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President Barack Obama to Deliver 2013 Morehouse College Commencement Speech


ATLANTA, February 19, 2013 - President Barack Obama will deliver the Commencement address during the 129th Commencement exercise on May 19, 2013.  

Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. made the announcement during the 25th annual “A Candle in the Dark” Gala on Saturday, February 16.  The Gala is the college’s largest fundraiser.

In a statement released to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the White House affirmed the announcement:

“The President is honored to deliver the commencement address to the graduating class of Morehouse College this spring.  Morehouse College, one of the nation’s leading Historical Black Colleges and Universities, is among the best and brightest institutions of higher education in the country.  Known for its high standard for excellence in learning and social consciousness, Morehouse is home to a long list of notable alumni that spans the last three centuries.”

The White House informed Wilson, who is a 1979 graduate of Morehouse, of their decision.  Wilson returns to Morehouse from the Obama administration where he served as the executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs during Obama’s first term.  Upon his return to the College, Obama said, “John has been a trusted voice, helping my administration follow through on our commitment to strengthen historically black colleges and universities.  I wish John the best as he takes on this important new role as the president of Morehouse College and as he continues to inspire more of our nation's youth to pursue higher education."

The announcement comes just three weeks after Wilson took the helm of his alma mater and he said the timing couldn’t be any better.

“It was an honor and a privilege to serve the nation, President Obama, and HBCUs. We are honored and privileged to have President Obama deliver the Commencement address at Morehouse this year,” said Wilson, who is the 11th President of Morehouse College. “It is fitting that the President will visit the alma mater of Martin Luther King Jr. during the 50th anniversary year of his iconic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.  President Obama’s life story trumpets an ethic that we try to instill in all Morehouse men, namely excellence without apology or compromise,” he said.

Morehouse College was founded in 1867 and celebrates a huge milestone in 2013.  The year marks the 100th anniversary of the name change from Augusta Baptist College to Morehouse College in 1913. 


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.