Radio personality Tom Joyner addresses nearly 500 graduates



TUSKEGEE, Ala.  (May 9, 2011)   –   Nearly 500 students graduated from Tuskegee University on Sunday morning. The institution’s 126th annual spring commencement exercises were held in the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Arena on campus. According to the Office of the Registrar, degrees conferred included the Doctor of Philosophy; Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; Master of Science; Bachelor of Arts; and Bachelor of Science.


This was the first commencement ceremony for the university’s sixth president, Gilbert L. Rochon, who officially took the helm of the institution in November 2010. 


“We are reaching out at an accelerated rate to prepare our students for the global society, the global economy, the global political arena and the global labor force they will soon encounter,” Rochon said.


The speaker for the occasion was radio personality and philanthropist Tom Joyner.  He is founder of REACH Media Inc., the Tom Joyner Foundation,, and host of the leading nationally syndicated morning radio show, the 'Tom Joyner Morning Show.'

Joyner encouraged graduates to continue Tuskegee’s mission to serve.


“A lot of people are educated, but won’t offer a hand to serve others,” he said. “They’re worth a lot of money … but not worth anything if they don’t serve.”


The Tuskegee native remarked about his upbringing and the lessons he learned.


“This town allowed me to dream, prepared me to seek my dream and live it,” he said. “I was a paper boy. That taught me to get up early. Now I get up early for the 'Tom Joyner Morning Show.’”


Joyner also told graduates to not be afraid to take chances.


“Instead of waiting for the door of opportunity to open, kick the door in,” he said.


After Joyner’s speech, Rochon and Board of Trustees Chair Charles E. Williams presented Joyner with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.


After degrees were conferred:

Newly commissioned officers in the U.S. Army and Air Force, respectively, were recognized. Officers were commissioned in a joint ceremony on Saturday, May 7 in the University Chapel.


Kimberly Woodard, president of the Tuskegee University National Alumni Association, led the new graduates in the official alumni oath.


Recipients of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree took the oath to their new profession in the University Chapel.

Tom Joyner delivers the commencement address Sunday, May 8 in the Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James Arena. First row: Cynthia Sellers, vice president for student affairs; Board of Trustees Chairman Charles E. Williams. Second row: Carlton Morris, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education; Tejinder Sara, dean of the College of Business and Information Science.

Joyner receives an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. From left, Board of Trustees Chairman Charles E. Williams, Joyner, President Gilbert L. Rochon and Luther Williams, provost and vice president for academic affairs.


Nearly 500 students graduated from Tuskegee University on Sunday morning.

Click here to watch the replay of the 2011 Spring Commencement.










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