Welcome students, family members and guests to North Carolina Central University's 123rd Commencement Exercises. We wish to extend congratulations to the graduating students and their families on this occasion.
Ceremony Speakers, Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, and Trustee Emeriti
Speaking at the Saturday, May 10 undergraduate ceremony is Lezli Baskerville, Esq., president and CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). She is the fifth and first female leader of NAFEO, which has represented the interests of HBCUs and predominantly black institutions across the U.S. since 1969. Baskerville has embarked on a program to establish a $1 billion sustainable endowment for students at HBCUs.
As a civil rights attorney, Baskerville served as counsel in Supreme Court cases involving educational equity and affirmative action. She was outside counsel in the University of California v. Bakke, a landmark decision to permit race as one of several factors in college admissions policies, an issue that has recently come back before the court, and Fullilove v. Klutznick, which held that Congress could institute preferences in federal spending to remedy past discrimination.
Speaking to professional and graduate degree recipients on Friday, May 9, is John Ruffin, Ph.D., retired director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Ruffin served on the NCCU faculty from 1977 to 1986 as a professor and then chair of the Department of Biology. He later served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and special assistant to the chancellor for research until 1990, when he was named associate director for minority programs for the National Institutes of Health.
His work and advocacy at the NIH were instrumental in the passage of the federal Health Revitalization Act of 1993 and the creation of the Nationa<br />l Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities – now known as the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). NCCU is a recognized by NIMHD as a Center of Excellence in Minority Health.
Pianist, vocalist, composer, arranger and producer Leon Pendarvis will also receive an honorary degree on Saturday.
Pendarvis, who attended NCCU from 1962-1966, is the first African-American to serve as musical director of “Saturday Night Live” and the longest-tenured musician in the history of show. He has contributed to more than 80 albums, working with legends including Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Roberta Flack, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross and Eric Clapton. Last year he played at the White House for the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song celebration hosted by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.
Atty. Eric C. Michaux is president of Michaux and Michaux, P.A., served as a member of the North Carolina Central University Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2011. He has served as a Judge Advocate, a Military Judge, and as an Assistant District Attorney. For almost 30 years, Atty. Michaux was General Counsel to the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. He served on the North Carolina Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism and as a member, and later as Chairman, of the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners. He graduated from Boston University and from Duke University Law School, and has been a professor at both North Carolina Central University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Friday, May 9, 10 a.m.
Graduate & Professional:
Thursday, May 8, 6 p.m.
Chancellor's Reception for Graduates
Friday, May 9, 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 10, 8 a.m.
Graduate & Professional:
Friday, May 9, 3 p.m.
The weather is always a concern with May Commencement Exercises in O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium. The university realizes that O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium is the only venue that can accommodate all of the graduates, guests, faculty and staff; therefore, the university will do everything possible to conduct the Undergraduate Commencement on May 10th as planned. However, in the event of severe weather, please see the following PDF for more information.
Meet NCCU student Ashley Pugh, a Seattle-native, mass comunication major. To hear Ashley’s story, click here.