Maryland’s first African-American governor is set to inspire an anticipated graduating class of more than 500 undergraduate and advanced high school seniors
BALTIMORE– Morgan State University President David K. Wilson announced today that Maryland Governor-elect Wes Moore will be the keynote speaker for the 9th Early Fall Exercises at National Treasure. After a historic election victory and as the first African American to serve as Maryland governor, Moore returns to the Morgan campus to deliver a message of inspiration and perseverance to an audience of more than 500 expected graduates, faculty, university officials and guests. The ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday, December 16 at the Talmadge L. Hill Field House.
“We are honored to have Governor-elect Wes Moore as our keynote speaker for our early fall. His character and commitment to impactful living remind us of the values we want our graduates to embody. His life story is a testament to our students that success can be achieved through the path of personal development and personal choices that include success and failure,” said President Wilson. “Through his remarkable accomplishments, Mr. Moore has shown that perseverance, steadfastness, and teachability are paramount on the road to success. His experiences will encourage our students and their families to always strive for excellence, discipline, integrity and a passion for public service.”
Throughout his distinguished career, Moore has made his passion for public service and commitment to serving the needs of underserved communities his primary focus. As the former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty organizations, Moore is credited with distributing more than $600 million to lift families out of poverty during his four-year tenure. As an entrepreneur, he built and launched BridgeEdU, an education-based startup focused on helping students make the transition to college through a range of services including mentoring, career advice and financial support. With a background in finance, Moore has also held positions at Deutsche Bank in London and Citigroup in New York.
Moore completed Phi Theta Kappa at Valley Forge Military Academy and College, earning an associate degree and qualifying for the United States Army Early Commissioning Program. He then attended Johns Hopkins University, where he graduated with a major in International Relations and Economics. A Rhodes Scholar, Moore earned a Masters in International Relations from Wolfson College, Oxford University. After his education, a career in the military followed. Moore then served as a Captain and Paratrooper in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan, an elite division specializing in joint entry operations. He also served as a White House Fellow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, advising on national security and international relations issues.
Today, Moore is an accomplished and successful entrepreneur, as well as an award-winning author of several critically acclaimed books, including the New York Times Bestselling The Other Wes Moore. On January 18, 2023, he will be officially sworn in as Maryland’s next governor at his inauguration.
During the Fall 2022 celebrations, Morgan will also join Adrienne Jones, speaker of the Maryland House, a political trailblazer elected to office more than 20 years ago, and Morgan alum Melvin Miles, acclaimed former band director of Magnificent Marching Machine, who recently passed away after 49 retired, the honorary degrees confer years of service.
Acknowledged for breaking the glass ceiling and becoming the “first” of all time in many roles, in addition to her historic and pivotal role, House Speaker Jones is being awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, for her leadership skills and passion for Public Service honored the Maryland State Legislature’s passage of the HBCU Settlement Act. Speaker Jones’ unwavering determination brought legislation to an end to the 15-year lawsuit brought by the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education on behalf of Maryland’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The HBCU Settlement Act (SB1) was the first bill they introduced and the impact of its passage will be felt for generations to come. With the passage of SB1, the State of Maryland sought to address historical disparities in both resource allocation and course programming within Maryland higher education by awarding Maryland HBCUs $577 million over a ten-year period.
Elected to office in 1997, she is the first African American and the first woman in history to serve as Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. Jones also has the distinction of being the first African American woman to serve as Speaker Pro Tem of the Maryland House of Delegates.
In recognition of his dedication to the arts and shaping the university’s band program, Melvin Miles is awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree, which recognizes his long career of service to the Morgan State community. Miles was Morgan’s Director of Bands for nearly 50 years, overseeing the Symphonic Winds, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo and the acclaimed “Magnificent Marching Machine” marching band before retiring last spring.
Miles, himself a Morgan graduate, is known for nurturing the talent of students in the performing arts by nurturing his love of music. During his tenure, students performed for President Barack Obama at the White House and were selected to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade The 147th Preakness and the Monterey Jazz Festival to name a few. He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the 2017 Baltimore Jazz Hero and the Skip Scarborough Foundation Award.
For more information on these Fall Beginnings practices at Morgan or previous commencement ceremonies, visit the university’s official home page online.
Founded in 1867, Morgan State University is a Carnegie-classified High Research (R2) institution offering more than 140 academic programs leading to degrees from baccalaureate through doctorate. As Maryland’s pre-eminent public urban research university and the only university whose entire campus has been designated a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiracial and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as broadly as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit www.morgan.edu.
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Larry Jones or Cheryl Stewart for university PR