LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame on Monday announced its inaugural class of inductees, a group that includes a current presidential candidate and a civil rights activist who was a key figure in the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock.

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame on Monday announced its inaugural class of inductees, a group that includes a current presidential candidate and a civil rights activist who was a key figure in the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock.


Gov. Asa Hutchinson joined organizers and board members of the Women’s Hall of Fame — including first lady Susan Hutchinson, an ex officio board member — in a news conference at the state Capitol announcing the inductees, who include seven living women, four deceased women and one organization.


The living inductees are:


—Mary Ann Ritter Arnold, the first woman mayor of Marked Tree and a former president of agribusiness and communications firm E. Ritter & Co.


—Betty Bumpers, a former Arkansas first lady who led a statewide program to vaccinate children.


—Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former Arkansas and U.S. first lady, New York senator and U.S. secretary of state and a current candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.


—Mary Good, founding dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a former undersecretary for technology for the U.S. Department of Commerce.


—Johnelle Hunt, co-founder of J.B. Hunt Transport Services of Lowell.


—Dr. Edith Irby Jones, a doctor, educator and philanthropist who was the first black person to attend and graduate from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.


—Alice Walton, founder and board chairman of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.


The historical inductees are:


—Daisy Bates, a civil rights activist, writer and publisher who played a leading role in the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock in 1957.


—Hattie Caraway, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.


—Hester Davis, a leader in the development of cultural resources management legislation and programs who blazed a trail for women in archaeology.


—Roberta Fulbright, a former publisher of the Northwest Arkansas Times who championed the University of Arkansas, fought corruption and advocated for women’s equality.


The first organization to be inducted is:


—Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools, or WEC, which was formed in Little Rock in 1958 in response to Gov. Orval Faubus’ closing of the city’s four public high schools to prevent further desegregation.


A selection committee chose the inductees from 73 nominations submitted by the public. The inductees will be honored in an Aug. 27 ceremony at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Ticket information and information about the inductees are available at www.arwomenshalloffame.com.


"It certainly is long overdue that we recognize the extraordinary history of women in Arkansas’ history, its leadership and its problem solving," Hutchinson said during Monday’s news conference.


"Whether you look at the incredible history of women in Arkansas from the political arena of Hattie Caraway, our first woman elected in her own right in the United States Senate, to Daisy Bates, the civil rights leader, our entire history of Arkansas is filled with extraordinary women who have provided leadership," he said.


Nan Snow of Little Rock, board president of the Women’s Hall of Fame, said the inductees "have made a major impact on the lives of others and helped elevate the status of women in our state, the nation and, in some cases, around the world."


The organization intends to induct a new group each year. Information about the first inductees will be included in a traveling exhibit, but eventually the organization hopes to establish a fixed location, Snow said.


Snow told reporters Clinton was chosen "on her merit" and not because of her presidential bid. She said Clinton and the other living inductees have been invited to the ceremony but said she had not heard whether Clinton would attend.


The Women’s Hall of Fame began as a partnership between the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Business Publishing Group of Little Rock. Terry Hartwick, the chamber’s president and CEO, said he got the idea after noticing that Arkansas Business Hall of Fame includes mostly men.


Hartwick said he thought about the many women who have had a positive impact on the state’s history and asked himself, "How are the young women in Arkansas going to remember them if we don’t start celebrating what they’ve done?"