Terrence Roberts, one of the “Little Rock Nine” — the group of brave black students who sought desegregation of public schools in the late 1950s — will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree next week at CSU San Marcos.
The doctorate of humane letters will be presented at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, at the University Student Union Ballroom by CSU Trustee Debra Farar.Following the conferral, Roberts will share his “Lessons from Little Rock” to an audience of 1,000 students and community members, with a book signing immediately after. Tickets for his talk are still available at www.csusm.edu/al. General admission is $10.
Roberts and eight others were chosen for the historic moment in civil rights based on excellent grades and attendance. Terrence was 15 when he helped change history by being one of the first black students to attend classes in 1957 at the previously all-white Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas.
“Terrence Roberts is quite clearly an example of the principles that we are teaching at Cal State San Marcos,” said CSUSM President Karen Haynes. “He embodies our ideals of thinking beyond self and contributing to society in ways that make it more just and equitable. He has made sacrifices beyond what any of us can imagine and has held true to his values and maintained his integrity during great periods of adversity.”
Roberts is a California State University alumnus, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from CSU Los Angeles in 1967. He later went on to earn his master’s degree in social welfare from UCLA and obtain his doctorate in psychology from Southern Illinois University.
For more than 30 years, Roberts has led a successful career as a university professor and practicing clinical psychologist. In 1999 President Bill Clinton awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to Roberts and the members of the Little Rock Nine.
Honorary degree recipients are selected by a campus committee of faculty and staff from recommendations made by CSUSM students, faculty, staff, alumni and the greater community. The committee then forwards nominations to the president for approval and then to the Chancellor of the California State University system.
The CSU Board of Trustees makes the final determination and awards the degrees in the categories it considers most appropriate. Honorary degree recipients have demonstrated excellence in areas that benefit humanity, CSU campuses, the state, nation and/or world, and serve as examples to be recognized and honored for their good works.
All honorary degrees awarded by CSUSM are conferred by the Board of Trustees of the California State University in the name of CSUSM and the California State University.
— From a CSU San Marcos news release
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