Julie Cromitie

Julie Cromitie, a secondary education major from Philadelphia, was elected as the first Negro president for the Association of Women Students (AWS) in 1964. The AWS was the coordinating body for cultural, social, and educational activities for women at Penn State.

Cromitie, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, also became the first Negro selected as a Miss Penn State finalist later that same year. Judged on the basis of their activities, appearance, grades, personality, and poise, five finalists were chosen from among 38 entries.

In 1965, Cromitie was named recipient of the Ralph Dorn Hetzel Memorial Award, the most prestigious student award given by the university. Cromitie was the first Negro student to be honored with the award. Established in 1949, and named for Penn State’s tenth president, the Hetzel Award recognizes a combination of high scholastic attainment together with good citizenship and participation and leadership in student activities.