The dual spring commencement exercises at Tennessee State University will feature two prominent national figures who will speak to the undergraduate and graduate students receiving degrees in various disciplines. The 2016 Spring Commencement Ceremonies for Graduate Students is Friday, May 6 at 5:00 p.m., in Gentry Center Complex; and for Undergraduate Students is Saturday, May 7, 2016 at 9:00 a.m., in W.J. Hale Stadium, weather permitting.
Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell, President of the National Medical Association, will give the keynote address at the graduate commencement ceremony, while former U.S. Congressman Harold E. Ford, Jr. will address undergraduate students during their commencement.
TSU graduate and retired Air Force Brigadier General Dr. Edith P. Mitchell is president of the National Medical Association, the nation’s oldest professional society for African-American physicians. She is a renowned researcher and cancer specialist, and the director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“There is still much work to be done with regards to disparities in medical treatment,” says Mitchell. “I believe that we can all work together and make great strides to address barriers in helping underserved populations get better care and lead to better health care in our nation.”
Tennessee State University President Glover has said “Her outstanding leadership in the medical field and life continue to give hope to thousands of people suffering from cancer and who are not fortunate to receive the quality care they need.”
Mitchell received a B.S. degree “with distinction” in Biochemistry from TSU in 1969. A former senior medical Air National Guard advisor to the command surgeon and the medical liaison between the active Air Force and Air National Guard, Mitchell was the first female physician to receive the rank of Brigadier General in the Air Force.
Harold Eugene Ford, Jr. (born May 11, 1970) is best known as a Democratic Party member of the United States House of Representatives from Tennessee’s 9th congressional district, centered in Memphis. Ford is the son of former Congressman Harold Ford, Sr. and Dorothy Bowles Ford. His family has long been prominent in Memphis’ African-American community. Ford was baptized at his family church, Mt. Moriah-East Baptist Church. He attended Double Tree Elementary School, a public Montessori school in the Westwood neighborhood and he graduated from the private St. Albans School for Boys, a prestigious university-preparatory school in Washington, D.C., which he attended after his father became a Congressman.
He earned a B.A. in American history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992, and after graduation went into government. Ford earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1996. He served five consecutive terms in Congress, from 1997 to 2007. Ford did not seek re-election to his House seat in 2006 when he unsuccessfully sought the U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring senator Bill Frist. He married Emily Threlkeld on April 26, 2008.