Published: May 4, 2018

Colorado Senator Rhonda Fields provided an official state tribute Wednesday, May 2, in honor of Lucile Berkeley Buchanan. Never officially recognized during her lifetime, Buchanan was the first African American woman to graduate from CU.

For decades, the university’s official history erroneously stated the first black woman to graduate from CU earned her degree in 1924. However, Buchanan, who was barred from walking across the state to accept her degree, graduated in 1918.

Associate Professor Polly McLean has spent more than a decade uncovering Buchanan’s story, and will symbolically accept Buchanan’s degree, onstage, at commencement on May 10.

On Wednesday, senators and others, giving an official state recognition of the historical importance of Buchanan, spoke of her work and in her memory.