Colorado University corrects history, awards diploma for first black woman to graduate

CU didn't want to recognize her when she graduated 100 years ago - so the university did what they could to set that moment right on Thursday by formally issuing Lucile Berkeley Buchanan her Bachelor of Arts degree.

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By Noel Brennan,

On graduation day, there are two givens: pomp and circumstance. If she could choose between the two, Polly McLean would lose the pomp.

“I’ve never been to my three graduations,” McLean said to the colleague helping her with her gown. “B.A., M.A., Ph.D. I was always – something happened or somewhere else.”

McLean finished getting ready in the gown room overlooking Folsom Field at CU Boulder. She may have savored that moment backstage because soon, she’d be front and center.

“Thank you for reminding me!” McLean laughed.


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