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ESPN President John Skipper to address Tuskegee University Spring Commencement

April 25, 2017

John Skipper, ESPN President

TUSKEGEE, Ala. (April 25, 2017) — ESPN President John Skipper will share his perspectives with more than 500 Tuskegee University graduates during the university’s Spring Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 13. The ceremony will be held in the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Arena beginning at 10 a.m. CST.

Since taking the helm as president of ESPN Inc. and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks in 2012, Skipper has secured ESPN’s global leadership position in the competitive sports media landscape into the next decade through groundbreaking multiplatform rights agreements and by embracing new technologies to serve fans wherever they are. He joined ESPN in 1997 and served as executive vice president for content prior to being named president.

Skipper called the opportunity to speak as part of the university's Commencement Exercises "a great honor and privilege."

“Tuskegee is meaningful to me for its spectacular historical legacy and because of ESPN’s link to HBCU schools beyond the athletic events we cover,” he continued. “I look forward to being there, meeting students, interacting and learning more about Tuskegee University.”

Tuskegee University President Brian Johnson lauded Skipper’s participation, noting that “[Skipper’s] leadership of one of the single most prominent media organizations in the world, as well as his influence in linking sports, media and culture to socially significant matters, is precisely the kind of voice we are proud to have speak to our very best and brightest. John is deeply aware of our rich tradition and we are confident he will inspire students who are embarking upon their own impactful trajectory.”

In addition to ESPN’s recruiting efforts and internships — as well as coverage of HBCU sports, culture and news — the multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company recently told the inspiring story of Tuskegee baseball pitcher Darien Brown. Brown has arthrogryposis, a disease dealing with the muscle and joints, and has fought through 21 corrective hip and leg surgeries. The spotlight was a product of the “ESPNU Campus Connection” initiative with TU student Aliyah Smith as the reporter.

Skipper follows a trend of prominent Tuskegee University Commencement speakers, which recently has included actor Tyler Perry, actress Phylicia Rashad and first lady Michelle Obama.

Dr. Christine C. Jenkins

On Saturday, May 6, the College of Veterinary Medicine will conduct its inaugural Commencement Ceremony at the Tuskegee University Chapel, beginning at 10 a.m. CST. The separate ceremony will feature the conferring of veterinary medicine doctoral degrees to more than 60 students while underscoring the professional degree nature of the veterinary medicine program. The Commencement speaker will be Dr. Christine C. Jenkins, DVM, DACVIM-SAIM, a 1984 Tuskegee University graduate and chief veterinary medical officer at Zoetis. Zoetis serves the animal health needs of veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its vaccines and medicines, diagnostic products and genetic testing, and other services in more than 100 countries.

Admission to the May 12 Commencement Exercises requires a ticket, which will be distributed in limited quantities to each graduate. The Spring Commencement Exercises will be streamed live online at

Judge Charles Price

On Saturday, May 12, the university will host a Baccalaureate Service at 10 a.m. CST in the Tuskegee University Chapel. Graduates in attendance will hear from The Hon. Charles Price, a retired municipal court judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit, Montgomery, Alabama, and current member of the university’s Board of Trustees. Judge Price’s legal career began in Washington, D.C. with the Department of Justice prior to his service on the municipal court bench. His honors include the 1997 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, as well as the National Education Association’s 1998 Dr. Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award. 

Other events centered around Tuskegee University’s Spring Commencement Exercises include:

Thursday, May 11
  • School of Education Induction Ceremony: 7 p.m. CST, Kellogg Conference Center Ballroom
Friday, May 12
  • Graduates and Parents Reception: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. CST, Grey Columns
  • ROTC Commissioning Ceremony: 1:00 p.m. CST, Tuskegee University Chapel
  • Nursing and Allied Health Capping and Pinning Ceremony: 3:00 p.m. CST, Tuskegee University Chapel
  • Order of the Engineer Ceremony: 3:00 p.m. CST, Logan Hall
  • Social Work Pinning Ceremony: 6:00 p.m. CST, Kenney Hall, Bioethics Auditorium
Visit for additional information about the university’s Spring Commencement Exercises. 

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About Tuskegee University:

Located in Tuskegee, Ala., Tuskegee University is a private and state-related institution that serve a racially, ethnically and religiously diverse student body of 3,100-plus students. The institution was founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington and is one of 107 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) nationally, and Alabama’s only private land-grant university. For more information about Tuskegee University, visit

Information for Media Representatives:

Media representatives wishing to be on campus for any of the university’s spring commencement events should request credentials by completing the online form available at Those requesting credentials will receive event and logistics updates. For general questions, please contact Michael Tullier, APR at 334-724-4553 or

© 2017 Tuskegee University