Arthur Tolson, a longtime history professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge, died Wednesday at the age of 91.

Arrangements are pending, according to the university.

“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,” Southern University system President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton said in a statement. “His legacy of teaching and commitment remains an exemplary model for others.”

Tolson taught at Southern for 45 years. He was the son of Melvin Tolson, a poet and educator who was the subject of the 2007 film “The Great Debaters.”

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

Tolson was the first black student to obtain a master’s degree in history from Oklahoma State University and a doctorate in history from the University of Oklahoma, according to Southern’s news release.