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Ellen Strong, ASU's first female African-American
Feb. 4, 2009 --
Turner Strong, the first female African-American to receive an
undergraduate degree at Arkansas State University - Jonesboro, passed
suddenly in Hot Springs last Saturday. Born in 1929 at Jonesboro, she was 79 years old at the time of her
death. She graduated from ASU-Jonesboro in 1964 with a degree in
education and spent her life as a classroom teacher.
Mrs. Strong was the former wife of the late Walter Strong, who, with
Frederick Turner, entered ASU-Jonesboro in 1955 as the first
African-American students on campus. Strong graduated in 1959, also
receiving a master's degree in 1971 from ASU. In 1982, the Strong-Turner
Alumni Chapter, a chapter of the ASU Alumni Association, was founded to
meet the needs of its African-American graduates and was named for
Walter Strong and Frederick Turner.
In 2004, Mrs. Strong was honored at Homecoming by the Strong-Turner
Alumni Chapter for her pioneering role at ASU and her 38 years of
service to education. For 35 years, she taught in the Hot Springs School
District, retiring from teaching in 1995. Among her years of classroom
work in the primary (K-8) grades, she also taught in the fields of adult
education and special education, having received a master's degree in
special education in 1976. She chose to come out of retirement in 1998
to teach three more years in Mississippi, based on her devotion to
classroom teaching and belief in the power of education.
The Ellen T. Strong Scholarship Fund is being established in her honor
through the New Life Christian Fellowship, P.O. Box 1184, Malvern, Ar,
72104. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to memorialize Mrs. Strong may
make donations to the scholarship.
The family is receiving friends at 301 Woodridge Street in Hot Springs.
Memorial services will be held in the Hot Springs Middle School
Auditorium, 700 Main Street, Hot Springs, on Saturday, Feb. 7, beginning
at 1 p.m.
Arrangements will be by Gross Funeral Home of Hot Springs.
Those wishing to sign an online guest
register may do so at
Mrs. Strong was the daughter of the late Harvey
and Annie Turner of Jonesboro. She was educated in the Jonesboro School
District and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1947.
Survivors include two daughters, Rosanna Carroll of Malvern and Janette
Strong of Hot Springs; a sister, Harriet Hyatt of Jonesboro and three
grandchildren, including Stephen Carroll of Malvern,
who received a bachelor's degree from the ASU College of Education in
2004, the third generation of Walter and Ellen Strong's educational