale love story resulted in a marriage filled with happiness, and together they raised two exceptional children. Their adventures took them all around the world, a remarkable achievement considering the historical context of the time, prior to the Civil Rights Act in the United States.

In a surprising twist of fate, Mrs. Love uncovered her groundbreaking achievement as the first African American graduate from Wharton in 2016, during an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority event.

Her life story underwent a remarkable transformation, turning it into an inspiring children’s biography that celebrates her as a Penn Pioneer.


To explore the captivating story of Hettie Simmons Love and get your hands on a copy of “Hettie Simmons Love: Penn Pioneer,” please visit NationalYouthFoundation.org.

If educators are interested in acquiring hardcover copies of the book, they can request them from the National Youth Foundation. However, availability is subject to limitations. To request a complimentary copy, educators can reach out to the National Youth Foundation at [email protected].

The National Youth Foundation, a non-profit organization led by Black individuals, is dedicated to preserving and sharing a wide range of stories that serve as sources of inspiration, empowerment, and recognition of resilience.

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