It’s not uncommon for elected officials to deliver commencement speeches at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), but this one may hit a little different coming from someone who is an actual HBCU alum.
Tennessee State University has announced that Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver the school’s commencement address at the upcoming Spring semester graduation. She will be joined by Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Randall Woodfin who will address graduate students.
Roughly 900 students are scheduled to walk the stage and celebrate receiving their degrees from TSU with Covid-19 protocols in place.
“Commencement marks a major milestone in our students’ lives, but to have the Vice President of the United States as your guest speaker makes this moment even more special for our students and their families,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “I believe they will also appreciate the fact that both Vice President Harris and Mayor Woodfin are HBCU graduates, a testament to the caliber of students TSU and other HBCUs produce. The TSU family looks forward to both ceremonies and featured speakers.”
Previous HBCU commencement speakers include former presidents Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but this moment is special as that Harris made history as the first HBCU graduate to serve as president or vice president. She is a graduate of Howard University’s 1986 class.
The news comes on the heels of the Tuesday (April 19) announcement made by the White House that President Biden is set to deliver the 2022 commencement address at his alma mater, the University of Delaware.
It also follows news from earlier this week that Biden has a plan to forgive student debt for as many as 40,000 people who have taken out student loans.
TSU’s commencement will take place on Saturday, May 7 in Hale Stadium.