Autherine Lucy Foster
Autherine Lucy Foster became the first African-American student to enroll at UA in 1956. After she graduated from Miles College in 1952, she enrolled at the University as a graduate student in library science. Her brief stay on campus involved three days of tumultuous demonstrations. Foster was suspended and later expelled by the UA Board of Trustees.
In 1988, two professors invited Foster to speak at the University about the events that had occurred more than 30 years before. After her speech, faculty members persuaded the Board of Trustees to overturn her expulsion.
A year later, in 1989, Foster again enrolled at the University, where her daughter Grazia also was a student at the time. In 1992, mother and daughter graduated together — the former with a master’s degree in elementary education, the latter with a bachelor’s degree in corporate finance. A portrait of Autherine Lucy Foster now hangs in the Ferguson Center.
Foster helped open the door for UA to achieve record minority enrollment.