University of Arkansas Names Residence Halls After Its First African American Faculty Members

Two residence halls at the University of Arkansas have been renamed in honor of the university’s first two African American professors, Margaret Clark and Gordon Morgan.

“Dr. Clark and Dr. Morgan were great teachers and scholars, but they also played a critical and consistent role in helping make the university a more welcoming place to all who came, showing students the path toward success through their words and their actions,” said Chancellor Joe Steinmetz. “It is a great honor for the university to have two buildings named in honor of each of them.”

Dr. Clark began her teaching career at the University of Arkansas in 1969 and taught world languages while working on her doctorate. She was appointed an assistant professor of secondary education in 1972 in the College of Education and Health Professions. She retired in 1998, taking emerita status but remained active in community affairs.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Clark has served on the board of directors of the Arkansas Alumni Association and the Washington County Historical Society and was a member of the Arkansas Division of the American Association of University Women. She also served as the first president of the Phi Alpha Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Additionally, Professor Clark has received many awards throughout her career including the Silas Hunt Legacy Award, the Outstanding Faculty Award, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Lifetime Award.

Dr. Clark holds a master’s degree and doctorate in education both from the University of Arkansas.

Dr. Morgan was hired as an assistant professor in the department of sociology in 1969 and eventually worked his way up to the rank of University Professor. With his wife, Izola Preston, he wrote the book The Edge of Campus: A Journal of the Black Experience at the University of Arkansas (University of Arkansas Press, 1990). The book examines the first 40 years of campus life after desegregation took place at the university in 1948. The couple also established the Gordon Morgan Family Scholarship for underrepresented students at the university. Dr. Gordon retired and took emeritus status in 2012.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Morgan was a member of the Black Alumni Association and the Arkansas Alumni Association. Some his most notable awards were the Silas Hunt Legacy Award, a National Endowment for the Humanities Teaching Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Fellowship, and the J. Williams Fulbright Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006.

Dr. Morgan holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas, and a doctorate from Washington State University.

“We are truly honored to be able to recognize the legacies of these educational pioneers,” said Charles Robinson, vice chancellor for student affairs. “Dr. Clark and Dr. Morgan have always represented the best of what the university strives to be towards each student everyday.”

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