Nikki Giovanni set to speak at Fall graduation

The Florida A&M University Fall Commencement is rapidly approaching and volunteers are desperately needed.

Seneca Lindsey, the commencement committee’s volunteer coordinator, said that they need volunteers to help with getting graduates dressed and lining graduates up properly. She also said they will need volunteers to show graduates where to go and any other duties assigned by the committee.

Students who bring their Rattler Record will be able to get community service hours for volunteering.

Lindsey also said once the students are in the arena, volunteers are free to go. Volunteers need to be available for rehearsal on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 4p.m. and Friday, December 14 at 5p.m.

All applicants must be in good standing with the university. Volunteers must also be present at the commencement rehearsal on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m. at the Civic Center, at the graduates’ reception immediately following the rehearsal at the Civic Center from 6 to 8 p.m. and the commencement on Friday, Dec. 14. Volunteers will be accepted until Wednesday, Dec. 12.

The speaker for this semester’s commencement is the legendary poet, writer, activist and educator, Nikki Giovanni.

Over time, Giovanni has proved to be one of the most popular American poets and is famous for her fight for civil rights and equality for black Americans. Throughout Giovanni’s career she has received 25 honorary degrees, earned the keys to more than two dozen cities and has been chosen as an honorary member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.

Today Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg,Va.

Henry Kirby, associate vice president and dean of student affairs, said he is encouraging students to participate in this volunteer opportunity and is looking forward to hearing Giovanni speak at the commencement.

“I know that she will motivate the graduates with her powerful and poignant words,” Kirby said. “I’ve read so much about her and when I heard her speak after the Virginia Tech tragedy, hearing her powerful and inspiring words during such a somber time solidified my eagerness in hearing her speak at the commencement.”

Jarred Grace, 20, a third-year architect student from Pensacola said he interested in volunteering, only if it can be added to his Rattler Records.

Christian Edwards, 20, a junior criminal justice student from New Orleans agreed.

“[But] I would definitely still go just to hear her speak [even] if I can’t get the hours,” Edwards said.

Titus Brown, a history professor at FAMU, said he had the distinct privilege to meet Nikki Giovanni while he was a student at Albany State University in 1980.

“She [Giovanni] is a very powerful writer and speaker,” Brown said. She will reconnect this generation to the struggles we faced in the 60s and 70s.”

Anyone interested in volunteering please send your name and contact information to Seneca Lindsey at (850) 599-3541 or via Seneca.Lindsey Those interested may also contact Dean Kirby at (850) 599-3098.

Ashley Carnegie contributed to this article.