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1st female African American ASU grad identified

The first female African American graduate from ASU has been identified after she was believed to be someone else.

Love Hatton Jordan was believed to be the first female African American graduate from ASU, having graduated in 1928. However, Michele Neptune McHenry recently found that her husband’s aunt, Stella McHenry, graduated from the university three years earlier.

Michele described her aunt-in-law’s journey to Arizona PBS.    

“They were living in Clifton, Arizona at the time, so she left home to come to Tempe all by herself," McHenry said." "I just can’t imagine what that was like, and the bravery that that took and the determination that she had.”

Michele says she wanted to be able to share Stella’s story with their grandchildren.

“It’s so important for all of us to know what our history is," McHenry said. "Part of the reason that we started this project was for our grandkids and being able to share with them some of the stories.”

Stella McHenry graduated from ASU’s teachers’ program with honors in 1925.

Nick Sanchez is a senior producer for KJZZ's The Show. He joined the station as an intern during the spring of 2022, where he developed a passion for audio storytelling in the Valley.