Norman R. Seay (left) and Sister Mary Antona Ebo, will receive honorary degrees at UMSL commencement ceremonies Saturday for their lifelong commitment to racial equality and justice.

Nearly 600 graduates of the University of Missouri–St. Louis will bring home a coveted college diploma following commencement ceremonies Saturday.

Norman R. Seay and Sister Mary Antona Ebo, two African-American pioneers of the country’s civil rights struggle, will receive honorary degrees for their lifelong dedication to racial justice.

Seay, a civil rights leader in St. Louis during the 1950s and 1960s, sought to integrate St. Louis’ public institutions where blacks were systematically denied entry, service and jobs. He was a founding member of the Congress of Racial Equality and spent 90 days in jail in 1963 for his participation in protests seeking jobs for African-Americans in the city’s financial institutions. Seay directed UMSL’s Office of Equal Opportunity from 1987 to 2000.

Ebo made national news in 1965 in Selma, Ala., when she joined a group of clergy from St. Louis and participated in a march for voting rights for blacks in Alabama. Blocked by police from crossing a bridge, she told the national media why she chose to protest.

“I am here because I am a Negro, a nun, a Catholic and because I want to bear witness,” she said.

The march and Ebo’s role in it became the subject of the 2006 Public Broadcasting Service documentary “Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change.”

Three ceremonies will be held in the Mark Twain Athletic & Fitness Center on the university’s North Campus. Jazz performances featuring Chancellor Tom George; Tom Walker, dean of Division of Continuing Education; and UMSL students Charles Clements and Dustin Shapiro will be featured at the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ceremonies.

A. Greig Woodring, president, chief executive officer and a director of Reinsurance Group of America Inc., will speak at the 6 p.m. ceremony. RGA’s world headquarters are based in Chesterfield, Mo. The company has assets of more than $28.9 billion and offices around the world.

More information:
http://www.umsl.edu/commencement/

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Maureen Zegel

Maureen Zegel

Eye on UMSL: Building blocks
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Eye on UMSL: Building blocks

Members of the Spring 2024 graduating class of the University of Missouri–St. Louis play Jenga during the annual New Grad Bash on Thursday.

Eye on UMSL: Building blocks

Members of the Spring 2024 graduating class of the University of Missouri–St. Louis play Jenga during the annual New Grad Bash on Thursday.