Good news for Spelman College graduates! Journalist Soledad O’Brien will be delivering this year’s commencement address.
The nation’s only all-women’s historically Black college will celebrate the achievements of this year’s graduating class of 2014 on May 18. O’Brien, who previously spoke at Spelman’s 7th Annual "Woman Of Color College Leadership Conference" awards dinner, will also be receiving an honorary degree from the number one ranked HBCU.
As an award-winning journalist, CEO of her own production company, Starfish Media Group, and once longtime reporter for CNN, O’Brien is sure to inspire Spelman’s more than 500 graduates and their families who will gather at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. The college will also be recognizing Aerospace Corporation CEO Dr. Wanda Austin and Human rights lawyer and activist Malika Saada Saar.
“Soledad O’Brien, Dr. Wanda Austin and Malika Saada Saar all personify the academic excellence and the commitment to social change that has come to be associated with Spelman College — much like our Baccalaureate speaker Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, whose scholarship, theology, and public service as senior pastor of historic Ebenezer Baptist Church are informed by a deep sense of spirituality, faith, and social justice,” said Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum on the college's official website. “We are excited to host each of these distinguished leaders as we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates.”
O’Brien’s mentee and Starfish Foundation award recipient Tyreiron Segue is one of this year’s graduates, making the commencement all the more special, as both will earn degrees on the same day from the same institution.
Though Spelmanites are sure to be excited about the news of O’Brien delivering the commencement address, fellow HBCU Howard University also made the news recently for their commencement speaker Sean “Diddy” Combs. However, some students were unhappy with the decision.
O’Brien, however, is sure to inspire this year’s graduating class. During her 2011 keynote address at Spelman, O’Brien stressed the importance of cultivating the next generation of Black, female students who "can change the paradigm,” as well as women as a whole.
"16 percent of Black woman and 25 percent of White women have degrees in this country. It is time for change,” she said.
(Photos from Left: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Heart Truth, Spelman College)