By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
Norfolk State University
Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim will deliver the commencement speech at the 2016 Spring Commencement at Norfolk State University on May 7 at the Norfolk Scope Arena. The processional will start at 9:30 a.m. Fraim has been on the Norfolk City Council for three decades and for 22 years of that tenure, he has served as the city’s mayor. Last year, Fraim, who is a lawyer, announced he would not seek another term.
Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University’s largest-ever graduating class will stride confidently across the stage at the Ted Constant Convocation Center at the University’s 124th Commencement exercises May 6 and 7. More than 3,000 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral graduates will receive words of wisdom from three commencement speakers, including a member of Congress; a retired CEO and mentor to young women; and an executive with Dominion Virginia Power. Rep. Rob Wittman, a Republican who represents Virginia’s First Congressional District, will speak at the 4 p.m. ceremony on Friday, May 6, for graduates of Old Dominion’s College of Arts & Letters.
Robert Blue, senior vice president for regulation, law, energy solutions and policy and president of Dominion Virginia Power, will address graduates of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, College of Sciences and College of Health Sciences in the 9 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 7. Joyce M. Roché, retired president and CEO of Girls Inc., will speak at 2 p.m. Saturday to graduates of the Strome College of Business and Darden College of Education. Honorary degrees will be bestowed on Roché and Marc Jacobson, retired judge of the Norfolk Circuit Court and former rector of Old Dominion University’s Board of Visitors.
On May 8 at Hampton University, author and political analyst Dr. Michael Eric Dyson will serve as the school’s 146th Commencement speaker. Commencement will be held at Armstrong Stadium at 10 a.m. Dr. Dyson was named by Essence magazine as one of the 50 most inspiring African-Americans in the nation. He is one of the nation’s most renowned public intellectuals, and he has revitalized the title with the fervor of an ordained Baptist minister. Called “a street fighter in a suit and tie,” he takes on the toughest and most controversial issues of the day, including race, politics and pop culture, with his fearless and fiery rhetoric. An MSNBC political analyst and former host of NPR’s “The Michael Eric Dyson Show,” Dyson is also a best-selling and award-winning author.
Virginia Union University
Virginia Union University’s annual Commencement ceremony will be May 7, at Hovey Field, beginning at 10 a.m. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, the first African-American elected to Congress from Virginia since Reconstruction, and the second African-American elected to Congress in Virginia’s history, will be the keynote speaker. Congressman Scott is a Newport News, Virginia native who got his start practicing law in his hometown from 1973 to 1991. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia. Scott assumed office of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s 3rd district in 1993. He is the Ranking Member on the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Elizabeth City State University
Bakari Sellers will be the Commencement speaker at Elizabeth City State University’s (ESCU) May 14 at 9 a.m. in Roebuck Stadium. Sellers, a CNN contributor, made history in 2006 when, at just 22-years-old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African-American elected official in the nation.
Christopher Newport University
Dr. Christopher Howard, President of Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania, a Rhodes scholar and recipient of the Bronze Star for his military service in Afghanistan, will be the keynote speaker at Christopher Newport University’s Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 14, 2016.
Prior to becoming president at Robert Morris, he was president of Hampden-Sydney College, and served as vice president for leadership and strategic initiatives and director of the Honors College Leadership Center at the University of Oklahoma.
Virginia State University
Virginia State Delegate Lashrecse Aird, a 2008 graduate of Virginia State University, (VSU) will deliver the keynote address at the school’s 2016 Spring Commencement May 15th.
VSU expects approximately 700 graduates to participate in the exercises, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Richmond Coliseum.
Aird was elected November 2015 to represent the 63rd District, which includes all of the City of Petersburg, parts of the City of Hopewell, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George County. She holds the special distinction of being the youngest woman ever elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.