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Endless Possibilities Await the Class of 2009, says Political Commentator Jamal Simmons ’93

By ADD SEYMOUR JR.

Summer Commencement is now available to watch online.

(July 18, 2009) -- A new era in which an African American is president and many of the world’s most influential people are black raises the bar of promise for the newest group of Morehouse graduates, political commentator Jamal Simmons ’93 told the class of 2009 during Summer Commencement.

“You are the first generation of black men to graduate from this college, or any college, in a world where anything you imagine to be is possible in your life,” he said during the July 18 ceremony in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. “Your generation is number one and that puts an incredible responsibility on you.”

The 62 Summer graduates joined the 440 Morehouse men who graduated during the May commencement ceremony in forming the class of 2009.

Approximately 1,500 people – most of them smiling and cheering family members of the newest Morehouse Men – stood and applauded as Simmons gave the graduates tidbits of advice about succeeding in life, including being inclusive, tolerant, true to their passions, and to “get a crew and keep them close.”

Of his many experiences, from dancing in South Africa when Nelson Mandela became president to walking the lands of the Middle East, “There is no place I have learned more than I did at Morehouse College,” he said. “It was Morehouse where I became a man.”

The graduates began the day in the heart of campus where faculty, administrators and four African drummers led them in a stirring processional to the Chapel on a spectacularly beautiful, sun-splashed day.

“And the world proclaimed, ‘They are ready; they are ready. Let them enter for the crowning,’” Dr. Anne W. Watts, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, told the audience.

Once inside, Attorney Willie “Flash” Davis ’58, chairman of the Morehouse Board of Trustees, told the graduates that the world expects much of them.

“They expect you to do the impossible sometimes,” he said. “But being a Morehouse Man, the impossible just takes a little extra time to do.”

In his charge to the graduates, President Robert M. Franklin Jr. ’75 said that even though the bar has been set high for them, they have been well-trained to surpass their goals.

“Always remember you are not regular men,” he said. “You are Morehouse Men…Up, you mighty men of Morehouse! Go forth and change the world!”

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