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CSU San Marcos Honors Former Little Rock Nine Student

Fifteen-year-old Terrence Roberts (right) is denied entrance to Little Rock C...

Credit: CSU San Marcos

Above: Fifteen-year-old Terrence Roberts (right) is denied entrance to Little Rock Central High School by the National Guard in 1957.

CSU San Marcos bestowed an honorary doctorate Tuesday on one of the black students who helped integrate Little Rock schools in the 1950s.

Terrence Roberts, a Pasadena-based psychologist, received the Doctorate of Humane Letters following a speech in the University Student Union ballroom on his perspective of social justice. California State University Trustee Debra Farar presented the award.

Photo by CSU San Marcos

Terrence Roberts, a Pasadena-based psychologist who was among the first black students to attend Little Rock Central High School in 1957, received a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Cal State University San Marcos on April 22, 2014.

Roberts, at age 15, became one of the "Little Rock Nine'' -- the first black students to attend Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Roberts and the eight others were selected for their excellent grades and attendance.

Cal State San Marcos President Karen Haynes said Roberts is an example of the principles being taught at the university.

"He embodies our ideals of thinking beyond self and contributing to society in ways that make it more just and equitable,'' Haynes said. "He has made sacrifices beyond what any of us can imagine and has held true to his values and maintained his integrity during great periods of adversity.''

The admission of Roberts and the other blacks into the high school led to a standoff between the federal government and the governor of Arkansas, who deployed the National Guard in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent their entry onto the campus. The Little Rock Nine were escorted by members of the Army's 101st Airborne Division for the rest of the school year.

Roberts went on to graduate from Cal State Los Angeles, receive his master's in social welfare from UCLA and obtain a doctorate in psychology from Southern Illinois University.

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