Horace Traylor, the first African American to graduate from the University of Chattanooga, has died at the age of 90. Dr. Traylor passed away on June 29, and memorial services will be held on July 12 in Miami, Florida.
When we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the merger between the University of Chattanooga and the University of Tennessee in 2019, we also recognized the inclusion of Chattanooga City College, located six blocks from our campus, in the agreement. Our public education mission was broadened and enhanced by these actions. Dr. Traylor, who led Chattanooga City College, was the first African American to receive a degree from UC, a Master of Education in 1965.
His commitment to higher education paved the way for generations of young people and lifelong learners to experience the transformational impact of achieving a college degree. Our city and our university are better because of his leadership. While we mourn the loss of Dr. Traylor, we also recognize and celebrate his achievements from a life well-lived.
Dr. Traylor graduated from Zion College in Chattanooga in 1953, becoming the first African American to earn a bachelor’s degree in the city. He served as president of Zion College from 1959 to 1964, when the institution was renamed Chattanooga City College and where he continued to serve until the 1969 merger of UTC.