Commencement 2024

Roy DeBerry ’70, GSAS MA’78, PhD’79

Roy DeBerryPhoto Credit: Chris Day

Doctor of Humane Letters

Civil rights activist Roy DeBerry ’70, GSAS MA’78, PhD’79, served as vice president for economic development and local governmental affairs, and executive vice president at Jackson State University, where he was also an associate professor.

In 1995, DeBerry and Aviva Futorian ’59 co-created The Hill Country Project, a nonprofit that records first-person stories told by residents of Benton County, Mississippi, and seeks to improve education, economic development, and community capacity building in the area.

Active in many community, civic, and professional organizations, DeBerry has received numerous awards. He has been a member of the board of directors for Jackson 2000, Youth Leadership Jackson, the West Jackson Community Development Corporation, the American Red Cross, the Jackson-Hinds Arts Alliance, Leadership Jackson, and the Jackson State University Sports Hall of Fame.

DeBerry is co-editor of “Voices From the Mississippi Hill Country: The Benton County Civil Rights Movement,” and co-author of “Dad-Daughter Dialogues: Conversations Across Generations and Cultures.”

At Brandeis, DeBerry earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, as well as a master’s and doctorate in political science. He received an Alumni Achievement Award in 2015.