Auburn University to Present Honorary Degree to First Black Student

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noteworthy news: Auburn University to Present Honorary Degree to First Black Student

AUBURN, ALA.

Harold A. Franklin, who in 1964 became the first African American student to enroll at Auburn University, returned to the campus earlier this month to receive an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the university during the spring commencement exercises.

The honorary degree completed a 37-year journey for the now-retired educator, whose admission to graduate study at Auburn marked the end of racial segregation of the university. He was selected for the honor by the AU Board of Trustees at the request of the university's faculty senate, the Auburn Black Student Caucus, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the AU president's office and others.

"There is a wide consensus among Auburn constituencies that Mr. Franklin was a very influential person in Auburn's history, and many people want to recognize him for his courage and the example he set in bringing about the peaceful integration of this university," says interim AU President William Walker. "Thousands of African Americans have earned degrees from Auburn since Harold Franklin entered, and all our students have benefited from the changes that he made possible."

AU Trustee Byron Franklin is not related to the honorary degree recipient but considers Harold Franklin a personal and university hero. …