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500 “Franklin's Men” Become the College's Newest Graduates and Future Leaders



(May 20, 2012) -- Four years of learning – in the classroom and through social activism – has prepared the 500 new graduates of Morehouse to become true Morehouse Men, valedictorian Jamaji Nwanaji-Enwerem said during the College’s 128th Commencement ceremony on the Century Campus.


“We are ready to become the next business tycoons, world health leaders, music moguls, fashion trendsetters, progressive research scientists, social advocates, etc.,” he said during his address to more than 10,000 family, friends, faculty and staff. “We are ready to make Morehouse proud.”


His proud mother and father were already in tears.


“It’s exhilarating,” said Jamaji’s father, Sir Pamaji Nwanaji-Enwerem as his wife, Lady Chioma, beamed. “I’m so happy and proud of him and all the students graduating with him. It’s an enjoyable day.”


The sun-splashed day was even more special as President Robert M. Franklin ’75 gave his final Commencement address as Morehouse president. Franklin is stepping down in 2012 to focus on his writing and research on issues facing black boys and men.


“It’s been my greatest privilege to lead my alma mater during these critical years,” he said. “Through the worst economy of our lifetime, a renaissance has taken hold. Producing Renaissance Men with a social conscience in a hip-hop culture is an audacious adventure that must continue.


“Our disappointments have been few; our triumphs and achievements many, but I thank God and we [he and First Lady Dr. Cheryl G. Franklin] thank you for the opportunity and privilege to serve and to give our best,” Franklin said. “I want to thank all of my dedicated staff and the entire campus community. Thank you for making these years special.”


He told the graduates – who dubbed themselves “Franklin’s Men” – they could only earn the crown of service that the College holds above their heads if they “make a difference…No crown until you pick a big problem and go out and solve it. Then and only then can you return as these Golden Tigers and alumni to show us that you deserve the crown.”


Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy joined Elaine Tuttle Hansen, executive director of Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, and Econet Wireless founder and chairman Strive Masiyiwa in receiving honorary Doctors of Humane Letters. Each had a bit of advice for the graduates.


“Take time, make time while clamoring to the top to stop and reflect,” Hansen told the graduates.


“Perhaps you will make money along the way, but I know something,” Masiyiwa said. “If you reach out to meet the needs, you will wear the crown that we so eloquently heard about this afternoon.”


Cathy’s advice was short and to the point.


“A good name is more desirable than A LOT OF MONEY,” yelled the millionaire businessman to laughs.

To see video and photo from Commencement/Reunion Weekend, go to http://www.morehouse.edu/commencement/index.html