Commencement: Commencement Speakers

DR. WILLIAM COSBY TO SPEAK AT SPELMAN COLLEGE COMMENCEMENT, MAY 14, 2006

Atlanta (April 28, 2006) Comedian, philanthropist, author and community servant Dr. William Cosby will return to the campus of Spelman College as it celebrates 125 years of women who change the world. A longtime friend of the College, Cosby will give a charge to more than 500 graduates during Commencement on May 14, 4 p.m., at the Cathedral at Chapel Hill in Decatur, Ga.

Recently, on his “A Call Out to Cosby” speaking tour, he has provided insight into the roles of parents, children, family members, and men and women, and raised issues about education, violence, health and internalized oppression. As the Class of 2006 prepares to leave the gates of Spelman to make an impact on the broader world, he will encourage and inspire them to stay focused on addressing the challenges of the 21st century.

Honorary Degree Recipients
The honorable Shirley Clarke Franklin, mayor of Atlanta, is a former member of the Spelman College Board of Trustees. Her commitment to education, leadership and service is exemplary of Spelman’s mission. In 2005, she created “Next Step…The Atlanta Promise,” a program for high school seniors of the Atlanta Public Schools designed to help them prepare for their future, whether it is college, technical school, military or the work force. The program raised $1.1 million in scholarships for 300 graduates in the past year. In 2005, Time magazine named her one of the top-five mayors in the country. U.S. News & World Report and Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership named her one of “America’s Best Leaders.” She is the first female and first African-American woman to serve as mayor of a major southern city.

Evelyn Boyd Granville, professor emerita of California State College and University System, is the second known Black woman in the United States to be awarded a doctorate in mathematics. She graduated summa cum laude in 1945 from Smith College and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She earned the master’s in mathematics and physics in one year, and received her doctorate from Yale University in 1949. Dr. Granville worked as a mathematician and computer programmer in various technical positions, and as a college professor and educator of grades K-12. In 1950, she served as associate professor of mathematics at Fisk University and taught two students, Vivienne Malone Mayes and Etta Zuber Falconer, who would be the seventh and 11th Black women to receive doctoral degrees in mathematics. Dr. Etta Zuber Falconer, who was a Callaway Professor of Mathematics, taught at Spelman College from 1965 until her retirement in 2002. The Albro-Falconer-Manley Science Center on campus is named in her honor.

Haki Madhubuti is a nationally known poet, publisher, essayist, editor and educator, who became a household name during the Black Arts Movement. He is founder, publisher and chairman of the board of Third World Press. His collections of poetry include Think Black, Black Pride, We Walk the Way of the World and Book of Life. He has also published Dynamite Voices: Black Poets of the 1960s and Enemies: The Clash of Races. For eight years, he and partner, Larry Neal, produced the magazine, The Black Books Bulletin. Madhubuti was also politically active during the Black Arts Movement, working with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Congress of Racial Equity and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. As an educator, he co-founded the Institute of Positive Education/New School Concept (1969), and the Betty Shabazz International Charter School (1998). Currently, he is a distinguished professor of English at Chicago State University, where he founded the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing.

National Community Service Award Recipient
John Hope Bryant of Operation Hope in Los Angeles will receive the National Community Service Award for his economic empowerment and wealth-building programs and activities for the underserved. Since founding Operation Hope in 1992, Bryant, chairman and chief executive officer, has raised more than $50 million in grant funding and more than $200 million in lending commitments for low-wealth home ownership and small business creation. The author of Banking On Our Future, he directs Operation Hope initiatives in 15 cities and the District of Columbia.

Baccalaureate Service Speaker
On Saturday, May 13 at 9 a.m., the Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale, founder and senior pastor of the Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Ga., will serve as Baccalaureate Service speaker. She began her ministry with only four persons meeting for Bible study, yet during her 20-year pastorate more than 8,500 have joined her internationally recognized church. Prior to establishing the Ray of Hope Church, Dr. Hale served as chaplain for federal correctional facilities in Colorado and North Carolina. She has touched the lives of thousands in the state of Georgia, including Atlanta University Center students and individuals in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and Australia. Her commitment to the spiritual and faith development of women led Dr. Hale to establish a vibrant women’s ministry in September 2005, when she convened the first Women In Ministry Conference in Atlanta.

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Spelman College:
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is the only historically Black college in the nation to be included on the U.S. News and World Report's list of top 75 "Best Liberal Arts Colleges — Undergraduate," 2005. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this private, historically Black women's college boasts outstanding alumnae, including Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; U.S. Foreign Service Director General Ruth Davis; authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Pearl Cleage and actress LaTanya Richardson. More than 83 percent of the full-time faculty members have Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees and the student-faculty ratio is 12:1. Annually, nearly one-third of Spelman students receive degrees in the sciences. The students number more than 2,186 and represent 43 states and 34 foreign countries. For more information regarding Spelman College, visit: www.spelman.edu.