Commencement: Commencement Speaker

2015 Commencement Speaker - Donna Brazile

Donna Brazile - Spelman's Commencement Speaker

Donna Brazile, an academic, author, syndicated columnist, television political commentator, and political strategist, has been named commencement speaker for the Spelman College Class of 2015. Brazile will address more than 435 graduates on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at the Georgia International Convention Center.

Brazile is Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee, and former interim National Chair of the Democratic National Committee as well as the former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute.

Brazile first got involved in politics at the age of nine when she worked to elect a City Council candidate who had promised to build a playground in her neighborhood; the candidate won, the swing set was installed, and a lifelong passion for political progress was ignited. Brazile worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she became the first African American to manage a presidential campaign.

Author of the best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics,  Brazile is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, a syndicated newspaper columnist for Universal Uclick, a columnist for Ms. Magazine, and O, The Oprah Magazine, and an on-air contributor to CNN, and ABC, where she regularly appears on This Week. In addition to her three cameo appearances on CBS’s The Good Wife, she has made two cameo appearances on Netflix’s House of Cards. Ask her and she’ll tell you that acting, after all, is the key to success in politics.

In September 2014, Brazile received the WNBA’s Inspiration Award. In August 2009, O, The Oprah Magazine chose Brazile as one of its 20 “remarkable visionaries” for the magazine’s first-ever O Power List. In addition, she was named among the 100 Most Powerful Women by Washingtonian magazine, Top 50 Women in America by Essence magazine, and received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement.

Brazile remains active in her hometown of New Orleans, where she was recently appointed to serve on the executive committee of the Tricentennial Commission, responsible for the celebration of the city’s founding in 2018.

She also serves on several corporate boards and boards of non-profit institutions. Last fall, President Obama appointed Brazile to the Fulbright Board – where she helps select candidates in the Caribbean and Latin America that will participate in the Fulbright Program. Brazile is the proud recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from Louisiana State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Grambling State University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Northeastern Illinois University, Thomas Jefferson School of Nursing, and Xavier University of Louisiana.

Brazile is founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, DC.

Baccalaureate Speaker

Reverend Dr. Renita Weems

weemsRenita J. Weems, Ph.D., a bible scholar and ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, will serve as the baccalaureate speaker for the Class of 2015. Dr. Weems, a former visiting professor at Spelman College, is the author of several acclaimed books on women's spirituality and wholeness. 

She has been celebrated by EBONY magazine as one of American's top 15 preachers and is currently the academic dean and professor of biblical studies at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tenn. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College, and her master’s degree and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Read More

Honorary Degree and National Community Service Award Recipients