Herbert Nipson became the first colored student in the nation elected to Sigma Delta Chi, the national journalism honor society (now the Society of Professional Journalists), in 1939. Because Penn State did not note Nipson’s race on the nomination, Sigma Delta Chi did not recognize it had a colored member until 1946.
The first known colored Penn State Collegian newspaper reporter in 1936, Nipson would be selected assistant sports editor in 1939 and join the paper’s Managing Board. Nipson also lettered on the cross-country track team. In 1949 he was hired as Associate Editor of Ebony magazine, and was promoted to Executive Editor in 1972. He received the capitol Press Club’s outstanding journalist award in 1965, and – after 38 years and 456 issues of Ebony - retired in 1987.