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MOREHOUSE COLLEGE CELEBRATES ITS 127TH COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES

President’s First Renaissance Class Graduates
Sole-surviving Female Graduate From Morehouse to Attend Ceremony

ATLANTA, May 12, 2011- Four years ago, when he took the helm of the presidency, Robert M. Franklin stood before members of the Morehouse freshman class and challenged them, as Renaissance Men, to take their respective places in the world.

On Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 8 a.m. on the Century Campus, nearly 500 graduates will receive their degrees from Morehouse and begin to fulfill that challenge. The men who will graduate are the first to matriculate all four years under Franklin’s presidency. From the first day they walked on campus, they were told to embody the president’s Five Wells: well-spoken, well-read, well-traveled, well-dressed and well-balanced. They’ve studied hard, fulfilled their coursework, some have traveled abroad, and now all are poised to become Morehouse Men.

As they make that journey, they will hear messages from noted attorney, author and Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree, and award-winning journalist and moderator of PBS’s Washington Week Gwen Ifill. Both will receive honorary degrees and deliver the commencement address to the class. Also receiving honorary degrees are Billye Aaron, member of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees and wife of baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, and attorney Willie “Flash” Davis, chair of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees.

Among the graduates is CamronYarber, who will finish at the top of his class as valedictorian with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. There are two salutatorians this year, both with a cumulative 3.92 grade point average. They are Lemario Bland and Emmanuel Marish.

From 1929 to 1933 Morehouse College had 33 females enrolled as full-time students. The last of those women still living is Mary Cecilia Spivey, who graduated from Morehouse in 1933. Mrs. Spivey will attend the Commencement ceremony on May 15th and will receive a diploma to replace her original, which was stolen. Spivey said that being the only female student to attend daytime classes with men was just fine, “What I got from Morehouse I will never forget, she said. “Morehouse is a place that gave you drive.”

Spivey worked in the Atlanta Public School system focusing in the area of special education. She was named Teach of the Year while teaching at Jessie Mae Jones Elementary School. She still lives in Atlanta and is a resident of Cascade Heights.

The class of 2011 will be treated to its final spiritual service during Baccalaureate on Saturday, May 14, 2011, at 3 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. The speaker for Baccalaureate is The Reverend Dr. Frederick Douglas Haynes III, senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.

During the service, a special portrait will be unveiled honoring The Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York. Richardson’s portrait will join dozens of others in the International Hall of Honor in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. The Hall of Honor was initially established to celebrate preachers and presidents, but has been expanded to include persons of the 20th and 21st centuries who have made significant contributions to the civil and human rights nonviolence movement internationally.

Media Logistics:
Arrival/Parking: Suggested arrival time for working media is 7:15 a.m. Parking for media will be available during Commencement along Fair Street (eastbound from Euhrlee to Milton streets). Enter the Century Campus from the Fair Street gate, near Danforth Chapel.

Video/Still Photography: Credentialed photographers may approach the stage during the evocation, introduction of speakers, and the first three minutes of speeches.

Broadcast Media: Photographers wishing to get a clean audio feed may plug into the mult box stationed near the control panel between Hope and Sale halls. The mult box is not located central to the stage, so photographers will need to bring a wireless system for audio.


As the nation’s largest, private liberal arts college for men, Morehouse College was recently recognized as the number one liberal arts college in the nation by Washington Monthly; one of 45 “Best Buy” schools for 2011 by the Fiske Guide to Colleges; one of the nation’s Most Grueling Colleges in 2010 by The Huffington Post; the number three HBCU in the nation for 2011 by U.S. News and World Report; and as one of American’s Best Colleges for three consecutive years by Forbes magazine.

Prominent alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil and human rights non-violent leader; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the National Center for Primary Care of Morehouse School of Medicine; Shelton “Spike” Lee, filmmaker and president of 40 Acres & A Mule Productions; Samuel L. Jackson, Academy Award-nominated actor; Maynard H. Jackson, founder of Jackson Securities and the first African American mayor of Atlanta; and Nima A. Warfield, the first African American Rhodes Scholar from an HBCU.

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Posted by edurham at May 12, 2011 04:17 PM

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