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Press Release


Posted: February 25, 2008

Denver - Memorial services for Mrs. Rachel Bassette Noel, one of Denver’s most respected leaders, will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, March 2 at Shorter Community AME Church at 3100 Richard Allen Court in Denver. Mrs. Noel, 90, passed away Monday, Feb. 4, 2008 in Oakland, Calif.

Her eulogy will be delivered by Vincent Harding Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Religion and Social Transformation at the Iliff School of Theology.

Others scheduled to speak include Denver Mayor John W. Hickenlooper, former Denver Public Schools Board Member Ed Benton, Senators Regis Groff and Gloria Tanner, as well as Metropolitan State College of Denver President Stephen M. Jordan. Among the family members who will speak are Kathryn Sue Gavin and Phoebe Haddon. Jeneva McQueary, who co-chaired the Education Committee with Mrs. Noel at Shorter AME Church, will also speak.

Mrs. Noel was an outspoken advocate for equal opportunity for minority citizens and a true champion of equal access to education for all. She was the first African American elected to the DPS Board and the first African American woman ever to serve elected office in Colorado. The Noel Resolution, which she presented to the DPS Board in 1968, led to the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision to address school segregation in Denver with school busing. In 1976, Mrs. Noel was appointed to the University of Colorado Board of Regents; two years later, she was elected statewide to a six-year term.

An associate professor of sociology and African American studies for 11 years at Metropolitan State College of Denver, Mrs. Noel helped found the Department of African American Studies, which she chaired from 1971 to 1980. Upon her retirement, the College named Mrs. Noel an Associate Professor Emeritus. For more information on her legacy, go to

Mrs. Noel’s impact on Metro State will continue to endure through the Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship, which the College created in 1980 to honor her legacy at Metro State and in the Denver community. The professorship brings to the College renowned scholars and artists of distinction to conduct seminars, performances and lectures.

Written remembrances may be e-mailed to The family requests, in lieu of flowers, that contributions honoring Mrs. Noel and the Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship, payable to Metropolitan State College Foundation, Inc. and mailed to:

The Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship PO Box 17971 Denver, CO 80217-9812