Ohio University

Historic Icons

John Newton Templeton

John Newton Templeton was born a slave in 1805 and freed in 1813. He graduated from Ohio University, with an A.B. in 1828, being the first black man to do so and the fourth African-American to graduate from a U. S. college. He was an educator and co-edited "The Mystery" a black newspaper.

Martha Jane Hunley Blackburn

Martha Jane Hunley Blackburn was the first black woman to graduate from Ohio University, with a B.S. ED. in 1916. She majored in English and Literature with a minor in Home Economics. She taught Home Economics in Ohio and West Virginia.

Saki Taro Murayama

The first international student, Saki Taro Murayama, came to Ohio University from Japan. His presence on campus brought upon a curiosity of what life and people were like outside of the United States. By the turn of the twentieth century, students from East Asia were making quite a community for themselves here at OHIO.

Margaret Boyd

Margaret “Maggie” Boyd was the first woman to receive a bachelor degree from Ohio University in 1873. Before she was accepted into the University in 1868, only men were on campus and educated. Though there are no definitive answers as to why she was chosen as the first female student, there is some speculation that Margaret Boyd’s family ties to OHIO influenced the decision to choose her. 

Dr. Francine C. Childs

Dr. Francine C. Childs was the first tenured African American professor at Ohio University (OHIO) and longtime stalwart for social justice and equality. Dr. Childs is Professor Emerita in the Department of African American Studies at OHIO where she has served in various capacities, including but not limited to curriculum chair (1974–1996), director of summer programs (1975–1978) and department chairperson (1984–1989).