Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, the host of BET News, and a CNN political contributor will deliver the commencement address at Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 14 at the Emerson Performance Center on the university’s mid-town St. Louis campus at 3026 Laclede Avenue.
Hill, author of an upcoming book on vulnerable citizens from Ferguson, MO to Flint, MI, is also a distinguished professor of African-American Studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He has previously held positions at Columbia University and Temple University and was the inaugural host of Huff Post Live.
Harris-Stowe’s 2016 commencement ceremony will also introduce the first recipients of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Award: the honorable Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis and Joseph F. Reagan, president and chief executive officer of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. As the University President’s highest honor of outstanding contributions or beneficial services rendered to Harris-Stowe, the award is given to individuals who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the university’s mission and its students through investments of time and energy. Also, new this year, about a dozen members of the Class of 1966 will receive special recognition as 50-year alumni. There were 94 graduates in that class.
“Commencement speakers typically challenge and motivate graduates to achieve excellence and we are proud to welcome Mr. Hill whose perspective on today’s civic, political and social issues should provide and uplifting an inspirational message,” said Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack, president of Harris-Stowe. “Our graduates are prepared to compete in the global workforce, launch enterprises of their own or pursue advanced degrees.”
Hill also plans to return to Harris-Stowe during the 2016-17 academic year to discuss with the campus community his book, “Nobody,” subtitled “Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable From Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.” This year’s more than 100 Harris-Stowe graduates will receive a copy of the book.
Many HSSU graduates have overcome obstacles to achieve their degrees, but few have come as far and excelled as much as MIS Computer Science major Doyle Williams. After surviving severe head trauma due to a motorcycle accident in 2007, Doyle has spent years in physical and occupational therapy – having to re-learn to walk, talk, read and write. He returned to Harris-Stowe in 2012, part-time, working up to full-time status and eventually earned his undergraduate degree in December 2015. He will receive his diploma on May 14 during commencement.
On Friday, May 13, 2016, Harris-Stowe will host a special program to present Distinguished Alumni awards to Roxanne D. Crawford, M.Ed, Senior Area Director, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, a 1991 graduate; Dr. Nicole Evans, Principal of City Garden Montessori School, a 1994 education graduate; Dr. Bruce Green, Assistant Superintendent of Hazelwood School District, a 2001 graduate; Dr. Christopher Petty, Interim Principal, Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School, a 1994 graduate; and Dr. Betty Porter Walls, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Harris-Stowe State University, a 1965 graduate.
These outstanding alumni will also be recognized at the commencement ceremony.