(By Priscilla Brock // May 14, 2011) – Just below the scattered clouds, and misty atmosphere, the heavens rejoiced as the sons and daughters of Howard University were being recognized and congratulated as the graduating Class of 2011. In addition, proud parents and family members from 43 states and 29 different countries joined the rows of cheering graduates, in celebration of Howard University’s 143rd Commencement.

The ceremony took place outside on the yard despite the threat of morning showers. The estimated 2000 graduates robed in royal blue stayed the course and continued the graduation ceremony as planned in optimism.

Dean Richardson opened the ceremony in prayer, as he blessed the future endeavors of the bowed graduates and thanked God for the accomplishments that each one has made.

Howard University recognized and granted four Honoary Degree awards to the following recipients; the first was given to author and journalist and Pulitzer Prize recipient, Thomas Friedman, next, Harvard professor of History and African American Studies, and alumna of Howard University, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, and John Slaughter, a leader in educational, engineering and scientific disciplines, as he is a professor at the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Rosseir School of Education, and finally Marc H. Morial was the last to happily receive an award, making him a “proud Howard university Bison.”

National Urban League President and CEO, Marc H. Morial, was the speaker and orator offering encouraging words and a challenge to every graduate seated before him to uphold three standards on the lifelong journey ahead by committing to excellence, advocate for equality and to achieve high expectations.

“Whether we are talking about Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Barry Rand, Sidney Ribeau, Thrugood Marshall we are witnesses to lives that have committed to excellence” said Morial.

“Whatever profession you choose be the best.”

Furthermore, Morial encouraged the graduation class of 2011 to “be the leaders who rebuild the nation’s economy, who will fix the nation’s schools, who build the global enterprises that will produce a more just and equitable America and a more just and equitable community.”

“Class of 2011, you will produce a future President of the United States. And she will make history too” said Morial.

Finally, Morial concluded his speech by encouraging the graduates to commit to excellence, equality and high expectations and stand today on the great shoulders of the former graduates of Howard University.

At the conclusion of his message, the Howard family offered a standing ovation as he made way to his seat on stage. Crossed arms, and a swaying sea of blue graduates completed the ceremony by singing the Howard University alma mater.

HU Reaction would like to wish the Class of 2011 the best of luck and hope to see them all become successful!

(Watch a snippet of Marc H. Morial speech at the graduation)

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