Arkansas State University Honors Its First Black Faculty Member

Frederick Turner as a first-year student at Arkansas State University, 1956

Frederick C. Turner, the first African American to serve on faculty at Arkansas State University, will be honored in perpetuity. The University of Arkansas System board of trustees has voted to rename the building housing the military science program as the Lieutenant Colonel Frederick C. Turner Jr. Military Science Building.

A native of North Little Rock, Turner earned a bachelor’s degree in education and his infantry officer commission through ROTC at Arkansas State University in 1960. He one of the first two Black students to enroll at Arkansas State.

Turned served three combat tours in Vietnam and won two Bronze Star awards. He returned to his alma mater in 1969 to teach, helping prepare other students who eventually would enter military service as commissioned officers. He earned a master’s degree at the university in 1972.

Later in his military career, Turner served as the commander of U.S. Army Forces at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium, and then as a member of the faculty and staff of the Command and General Staff College at Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1982, Colonel Turner retired from military service and moved to Austin, Texas, where he became a manager for the Texas Employment Commission.

“As I have traveled the world since graduating from Arkansas State, it has been my privilege to hold high this university,” Turner said. “I continue to do so during the twilight of my life. Thank you for considering me for this great honor.”

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