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Alumna to deliver graduate and professional school Commencement address

April 22, 2024

Contact: Thonnia Lee, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Photo of Lesly James

Tuskegee University is pleased to announce that Dr. Lesly Wilson James ’95 will deliver the Commencement address for Graduate and Professional Schools on May 4 in Daniel “Chappie” James Arena.

Dr. James is an associate professor of occupational therapy at Lenoir-Rhyne University and is chairperson of the South Carolina Licensure Board for Occupational Therapy. She has been a clinical practitioner in the areas of early intervention, geriatrics, telehealth, administration and management for more than 25 years and is listed on the American Occupational Therapy’s Roster of Fellows.

She joined Lenoir-Rhyne as the first Black faculty member in the occupational therapy department’s history. She is the first Black faculty member of the history of the College of Health Sciences and the third Black faculty member to obtain tenure in the 130-year history of the institution.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. James back to Tuskegee and looking forward to the inspiration she will share with our graduates,” said Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, President of Tuskegee. “It is extremely rewarding to watch our students become experts in their field and then return to Mother Tuskegee to share what they’ve learned and inspire young graduates as they prepare to begin their life’s work.”

Dr. James has served as the chair of the Occupational Compact Commission, a distinguished fellow of the National Academy of Practice – Occupational Therapy, the American Occupational Therapy Association Roster of Fellows, the Columbia Urban Leage 2023 Ethel M. Bolden Community Service Award, the chair of the South Carolina Occupational Therapy Licensure Board, and received the Lenoir-Rhyne University Faculty Scholar Award in 2022.

“We are excited to have her as the 2024 Commencement speaker to challenge the graduates from the graduate and professional schools to continue the Legacy of Tuskegee University and be leaders in their perspective areas/disciplines,” said Dr. Ruby L. Perry, Dean of the Tuskegee College of Veterinary Medicine.  “We look forward to her inspiration as she has set an exemplary example for our students to follow.”


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