Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will deliver the 2017 keynote address during the 142nd commencement exercise for Fisk University on Monday, May 1. Legendary radio personality Tom Joyner will deliver the undergraduate commencement address during Tennessee State University’s spring graduation on May 6.
Pelosi, along with Trustee Emeritus Mike Curb, will also be awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Fisk University. Their graduation ceremonies will be held at The Temple Church on Monday, May 1, 2017, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
“It is an extraordinary honor and privilege for the Fisk community to have Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Trustee Emeritus Mike Curb delivering remarks to our 2017 graduating class,”said Frank L. Sims, interim president. “Both of these individuals have lived extraordinary lives full of many accomplishments. As they share those accomplishments and their accumulated wisdom with our graduates, we know that their words inspire our graduates to create positive change in their communities upon leaving Fisk.”
Having previously served as the 52nd Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives – the first and only woman to hold the position – Pelosi’s national profile continues to rise. Today, she serves as the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives and represents the 12th Congressional District of California.
Saturday, May 6, more than 800 students will receive degrees in various disciplines at graduation in the William Jasper Hale Stadium on the TSU main campus. The ceremony begins at 8:00 a.m.
Joyner, host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, is a graduate of Tuskegee University. An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Joyner is a champion of historically black colleges and universities. His foundation, the Tom Joyner Foundation, supports HBCUs with scholarships, endowments, and capacity building enhancements. On a personal note, Joyner is no stranger to TSU. His mother was raised at then Tennessee A&I State College by his great aunt, Jane Elliott, after whom the Jane Elliott Building on the campus is named.
Since its creation in 1997, the foundation has raised more than $65 million to help students stay in school. Last year, the foundation selected TSU to be a “school of the month.”
Under the designation, the foundation awarded scholarships to students throughout the month and featured TSU’s accomplishments on Joyner’s weekly morning program.
Also last year, the foundation entered into a partnership with TSU to help students interested in science, technology, engineering and math. According to the agreement singed at a news conference in Memphis, Tennessee, students graduating from five Tennessee community colleges will receive full scholarships to attend TSU. The Tom Joyner Foundation will provide 75 percent of the scholarship funds, and the rest will come from the NSF-funded Tiger Teach Initiative and TSU’s Office of Community College Initiatives.
The founder of Nashville-based Curb Records, Mike Curb is one of the most recognized names in music over the past five decades. With over 300 songwriting credits, the award-winning songwriter, producer, and music executive has overseen the sales of records in excess of 100 million. Curb joined the Fisk University Board of Trustees in 2002 and, throughout his term, planned and implemented the Curb-Beaman Jubilee Singers Chair and the Mike Curb Endowed Jubilee Singers Chair.