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Honoring the Little Rock Nine

Minnijean Brown Trickey, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Thelma Mothershed Wair, Melba Patillo Beals, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Terrence Roberts and Jefferson Thomas

They were nine African-American teens who in 1957 wanted to go to the best high school, the all-white Central High, in Little Rock, Ark. It took an order from President Dwight Eisenhower and the protection of the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne to get them inside. These nine heroes were willing to step forward and in doing so, altered the course of history.

The Little Rock Nine won the Congressional Gold Medal for their courageous nonviolent effort to integrate Arkansas’ segregated public school system. For their bravery and commitment to expanding educational access to all who want to learn, Marquette will confer the Père Marquette Discovery Award on the Little Rock Nine on Feb. 9, 2010.

The Père Marquette Discovery Award honors those who achieve an extraordinary breakthrough that adds to human knowledge or the advancement of humanity. Named to honor the spirit of the discoveries of the university’s namesake, the award has been presented only four times in Marquette’s history: Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu (2003); Mother Teresa (1981); Rev. Karl Rahner, S.J. (1979); and the Apollo 11 Astronauts (1969).

Join us at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, for the conferral ceremony in the Varsity Theatre. For information, visit

The appearance of the Little Rock Nine extends the Centennial Celebration of Women at Marquette. For a list of upcoming centennial events visit


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