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A graduation, 55 years after integration

One of the first black students to attend the University of North Texas will graduate on Saturday.
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A lot has changed in a University of North Texas student's 55-year journey to graduation.

Burlyce Logan, who will don her cap and gown on Saturday, was one of 11 black students to integrate UNT.

But while the university’s doors were open, she learned at orientation that their hearts weren’t, as the signs of students who were protesting the end of segregation showed.

"Nigga go home, pigs before nigs, burheads go home, go back to Africa — I had never heard those things before, you know?" she said.

Just walking to class was a challenge.

Logan said she had, "rocks thrown at me and being shoved in the street and being talked to like a dog."

The final straw was the faculty, which didn’t seem to want her in school any more than most of the all-white student body.

She received failing grades in courses she knew she was passing.

"Everybody was F's and D's, and I knew I could do the work," Logan said. "I knew I was good in English, and she gave me an F."

Finally, after "two years of hell," Logan left UNT and North Texas.

She moved to California, married and had three children before beginning a journey that would take her to several other states.

"I had to move forward," she said. "You can’t hold old grudges and move forward."

While she had let her experiences at UNT go, Logan never forgot about her desire to get a college diploma.

In 1997, Logan told her husband she wanted to get her degree and she wanted it from UNT, but the couple was living in Oregon at the time.

Shortly after 9/11, she landed a job at UNT and re-enrolled in classes.

On Saturday, she will graduate with a 3.1 grade point average and a bachelor's degree in public affairs and community service.

There are some new buildings from when Logan originally enrolled as a freshman in 1956. While UNT is the same campus, it’s just different world now.

Logan's enthusiasm for learning is so great that even at 73 years old, she’ll be back next semester.

"I’m going back for my master's," she said. "Here I am. Not here I come, but here I am."

Logan is the third of the 11 black students who enrolled in 1956 to receive a degree from UNT. The university’s president plans to recognize Logan publicly during commencement.