As in-person spring graduations return, commencement speakers at North Carolina Historically Black colleges and universities are offering words of wisdom to the class of 2022.
Here’s what they have to say:
Johnson C. Smith University (May 15)
JCSU held in-person commencement exercises at Bojangles Coliseum and Charlotte Major Vi Lyles was the commencement speaker.
Stay informed with news and events that impact Charlotte’s Black communities.
“You are the history makers that we need. Because of you and your impact, you will open doors for many others that look just like you.”
“I challenge you to raise the bar for yourself, raise the bar for your friends, raise your expectations for life.”
“This new beginning is your new bar. Set it high. Don’t take anything lower. Make sure you go for the best and the very top.”
Livingstone College (May 14)
Livingstone College’s 140th Commencement was held inside the Varick Auditorium. Actor Malik Yoba was the commencement speaker, and spoke about the power of connections.
“Networking isn’t just going to places seeing what people can do for you. It’s ‘how can I help you help me help you’.”
North Carolina Central University (May 6)
NCCU’s Commencement was held at the McDougald-McLendon Arena. Agnes Moss, founder and president of the National Black Movie Association, was the commencement speaker. She is also an NCCU Eagle alumna.
“Trust the process of your story. For some of you, your story will take off as soon as you leave these doors. For others, it may take years, even decades, to realize your ultimate goals in life. The funny thing about your story is, regardless of who you are, your story is a process. Never be too impatient to live out your story.”
Fayetteville State University (May 7)
FSU’s Commencement was held at the Crown Coliseum. Nicolas Perkins, 2003 FSU graduate and business entrepreneur, was the commencement speaker for the graduating Broncos.
“Class of ‘22, remember you are called, you are capable, and you are covered. We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much for so little for so long, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.”
Shaw University (May 8)
Shaw University’s Commencement exercise was held in the Raleigh Convention Center. Dr. Michael Ugwueke, 1983 graduate and University Trustee, provided the remarks. Ugwueke is also President and Chief Executive Officer of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.
“Will there be challenges? Of course. You will face many obstacles. Your perseverance will be the difference between success and failure.”
St. Augustine’s University (April 30)
St. Augustine’s Commencement exercise was held at the George Williams Athletic Complex. Dr. Goldie Byrd, professor and director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest University, spoke to the graduating Falcons.
“You as students must’ve felt confusion. You must’ve had feelings of depression. You must’ve been challenged in many ways but you adjusted. You are still here. You made it.”
“How will you make the slightest bit of sense in the chaotic world around you? What in you will make a difference?”
North Carolina A&T (May 14)
NC A&T’s Commencement was held at the Greensboro Coliseum. Three-time Emmy Award-winning journalist, author, attorney and co-host of ABC’s “The View,” Sunny Hostin was the commencement speaker.
“The first lesson is decide who you will not be. The second is to maximize your power when you are in the room. And the third is to use your voice even when it shakes all your dreams and your way is uncertain.”
“We need champions in the room, whether it be the rooms of government, of business, of academia where decisions are being made for us and our people.”
Elizabeth City State University (May 7)
ECSU’s 174th Commencement Ceremony took place in the R.L. Vaughan Center. Nahum Jeannot, founder and COO of GoOats, spoke in part about allowing for time and grace to grow.
“Who we are becoming is more important than what we know and what we accomplish.”
“A blessing given too soon or before you are ready is no blessing at all. I believe certain things are withheld from us for a reason either because we are not ready or can’t handle it or we just need to push a little harder. That’s up to you to know the difference.”