The Lincoln University posthumously awards long-overdue honorary degree


— The Lincoln University posthumously awarded a long-overdue honorary degree to Charles Cecil Dennis, Jr. ’54 at the black-tie, Annual Homecoming Alumni Awards Banquet, Friday, Oct. 25..

“This is long overdue and only right,” said Dr. Robert R. Jennings, president of The Lincoln University. “Our Board of Trustees voted to honor this distinguished alumni more than 30 years ago.”

Dennis’ widow, Agnes Cooper Dennis, and other family members will be present to accept the honor.

The late-Dennis, Liberia’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs, was tragically executed during the Liberian Civil War only days prior to receiving the honorary degree along with the now late-Congressman William Gray, Dr. Lorraine Williams, then-Vice President at Howard University and Dr. David Morris, ’18, a distinguished physician and retired member of the Board of Trustees during Commencement Exercises in 1980.

In total, 13 Liberian officials were killed on April 22, 1980, including Dennis – the story recounted in “The House At Sugar Beach,” a memoir by Dennis’ cousin, Helene Cooper, and published by Simon & Schuster in 2008.

Dennis graduated from Lincoln in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Law degree from Georgetown University in 1957.

During his tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs, he represented then-Liberian President William R. Tolbert, Jr. at such meetings as the Afro-Arab Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Countries Movement, and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), currently known as the African Union (AU), the Joint Ministerial Meeting of the Arab League, as well as the Organization of African Unity for Afro-Arab Cooperation.

Dennis was a member of the several social organizations, including: the Free & Accepted Masons, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and was a founding member of the men’s social club, “Y- Go-Getters.”

The Alumni Awards Banquet will also honor other alumni with the Alumni Medal of Distinction, Alumni Service Award, Outstanding Young Alumni Award and the Director’s Choice Award.