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Former SU history professor Arthur Tolson passes away, services planned Nov. 30

Former SU history professor Arthur Tolson passes away, services planned Nov. 30

BATON ROUGE–Arthur L. Tolson, Ph.D, a longtime faculty member in the Southern University Baton Rouge Department of History, died Wednesday, November 18, 2015, in Baton Rouge. He was 91.

SU System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton issues the following statement and condolences:  “The Southern University System is tremendously saddened by the passing of former history professor Dr. Arthur Tolson who served as a faculty member in the Department of History at Southern University for 45 years. A true scholar and intellectual, Dr. Tolson touched the lives of countless students and was a trusted mentor to many of his colleagues and fellow SU faculty members. His legacy of teaching and commitment remains an exemplary model for others. We extend our deepest sympathy to Dr. Tolson’s family, colleagues, and friends.”

The retired SU professor was the son of Melvin B. Tolson an American Modernist poet, educator, columnist, and politician who is the protagonist of the 2007 biopic “The Great Debaters.” The film is based on his [Melvin Tolson Sr.] work with students at predominantly Black Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, and their debate with University of Southern California in the 1930s.

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Arthur Tolson, Ph.D., along with Denzel Washington who portrayed his father Melvin Tolson in The Great Debaters

“Dr. Arthur Tolson was truly a mentor and an inspiration to numerous students,” said Shawn Comminey, SUBR history chair. “His philosophy, wisdom, humor; the encouragement and support he displayed through the years, go without saying.”

According to a 2008 SU Digest article, Arthur Tolson made history as the first Black to attain a master’s degree in history from Oklahoma State University and a doctorate in history from the University of Oklahoma.

Share your memories of Dr. Tolson below along with photos (email to news@thedrumnewspaper.info) for his commemorative page.

Funeral Arrangements for Dr. Arthur L. Tolson

Southern University Baton Rouge
Monday, November 30, 2015

Lying in Repose
4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Royal Cotillion Ballroom
Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union
Southern University and A&M College
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70813

Funeral Service
7 p.m.
Royal Cotillion Ballroom
Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union
Interment
Green Acres Memorial Gardens
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Arrangements
Treasures of Life, Center for Life Funeral Services
315 East Airline Highway
Gramercy, Louisiana  70052
225.258.4039

Family requests in lieu of flowers, forward all donations to: Treasures of Life, Center for Life Funeral Services

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