Invest In American Education Said Morehouse Commencement Speaker Strive Masiyiwa

Date Released: May 15, 2016

By ADD SEYMOUR JR. and SHANDRA HILL SMITH

While Dr. Strive Masiyiwa continues to fund the education of thousands of African students, the 132ndMorehouse Commencement speaker told nearly 6,000 people gathered to watch the class of 2016 graduate Sunday that America must make the same investment in students.

“I’ve been really concerned that there are so many young Americans for whom the cost of a college education is prohibitive,” he said.  “Surely this should not be so. This is America, my dear friends.  I say this with all the humility and love of a friend – lets us fix this problem.”

His message of investment in the future was just one of many that lifted the more than 380 young men graduating on a sunny, but chilly morning on the College’s Century Campus.

Led by African drummers, they first processed through a corridor of applauding alumni and faculty members before winding their way onto the green lawn as family and friends shouted, cried and cheered.

Leading the way was Liam Davis, Ian Niemeyer and Willie Thompson, the College’s three valedictorians, a first for Morehouse.

“It’s a bit of a surprise, but not totally,” said Davis’ father, Stewart Davis.  “But not totally unexpected because I know he’s worked hard; he’s applied himself.  It’s been a wonderful experience and he’s totally enjoyed it.”

Niemeyer told his classmates that Morehouse has given each of them a stronger vision of who they can become.

“It is through this journey that Morehouse has opened our eyes to our own potential and opened our eyes to what is possible,” he said during his valedictory speech.  “We have become men of agency, men who can stand at the frontier of any industry and declare, ‘This is our house!’”

Tsitsi Masiyiwa, the commencement speaker’s wife and co-founder and chair of the Higherlife Foundation, was presented an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for her work in continuing to support the orphaned and vulnerable African children with a focus on education, healthcare and technology.

The Higherlife Foundation also funded the Morehouse education of the 10-member initial class of the Andrew Young International Scholars.  Nine graduated Sunday – including 2016 international Rhodes Scholar Prince Abudu – while the tenth is in a five-year dual degree program and graduates next year.

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Abudu is like many other members of the class of 2016 who will next head to graduate school.  Thompson and salutatorian Rami Blair are Fulbright Scholars and will be going to Taiwan and the West Indies respectively to work and do research.  Some are headed to Wall Street and others will teach.

But all of them should know that the world needs them to dream big in order to change the world, said Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79.

“I charge each of you to dream big and selfless dreams,” Wilson said.  “We need you to do that because it is still true because a better Morehouse can make better men; and better men can make a better world; and a better world will put a smile on the face of God.”


Last Modified: March 29, 2017, 13:03 PM, by: Synera Shelton

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