Lucile Berkely BuchananThis scholarship honors Lucile Berkeley Buchanan, the first African American female graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, who earned a degree in German in 1918. Born in 1884 in a mule barn southwest of Denver, Buchanan was the daughter of emancipated Virginia slaves. She earned a teaching certificate in 1905 from the Colorado State College for Education at Greeley. After teaching for a decade, she studied for a year at the University of Chicago. Then she came to CU. So it was that in June 1918, she became the first black woman to earn a degree from CU. The moment was historic but sad; officials would not let her climb onstage to accept her diploma. Afterward, she taught in the Chicago Public School system. She retired in 1949 and returned to Denver and the home her father had built. She lived there until she was 103 and died in a nursing home two years later. After CU journalism Professor Polly McLean uncovered and researched much of Lucile’s story, sociology Professor Joanne Belknap gave $5,000 in 2006 to start the fundraising for an endowed scholarship to honor Lucile. Thanks to the generous donations of many of you, along with the efforts of dedicated students and faculty, the remaining $20,000 needed to establish the endowment was raised.

Meanwhile, the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures has established the Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Undergraduate Essay Prize. The prize honors the fact that Buchanan was a German major, and it carries a $300 prize for the best paper originally written for a CU German class.

The Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Scholarship was awarded for the first time in April 2010.


  • Student shall be a women and gender studies major with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Student shall be making normal progress toward their degree
  • Student shall have demonstrated a commitment toward social justice to be discussed in a one-page essay
  • Preference will be given to a student who is the first generation in their family to attend college (please note this in your essay). Award selection will be made by a Women and Gender Studies faculty committee.

This scholarship is awarded annually in the spring.

Scholarship recipients will be recognized during the WGST Commencement event in May and awards will be applied to the recipient’s fall tuition.

The award winner also receives a certificate.

Return to the main Scholarships page.

Lucile Berkeley Buchanan
Scholarship Winners:
Brittany Burton
Sarah McCullar
Cassandra Gonzalez
Teresa Boness
Katelyn Nagel
Amelia Trujillo
Jocelyne Becerra Garcia
Jacqueline Tillman