A Gift of Love: A Celebration of the Life of Almetris Marsh Duren, 1910-2000

"I leave you love, hope and the challenge of developing confidence in one another; I leave you a thirst for education, respect for the use of power, faith and racial dignity; I leave you a desire to live harmoniously with your fellow men and a responsibility to our young people."

--Almetris Duren quoted Mary McLeod Bethune in her letter of resignation advising the University of its obligations to students.

Almetris Marsh Duren

Mrs. Duren helped establish the University’s first minority recruitment program, Project Info and started the Innervisions of Blackness Choir. In 1978, she received the Margaret C. Berry Award for outstanding contributions to student life at The University of Texas. UT President Lorene Rogers awarded her the 1979 Presidential Citation for outstanding service. She received the Distinguished Service Award from the Southwest Association of College and University Housing Officers in 1980. Her friends granted her Texas Exes Life Membership – No. 10710. She was also presented with a key to the City of Austin. To this day, "Mama Duren" is given highest honors and thanks by the generations of students to whom she served as mentor and friend.

Almetris Duren assembled a sizable archive documenting the problems and issues faced by Black students at UT from 1950-1980, crucial decades of change. This is available to students, faculty, staff, and the general public, for research at the UT Center for American History located in SRH Unit 2.

Students demonstrating, 1969  

(left) Students demonstrate in 1969, demanding improvements in all aspects of student life from the UT administration.

1983 Nowotny Medal Recipients

(above) Receiving the first Nowotny Medals in 1983, given to those who made outstanding contributions to UT student life, were from left to right: Almetris Duren, student development specialist for minority students from 1968-1981; Margaret Peck, former dean of women, on the staff from 1930-1970; Jack Holland, former dean of students and dean of men on the staff from 1937 to 1974; Dorothy Gebauer, former dean of women, on the staff from 1927-1962; Margaret Berry, former associate dean of students and associate dean of women, on the staff from 1962 to 1980, and Helen Flinn, former associate dean of women on the staff from from 1936 to 1964.

  "A Gift of Love"  
Project Info. Poster

(left) Mrs. Duren helped establish Project Info, the University’s first minority recruitment program.

Almetris Duren's Book, 1979

(right) Almetris Duren’s book, published in 1979, relates events in the fight for campus integration from the Heman Sweatt case to the removal of barriers to Blacks in admissions, housing, and athletics.

  Innervisions of Blackness Choir

Innervisions of Blackness Choir


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