The Life of Louise Stokes Hunter


Dr. E Louise Stokes HunterDr. E. Louise Stokes Hunter-- the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development in 1953-- was a trailblazer in mentorship and education.

Dr. E. Louise Stokes Hunter, graduated with her Ed.D. from the School of Education and Human Development in August 1953.

Her dissertation focused on helping high schoolers transition to collegiate mathematics. She practiced this during her time as a professor at Virginia State College, now Virginia State University, the first HBCU that was able to grant four-year degrees in the United States. At VSU and beyond, Dr. Hunter was known for her strong belief in education and her careful and compassionate mentoring of students throughout her career as a teacher.

When she received her Ed.D. from UVA, Dr. Hunter became the first Black woman to graduate from the University. She also broke another barrier in 1925, when she became the first Black woman currently known to graduate from Harvard University with her Master’s in Education.

After her retirement from VSU, she continued to mentor and teach students at St. Paul’s College, another HBCU. She died in Petersburg, VA in 1988.

We are grateful to her family, particularly her grandchildren Ms. Yvette Washington and Mr. D. Hunter White, for sharing her story with the School of Education and Human Development.

In 2020, the Dean’s office and the office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the UVA School of Education and Human Development, and the student research conference committee members voted to support the renaming of the research conference in honor of Dr. Hunter, changing the name from the Curry Research Conference (CRC) to the Hunter Student Research Conference (HSRC)

Dr. Hunter’s granddaughter, Yvette White Washington, gave an opening address at the 2021 HSRC where she gave remarks commemorating the name change and her grandmother’s legacy: “My grandmother was a trailblazer when it came to being a role model for women … balancing a family and a career while working in a scientific and technical field.”

Read/Learn more from a feature story at UVA Today: Uncovering the Legacy of UVA’s First Black Woman Graduate | UVA Today (