Date Released: April 24, 2017

By D. Aileen Dodd


Van Jones, a CNN political correspondent and former White House policy adviser to President Barack Obama, will be guest speaker for Morehouse College’s 133rd Commencement Ceremony.

Jones is the host of The Messy Truth, a popular town hall political series on CNN. His work as green jobs adviser to President Obama in 2009 spurred the growth of a skilled workforce in the nation’s environmental and green energy sectors. Jones helped to lead the inter-agency process that oversaw $80 billion in green energy skills training and economic recovery spending.

Jones will deliver the keynote address at Morehouse College’s Commencement Exercises at 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 21, at Century Campus, the esteemed campus green that lies in the shadow of the historic Graves Hall, Morehouse College’s oldest building. More than 300 members of the Class of 2017 will receive degrees on Graduation Day. 

“As Morehouse College celebrates its 150th year of serving scholars, we are honored to have Van Jones, a world-renowned journalist, political insider, and best-selling author as our graduation speaker,” said Morehouse College Interim President Bill Taggart. “At Morehouse, we groom scholars to become change-agents in business and government, in math and science, and in the arts.

“Our students not only grow intellectually, they also grow in their understanding of their responsibility to serve their communities,” Taggart added. “Van Jones’ work in social justice and the environment will inspire our students to become servant leaders in their careers.”

Jones, who has a law degree from Yale University, is currently a fellow at the MIT Media Lab. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy, an examination of the environmentally friendly jobs market, and Rebuild the Dream, which traces his journey as an activist to his role at the White House.

Jones is the founder and president of the national organization Dream Corps, an incubator, platform, and home for innovative initiatives that close prison doors and open opportunities to some of the most economically disadvantaged populations in the country. Dream Corps’ programs #YesWeCode, #cut50 and Green For All are helping to bring jobs and training programs to low-income youth and their communities.

For his work as an environmental and human rights activist, Jones has received numerous recognitions and awards, including The World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation; an NAACP Image Award; Rolling Stone magazine’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done” list honoree; and TIME magazine’s 2009 “100 Most Influential People in The World list honoree,” among other accolades.

Jones is a role model for the Class of 2017, said Demarius Brinkley, president of the Senior Class Council.

“We are honored to have Van Jones, an environmental leader, and former adviser to President Obama, speak at graduation,” Brinkley said. “It is appropriate and timely to pause during our celebration for graduating scholars to welcome a voice that will allow us to reflect on the political, social, and economic climates and assess how we are able to, in our respective areas of work, improve and advance global communities as world-defining leaders.”

Commencement exercises will end a festive week honoring the rich traditions of Morehouse College during its Sesquicentennial Anniversary.

Between May 19-21, the Golden Tiger Anniversary Class of 1967 will celebrate its 50th anniversary and host activities for returning alumni. The Silver Tiger Anniversary Class of 1992 will celebrate its 25th anniversary and host activities for returning alumni. The Class of 2012 will observe its five-year anniversary.

Last Modified: June 8, 2017, 13:06 PM, by: Synera Shelton

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