Gregory Vaughn, right, and Katryne Horton
Gregory Vaughn, a graduate of Watson Chapel High School in Pine Bluff, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Maurice R. Horton Sr. Emerging Leader Memorial Scholarship at Henderson State University where he will attend this fall.
Vaughn played on the basketball team at Watson Chapel, participated in Spanish Club, served on the student council and mentored students engaged in in-school suspension programs.
The family of the late Maurice R. Horton Sr. established this scholarship in 2012 to honor the legacy of the first African-American to graduate from Henderson State University. The Maurice R. Horton Sr. Emerging Leaders Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to an incoming African-American male freshman from Clark County or Jefferson County who meet core academic requirements while exemplifying outstanding leadership qualities.
“My husband and I have always been interested in the education of young people,” said Katryne Horton, widow of Maurice Horton. “I am very supportive of a scholarship to help emerging young leaders, and to encourage them, inspire them, and to help those that may have challenges realize that their present circumstances will not limit their possibilities.”
“Maurice Horton will always be acknowledged as a trailblazer in the history of our university,” said Henderson President Glen Jones. “His continuing impact is felt every time a student of color earns a college degree from Henderson State University. Perhaps more important, the impact of his legacy is evidenced by the rich diversity that exists within our campus community.”
Horton was born in 1935 in Curtis, Ark. After graduating from Peake High School in 1953, he attended Arkansas AM&N College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) for two years and then applied to Henderson State Teachers College at the encouragement of his mother and others in the community.
In 1957, Horton received a bachelor of science in education degree in mathematics, and he was the first African-American student to graduate since Henderson’s founding. Horton went on to teach high school math and later returned to Henderson to complete his master’s degree.
In 1965, Horton joined the faculty at Dollarway High School in Pine Bluff. He dedicated his life to the students and was known for frequently saying, “It’s all about the children.” Horton served as assistant principal, principal and was named superintendent of schools in 1993 where he served until his retirement. Horton passed away in 2010 at the age of 75.
“We remain grateful to Mrs. Katryne Horton, Mr. Jerry Horton and the entire Horton family for commemorating Maurice Horton’s legacy with the gift of this scholarship,” Jones said. “Their gift will help many deserving students on their journey toward earning a higher education degree.”