Civil rights leader Myrlie Evers-Williams has told graduates at the University of Mississippi to "soar, and be free."
She spoke Saturday during a commencement ceremony on the university's main campus in Oxford.
Evers-Williams told graduates to work not only for themselves but also for the betterment of Mississippi and all mankind.
She was presented with the University of Mississippi Humanitarian Award. This was only the third time the award has been given.
Evers-Williams' first husband, Medgar Evers, was denied admission to the University of Mississippi law school in 1954, when the state's education system was still segregated. He worked as field secretary of the Mississippi NAACP and was assassinated outside the family's Jackson home in June 1963.
Evers-Williams was national chairwoman of the NAACP from 1995 to 1998.