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Wharton School of UPenn Honors Hettie Simmons Love, Its First Black MBA Graduate

Wharton School of UPenn Honors Hettie Simmons Love, Its First Black MBA Graduate

It’s the world’s leading business school!

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania honored 98-year-old Hettie Simmons Love, its first Black student to graduate from the School’s MBA program, Black Enterprise reports. 

Hettie Simmons Love was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, attending the prestigious Boylan-Haven Boarding School, an elite private school for African Americans. She went on to attend Fisk University, one of the top historically Black colleges in the country, becoming a distinguished member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. 

After undergrad, Simmons headed to Pennsylvania, enrolling at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the world’s leading business school. While she was the only Black woman in her classes, Simmons stayed focused on her education, graduating in 1947 and eventually marrying her husband George Love. The two started their family, raising two children and traveling the world together. 

It wouldn’t be until nearly seven decades later, in 2016, that Simmons would discover that she had indeed made history. While attending an AKA event, Simmons learned that she was in fact, the first African American, man or woman, to graduate from the Wharton School. Now, during her most recent campus visit, she met the School’s first woman dean, Erika H. James  who told Simmons: "I would not be here if it weren’t for someone like you who paved the way." 

James presented the Penn pioneer with a special certificate and acknowledged the National Youth Foundation (NYF), composed of Pennsylvania-area students, for honoring Love with a children's book about her life. 

The illustrated picture book, titled “Hettie Simmons Love: Penn Pioneer,” details Simmons Love’s remarkable achievements. The biography will be featured in the children’s books and Simmons Love’s story will be immortalized in history. 

Hardcover copies of the book are currently available for educators upon request. For more information, visit

Photo Courtesy of Sandrien B Photography