UNO to Honor First African-American Students at Fall Commencement
The University of New Orleans will honor the University's first African-American students during the fall commencement ceremony which will take place at 3 p.m. on Dec. 20 in the Lakefront Arena.
In 1958 Louisiana State University New Orleans—later renamed the University of New Orleans—became the first public university in the South to open its doors as a fully integrated institution. The 55 African-American students who allowed this groundbreaking event to take place will be honored.
Additionally a ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 20 to dedicate the Louise Williams Arnolie Deck at the University Center. Arnolie was one of 55 African-American students who enrolled at the University when it opened and the first member of that group to graduate from UNO. She helped lead a successful effort to end segregation in the privately managed school cafeteria. The deck is a food court and dining area located within the University Center. A second plaque will list the names of all 55 African-American students who enrolled in 1958.
"Louise Arnolie's dignity and perseverance served as an example to all students and her courage continues to inspire future generations," said President Peter J. Fos. "Those brave first 55 students laid the groundwork for today's University of New Orleans, a diverse and inclusive community of higher learning."
Xavier University President Norman C. Francis will serve as the fall 2013 commencement speaker and the University will award an honorary doctorate to real estate developer and civic leader Pres Kabacoff.
The ceremony will be streamed live here.