The Lincoln University Posthumously Awards Long-Overdue Honorary Degree

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – The Lincoln University will posthumously award a long-overdue honorary degree to Charles Cecil Dennis, Jr. ’54 at the black-tie, Annual Homecoming Alumni Awards Banquet, Friday, Oct. 25 in the SUB Multipurpose Room.

Charles Cecil Dennis, Jr. ’54

“This is long overdue and only right,” said Dr. Robert R. Jennings, president of The Lincoln University.  “Our Board of Trustees voted to honor this distinguished alumni more than 30 years ago.”

Dennis’ widow, Agnes Cooper Dennis, and other family members will be present to accept the honor.

The late-Dennis, Liberia’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs, was tragically executed during the Liberian Civil War only days prior to receiving the honorary degree along with the now late-Congressman William Gray, Dr. Lorraine Williams, then-Vice President at Howard University and Dr. David Morris, ’18, a distinguished physician and retired member of the Board of Trustees during Commencement Exercises in 1980.

In total, 13 Liberian officials were killed on April 22, 1980, including Dennis – the story recounted in “The House At Sugar Beach,” a memoir by Dennis’ cousin, Helene Cooper, and published by Simon & Schuster in 2008.

Dennis graduated from Lincoln in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Law degree from Georgetown University in 1957.

During his tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs, he represented then-Liberian President William R. Tolbert, Jr. at such meetings as the Afro-Arab Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Countries Movement, and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), currently known as the African Union (AU), the Joint Ministerial Meeting of the Arab League, as well as the Organization of African Unity for Afro-Arab Cooperation.

Dennis was a member of the several social organizations, including: the Free & Accepted Masons, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and was a founding member of the men’s social club, “Y- Go-Getters.”

The Alumni Awards Banquet will also honor other alumni with the Alumni Medal of Distinction, Alumni Service Award, Outstanding Young Alumni Award and the Director’s Choice Award.

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Founded in 1854, The Lincoln University (PA) is the FIRST of four Lincoln Universities in the world and is the nation’s FIRST degree-granting Historically Black College and University (HBCU).  The University combines the elements of a liberal arts and science-based undergraduate curriculum along with select graduate programs to meet the needs of those living in a highly-technological and global society.  Today, Lincoln, which enrolls a diverse student body of approximately 2,000 men and women, possesses an international reputation for preparing and producing world class leaders such as Thurgood Marshall, the FIRST African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Lillian Fishburne, the FIRST African American woman promoted to Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, Langston Hughes, the noted poet, Kwame Nkrumah, the FIRST President of Ghana, Nnamdi Azikiwe, the FIRST President of Nigeria and a myriad of others. 


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