Skip To Content

News Releases

U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch to Deliver Commencement Address to Class of 2016 Share a Spelman College Press Release

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Audrey Arthur
(404) 270-5892 (office)
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia

AG Lynch Portrait-3(web2)ATLANTA (April 14, 2016
) – Loretta E. Lynch, America’s top law enforcement officer and the first African-American woman to be confirmed as attorney general of the United States, has forged an impressive legal career in private practice and as a federal prosecutor. Lynch will share her inspiring story and words of wisdom with 483 graduates of the Spelman College class of 2016 during her Commencement address at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 15, at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta. She will receive an honorary degree at the ceremony.

“As chief lawyer for the United States and as a humanitarian, Loretta Lynch is an exceptional role model not only for the class of 2016, but also for Spelman’s entire student body and community,” said Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman. “She has continually demonstrated her commitment to justice and equality through her tireless and challenging work as a public servant. We are honored to have Ms. Lynch as our 129th Commencement speaker.”

A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Lynch is the 83rd attorney general. She was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2014 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April 2015. Prior to being named attorney general, Lynch was U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn, where her office successfully prosecuted cases against public officials, financial institutions, terrorists, cybercriminals and human traffickers. While in private practice, Lynch performed extensive pro bono work for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, established to prosecute those responsible for human rights violations in the 1994 genocide in that country. As special counsel to the Tribunal, she was responsible for investigating allegations of witness tampering and false testimony.

Lynch earned her bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from Harvard College and Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

Honorary Degree Recipient: Stevie Wonder, award-winning musician, singer, songwriter and producer
Stevie Wonder is one of the most important musical artists of the late 20th century. He has earned more than 49 Top Forty singles, received 25 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, an Academy Award and sold more than 100 million records worldwide. He is the youngest recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, is a Commander of France's National Order of Arts and Letters and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the NAACP Hall of Fame, and the Apollo Theatre Hall of Fame. Wonder has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and he is a designated U.N. Messenger of Peace with special focus on persons with disabilities. In addition, he was instrumental in the campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday. Wonder continues to be a pivotal influence in U.S. and world events, demonstrating the activism that has made him a vital voice for social progress and world harmony.

National Community Service Award Recipient: Precious Zywiciel Muhammad, community activist
Precious Zywiciel Muhammad
is the founder of HAGAR Civilization Training Missionary (Hagar CTM), a community- based organization dedicated to generating interest and resources to improve Atlanta's Westside community. Supported by resources from Invest Atlanta, HAGAR continues its mission of providing dedicated service to the community through the development of affordable housing projects.

Baccalaureate Service
Jonathan L. Walton, Ph.D., Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard Divinity School, will serve as the baccalaureate speaker for the class of 2016. Dr. Walton is a social ethicist and scholar of American religions. His research addresses the intersections of religion, politics and media culture. Formerly an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of California, Riverside, Walton earned his doctorate in religion and society from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also holds a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary as well as a bachelor’s degree in political science from Morehouse College. Baccalaureate service will be held Saturday, May 14, 2016, at 9 a.m. on the Spelman Oval.

To request media credentials, email

To learn more about Spelman’s 129th Commencement, click here.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent.  Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman, Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer, Broadway producer Alia Jones, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley, Harvard University Professor Evelynn Hammonds, author Pearl Cleage and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson.  For more information, visit


Spelman College Events CalendarEvents
Spelman College Academic CalendarAcademic

Contact Us

News Center