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Former Vice President Joe Biden to Keynote Morgan State University’s 141st Spring Commencement

Ceremony Will Highlight MSU’s 150th Year

Morgan State University President David Wilson today announced that Joseph R. Biden Jr., U.S. vice president for two terms in the Obama administration, will deliver the keynote address during the University’s 141st Spring Commencement exercises, on Saturday, May 20, 2017, 9:30 a.m., at Hughes Stadium, on Morgan’s campus. Biden is one of four distinguished citizens who will receive honorary doctorates during the commencement: veteran journalist and Morgan graduate April Ryan will be awarded a Doctor of Laws, and philanthropists C. Sylvia Brown and Sheldon Goldseker, and Biden, will receive Doctor of Public Service degrees.

“Morgan State University was founded to strengthen dispossessed communities and broaden the distribution of educational opportunities to talented students who otherwise would be denied,” said Morgan President David Wilson. “We are proud to continue that vital tradition into our sesquicentennial year.

“The honored guests who will attend our commencement this year — those on the dais as well as those in the stands — have the same commitment to social advancement and equity that the founders of Morgan had in 1867,” Wilson continued. “And now, as then, Morgan is sending its graduates into the world prepared to provide good leadership and meet the great challenges of the future.”

Vice President Joe Biden was born in Scranton, Pa., and moved to Delaware with his family when he was 11. At age 29, he was elected to represent Delaware in the U.S. Senate, where he served for 36 years, 17 of them as chairman or ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and 12 as chairman or ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee. As the 47th vice president of the U.S., from 2009 to 2017, he continued his leadership on important issues such as raising the living standards of middle class Americans, reducing gun violence, addressing violence against women and fighting the scourge of cancer, as well as representing the U.S. during his travels to more than 50 countries.

April Ryan earned her B.S. in telecommunications from Morgan State University in 1989. A 30-year journalism veteran, she has been White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks since January 1997, covering three U.S. presidents, and was recently hired by CNN as a political analyst. Ryan was born in Baltimore, Md., and is a second-generation MSU graduate, following in her mother’s footsteps. She is the author of the book “The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America,” which was published in 2015.

Sylvia Brown has a long, accomplished career in both education and business and has volunteered in community service activities her entire adult life. A native of King William County, Va., she earned a B.S. in physical education from Howard University and an M.S. in health education at Indiana University. She taught in middle schools in New Jersey and New York and worked as an administrator for five years at Baltimore City Community College. In 2002, she and her husband, Eddie C. Brown, founder and president of the investment firm Brown Capital Management, founded the Turning the Corner Achievement Program, an innovative education initiative for African-American middle school students in Baltimore. The Browns have provided generous support for many other educational causes, including MSU.

Sheldon Goldseker is founding board chair of the Goldseker Foundation, a private Baltimore philanthropy that has granted approximately $100 million to 600 local nonprofit organizations and projects during its 42-year history. Goldseker was also one of the first trustees of the Baltimore Community Foundation, a role he held for 38 years, a time during which its core assets grew from $2 million to more than $170 million. In 1983, he was one of the founding members and the first president of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, a regional resource for philanthropy. Under Mr. Goldseker’s leadership, the Goldseker Foundation has become the largest private supporter of scholarship programs in the history of MSU.

More than 1,200 candidates will receive bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees during the commencement, which is a highlight of Morgan’s yearlong Sesquicentennial Celebration. Morgan has awarded more than 50,000 academic degrees during its 150-year history.

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified Doctoral Research Institution offering more than 70 academic programs leading to bachelor’s degrees as well as programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. As Maryland’s premier public urban research university, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. More information about the university is available at www.morgan.edu.

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