07/29/2010 11:31 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mary Price Walls To Receive College Degree 60 Years After Being Denied Entry To Missouri State University: WATCH

Sixty years ago, Mary Price Walls became the first black student to apply to Missouri State University.

She never heard back. The salutatorian of her high school class, she went on to work as an elevator operator and a janitor. "I would have made a wonderful school teacher," Walls told ABC News.

Ozarks Public Radio reports that Walls was "essentially denied admission" from Missouri State. ABC News attributes the denial to racial segregation.

This week, Missouri State will bestow Price with an honorary undergraduate degree -- the first in its history.

WATCH: ABC News' full report: