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Honorary Doctorates Awarded to Minorities

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charlesCharles W. Toney, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service
1975

The first African American student to attend St. Ambrose in 1932, he spent his life preaching, practicing and enforcing the gospel of social justice, equality and civil rights. He rose from the first black welder in a John Deere factory to the first black John Deere senior executive as Director of Affirmative Action.

With too many recognitions and honors to be recorded here, however, he is recognized in a permanent exhibit at the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids and was inducted into the Iowa African American Hall of Fame for his pioneering mission to raise a greater degree of inter-racial and inter-cultural understanding and appreciation, and that equal opportunity would become a reality for all people.

gwen brooksGwendolyn Brooks, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humanities
1990

One of the most prolific and respected of America's writers had proven herself a major force within the American artistic tradition, enriching black, white and other cultures with her revealing and challenging writings. She became the first black writer to receive the coveted Pulitzer Prize for her poetry writings of 1950. She was also Illinois' Poet Laureat in 1968.

Her 50+ year career includes numerous testimonials and recognitions on her behalf; perhaps the most significant being the Frost Medal, the highest honor the Poetry Society of America can bestow on one of its own.

shenShen Tong, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service
1991

As a 20-year-old, he was at the center of the student pro-democracy movement which culminated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre where he led a brilliant, passionate and unbending stance in behalf of freedom and democracy for the citizens of China.

As an ardent advocate of nonviolence and in an effort to keep alive the flame of hope, Shen wrote a book, Almost A Revolution, an insider's record of the ideals of the rebellion in his homeland.

andrewAndrew Young, Jr., Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service
1992

Mr. Young was awarded in recognition of a lifetime of dedication in helping others to better their own lives and to become involved in solving the world's problems.

Motivated by and well-educated in his Christian beliefs, Young has served many posts:

  • pastor
  • Associate Director of the Department of Youth Work for the National Council of Churches
  • top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • U.S. Congressman
  • US Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Mayor of the City of Atlanta.

Too many recognitions and honors to account here, but he has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award. He has received more than 35 honorary degrees and the French Legion d'Honneur Award.
Read a brief biography

lamettaLametta K. Wynn, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service
1999

Wynn was the first female African American mayor in Clinton, Iowa. As a result, she has created a legacy of public service in her commitment to the citizens and especially the students of Iowa. Her positive and progressive leadership has made impact in many areas, but her commitment to learning is a high reason for her honorary recognition.

Her longtime involvement in school board work has helped make quality education a reality for all students. She has been a pioneer in Iowa educational and governmental leadership.

michaelMichael Cervantes, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service
2000

Awarded in recognition of his devotion to the enrichment of the people of the Quad Cites and the larger Midwest regional area.

Cervantes is a founding member of the Quad Cities Mexican American Organization and was also in leadership roles in various other civic, church and community organizations including, but not limited to the following: St. Mary's Parish Council, QC Times Plus 60 Club Board and earned recognition / distinction for his service during WW II with General Patton's Third Army.

idaIda Johnson, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service
2003


In recognition of her over 40 years of public service to those in need.

As the founder of the inner-city service program United Neighbors, she provided leadership and an unwavering commitment to individuals, families, civic, and community organizations toward realizing community betterment.

leonard

Leonard Cervantes, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law
2005


Awarded in recognition of his many years of dedication to the cause of law and justice, youth development and civil rights.

He has provided able leadership in the Quad Cities and in his now-home base and law firm home of St. Louis.

He serves on many leadership boards and community initiatives including, but not limited to, the following: St. Ambrose University Board of Trustees and the Lawyers Association of St. Louis.

clydeClyde Mayfield, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters
2008

Awarded in recognition of his advocacy of education and youth in the Quad Cities.

Having served on the Davenport Community Schools District Board for several years, one of the first black firefighters of City of Davenport, small business owner in the central inner-city neighborhood, and serving on many civic and community service, development and civil rights organizations, shows his lifetime commitment to community and service.

sister barbara mooreSr. Barbara J. Moore, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters
2013

In recognition of her remarkable life and career as a civil rights activist, nurse, and educator.

Sr. Barbara has spent her adult life working for the poor and disadvantaged while also advancing the causes of healthcare and healthcare education. She serves as director on numerous boards and organizations.

Read her bio here.