Tuskegee University graduates 400 during spring commencement exercises


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (May 11, 2013) — Tuskegee University said farewell to the Class of 2013 during its 128th Spring Commencement Exercises today in the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education. The class of 400 jubilant graduates and their families were addressed by Tuskegee University

Vilsack gives 2013 Commencement address.

Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon presents degree to graduate.

Ph.D. graduate is hooded.
President Gilbert L. Rochon and Thomas Vilsack, the secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture. 

In introductory remarks, Rochon told the audience that the university’s past is deeply rooted in agricultural studies. He also said agriculture still remains very much relevant in the New Millennium.

“By 2050, the world’s population is expected to surpass nine billion. In order to prepare for this growth, we must be dedicated to environmental sustainability, food security and innovative research,” Rochon said. “We are determined that Tuskegee graduates will be prepared to be on the frontlines of those issues.” 

In his keynote address, Vilsack said America and the world have numerous issues in need of resolutions such as climate change food security. In order to address those issues, Vilsack urged the graduates not to cling to rigid positions, but to always try to see the perspective of the “murky middle.” 

“The future problem solvers, and that is what you have been trained to be, seek common ground and common purpose,” Vilsack said. 

He went on to explain that he and everyone assembled wanted all of the graduates to be successful, but urged them to be mindful of those who contributed to their success. As they move forward, Vilsack said graduates must also remember that there are problems ahead.

“I want you to accept the challenge of your time,” Vilsack said. “Don’t be afraid to seek compromise, embrace the middle, and embrace the compromise.”

After the keynote address, Rochon conferred upon Vilsack an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa. Rochon was assisted by Luther S. Williams, provost and executive vice president and retired Maj. Gen. Charles E. Williams, chair of the Tuskegee University Board of Trustees. 

Vilsack receives honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon, who is assisted by Luther S. Williams (far right), provost and executive vice president and retired Maj. Gen. Charles E. Williams (far left), chair of the Tuskegee University Board of Trustees.

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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