Hundreds of Florida A&M students graduated from the university Saturday to cheers and shouts from friends and family in two sessions of Spring Commencement.
Keynote speaker Atlanta Mayor M. Kasim Reed praised the more than 600 students who graduated in the morning session of commencement for the legacy that they would leave on the university. Saying “Things are a little different when you’re in business for yourself,” Mayor Reed told the graduates that service to their respective countries and world should now be priority that they are entering the word. ”Your life is going to be about the contributions you make to your city, state, nation and indeed, the world,” said Reed.
Reed joked with the audience and shared personal stories about his journey from law to politics. He then reminded the graduates to use their youth to better shape the world around them.
Citing growing economies around the world that challenge America, Reed issued a call to action to graduates to work to strengthen their country at home. “You are are inheriting a world much different than the one your were born into,” Reed said. “We’re engaged in a competition that requires the best of us and the best of you.”
In a later address at the afternoon commencement, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson called graduates to help build communities as they move on in the world. “Americans always one question, no matter how bad things get: how can I help?; In the real world, when your friends have a problem you help them,” she told the graduates.”The right we have to individual freedom is best served by working together.”
Jackson who spoke to student reporters and student environmental groups earlier in the day urged the audience to shape a better world for themselves and future citizens of the world. “Continue a legacy, value serving others,” she said.
President Ammons presented a posthumous diploma to the parents of murdered senior Rasheed Lasaki. The 25-year-old criminal justice student who was scheduled to graduate with the rest of the Class of 2011 was killed in January.
The university granted honorary doctorates to FAMU alum T’Keyah Crystal Kemah and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson (See attached story for more details). Kemah who was honored in early April for her contribution to theater at the university told the graduates to treasure the memories made in their time at FAMU. “I remember saying…I was just here…[For you] I hope those worlds are filled with time you did not waste,” the celebrated actress and writer told graduates.
Miss FAMU 2010-2011 Kindall Johnson dedicated her Student Leadership Award from the president to her deceased brother, Braxton Johnson.