There was a rumor floating around that Oprah Winfrey would be the keynote speaker at spring commencement, but according to University officials, she will not be in attendance.
Henry Kirby, the commencement committee co-chair for the University, said it was never definite that Oprah was coming to FAMU.
“Oprah was extended an invitation to speak at either this year’s spring or fall commencement ceremonies,” said Kirby, the school’s dean of students. “But she was not able to fit spring graduation into her schedule.”
Of course, there are those students who are more upset than others.
Some graduates might have been expecting Winfrey to speak and then tell the graduating class to look under their seats and voila! There would be keys to a brand new car or a check for $1,000. That would not have been out of the question. To commemorate the beginning of her 19th season, Winfrey gave away brand new cars to her entire audience during one of her shows.
“I was really looking forward to hearing what Oprah had to say, but I should have known better to believe something like that,” said Cameron Murphy, a graduating senior business administration student from Philadelphia.
There are several factors that go into booking a keynote speaker for graduation. The prospective speaker has to be willing to participate, be notified well in advance so that his or her schedule can be adjusted, his or her fee for coming to speak must be met and the travel arrangements must be taken care of. There is no set price for people who come to FAMU and speak at commencement ceremonies. That is negotiated by FAMU and the speaker.
Interim President Castell V. Bryant has given a list of possible speakers to Glyndell Presley, the co-chair on the commencement ceremony committee, but that list has not been released.
It looks as if spring graduates are going to have to play the waiting game to find out who is the speaker. There had also been rumors circulating that the location of spring graduation might change. That too is not true. Spring graduation will still be held at Bragg Memorial Stadium on April 30 at 7:30 a.m.
Lee King, a graduating senior marketing student from Philadelphia, said he is used to dealing with uncertainty at FAMU.
“Since my days as a freshman here, I didn’t know when my financial aid was going to come,” he said. “Not knowing who is going to speak at my graduation is just something to add to the list.”
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