Never officially recognized during her lifetime, Lucile Berkeley Buchanan, the first African American woman to graduate from the university, will be posthumously honored this spring.
On April 4, CU Boulder Associate Professor of Media Studies Polly McLean will give the first Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Lecture. McClean spent more than a decade exhuming Buchanan’s story and finally correcting the university’s official history, which erroneously stated the first black woman to graduate from CU earned her degree in 1924—when, in fact, Buchanan, graduated from CU in 1918.
Later this spring, McLean’s book Remembering Lucile: A Virginia Family’s Rise from Slavery and a Legacy Forged a Mile High will be published. And at the May commencement, McLean will accept Buchanan's diploma and the recognition officially withheld for a century, a move Chancellor Philip DiStefano has called “long overdue.”