(June Nordman Mashburn ’29: Back Row, 1st on the Right)
Little Rock Junior College’s First Graduating Class
Alum Celebrates 100th Birthday!
Arkansas Democrat Gazette FeatureJune Nordman Mashburn ’29 has seen a lot of “firsts” in her 100 years of living. One of the most significant firsts was being a member of the first graduating class of the institution that became UALR.The former elementary school teacher who still teaches Sunday school in Jacksonville turned 100 Tuesday, June 30. Members of the class celebrated with cake and ice cream at Marshall Road Baptist Church in Jacksonville.
Mashburn’s graduation from Little Rock Junior College, in the inaugural of 1929, allowed her to teach elementary school. She taught for 48 years in Little Rock, Paron, and Jacksonville.
“I’ve had many firsts, but one ‘first’ at LRJC that led to so much more was when I was in the first graduation class. That led to many others,” she said. “It was a joyful two years.”
Born June 30, 1909, in Jasper, Ark., she was the youngest of three children. Her family moved to Little Rock in 1911. “Miss June” knew that chances were nil that the family could send her to college to become a teacher, which was her goal.
“R.C. Hall, who was the head of the Little Rock Schools, had a great dream of a college for Little Rock,” Mashburn said. “When I graduated in 1927, it came true, and we had classes in one of the Little Rock schools. I could stay in Little Rock and get an education.”
Hall’s support came at the urging of John A. Larson, founder and president of the college, who was dedicated to creating an educational institution to provide future growth of the region. Thanks to a generous endowment by former Gov. George W. Donaghey and his wife, the new institution took flight.
At 24, June married Glenn Mashburn just before he was shipped out to serve a three-year tour during World War II. She continued to teach in Little Rock until 1949, when they moved to Jacksonville where she taught at Jacksonville Elementary School until she retired in 1971. “Mrs. June,” as she is known in Jacksonville, has taught Sunday school for the past 85 years. Glenn died at the age of 89, after 64 years of marriage.
As she turns 100, UALR’s oldest graduate said she keeps up with her alma mater.
“It’s grown and grown so much, I am just so proud,” she said. “It’s been wonderful that so many have been able to go there. And I’m just so proud I could live to see it.”