CNN’s Van Jones Tells Newest Morehouse Men They Must Lead in This New Era

Date Released: May 21, 2017


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The newest group of Morehouse Men must lead the charge of a new, post-Obama era, CNN political analyst Van Jones told the Class of 2017 during Morehouse College’s 133rd Commencement ceremony Sunday.

“You graduate as the first Morehouse Men to confront a radically new era,” he said. “For you, having a president who looked like you was no big deal. 

“In order for you now to make the contribution you are called to make, you have to both look backward and forward,” Jones added.  “Now, begins a new era, and you leave here with a new set of opportunities and obligations.”

Jones addressed the Class of 2017 in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel as heavy rain forced Morehouse officials to move the Commencement ceremony indoors from the College’s usual Commencement site, the historic Century Campus.

But Morehouse’s traditional pomp and circumstance, boosted by this being the College’s 150th Anniversary year, was on full display as African drummers led the graduates into King Chapel to begin the ceremony.

Shortly after, the Morehouse Torch of Excellence, lit three days ago at Augusta’s Springfield Baptist Church where the College was founded in 1867, was carried into King Chapel by track and field legend Edwin Moses ’78.

Four former chairmen of the Morehouse Board of Trustees were honored – Robert C. Davidson Jr. ’67, the Rev. Otis Moss Jr. ’56, Willie “Flash” Davis ’56, and James Hudson ’61.

Macebearer Tobe Johnson ’54, the chairman of the College’s political science department who is retiring after nearly 60 years at Morehouse, was presented the Vulcan Materials Company Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The College’s two valedictorians – Douglas Alexander Bowen and Michael Christopher Scott – urged their classmates to change the world.

“To ameliorate the contentious atmosphere of wider society, we have declared now, more than ever, that unity is needed,” Bowen said.

“We remember that our journey through this house is not in vain,” Scott added.

United Negro College Fund President and CEO Michael Lomax ’68 delivered a tribute in honor of the 50th anniversary of the College’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

Jones then told the soon-to-be graduates that there are four power centers – Washington, D.C., Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Hollywood – that they need to conquer.

“But you have something that millionaires and billionaires… don’t have,” he said.  “You have each other.  You have a power network that is about to leave here and change the world. That’s what happened because you came to Morehouse.”

Interim President Bill Taggart charged the Class of 2017 to take what they’ve learned and be of service to others as they became change agents in their respective fields of study.

“We charge you to hold out a bright beacon of light so that your brother or sister, who is lost at sea, may find their way back home,” he said.  “Through the trials and tribulations of life, Mother Morehouse and her teachings will always be your safe haven.”

Watch the video replay of Commencement on

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

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