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Dr. Margaret Burroughs named commencement speaker

Founder of DuSable Museum of African American History to be conferred with Doctorate of Humane Letters at Jan. 22 ceremony

CHICAGO (Jan. 5, 2005) – Saint Xavier University has named Dr. Margaret Burroughs as this year’s winter commencement speaker. Speaking at the Jan. 22 ceremony, Burroughs will also be conferred by SXU with an honorary degree, the Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Saint Xavier University “chooses from time to time to award honorary degrees to those individuals whose values and accomplishments in their field of endeavor are consistent with the values and ideals espoused by the University,” according to the SXU Trusteeship Committee.

Burroughs is an artist, educator and the co-founder of the DuSable Museum of African-American History. She and her husband, Charles Burroughs, founded the museum in 1961 in order to educate the public about African-American art and culture, which had been overlooked by other museums. Today, it is the oldest institution of its kind in the country.

“We are honored to have Dr. Burroughs as this year’s commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient," said Saint Xavier President Judith A. Dwyer. "She has been a pioneer in bringing African-American art to the forefront, as well as being an accomplished artist and dedicated educator. I believe she will serve as an inspiration to our graduates."

Burroughs received her elementary teacher’s certificate from Chicago Normal College in 1937 and continued her education at Chicago Teachers College. Burroughs completed a bachelor’s degree in art education and master’s degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The School later awarded her an honorary doctorate in 1987.

Though Burroughs has worked in media like painting and sculpture, she is best known for her creations as a print maker. Her linoleum prints depicting images of African-American life have been displayed at Corcoran Art Galleries in Washington, D.C. and Studio Museum in New York. 

Burroughs has also authored and illustrated many books, including “What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black?” and “Jasper the Drummin’ Boy.” 

In addition to her artwork, Burroughs is also active in the Chicago community. She founded the South Side Community Art Center, which includes a gallery and workshop studio for artists and students. She is the originator and annual director of the Lake Meadows Outdoor Art Fair. Currently, Burroughs is serving as a commissioner to the Chicago Park District Board and as Chairman on the Committee on Programs and Recreation. 

Graduates and their families and friends are invited to a commencement liturgy hosted by Campus Ministry at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 22 in the McDonough Chapel on the Chicago Campus. Tickets are not required for guests. Graduates participating in the liturgy are asked to line up in their regalia at 10:45 a.m. For more information about the liturgy, please contact 773-298-3140.
The commencement ceremony will be held in the Shannon Center on the Chicago Campus, 3700 W. 103rd St. Parking is allocated on a first-come basis and car-pooling is encouraged. Handicapped parking will be available.

Doors will open one hour prior to the ceremony. Seating is general admission. Each student will receive four tickets. Children under four do not need tickets and may sit on an adult’s lap. 

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