Hampton University
Michael Eric Dyson tells HU grads to have a perspective of who they are
05/08/2016 - #158

Hampton, Va. - Michael Eric Dyson didn’t just recite his keynote speech at the Hampton University Commencement ceremony on May 8. He rapped, sang, preached and quoted poetry during the spirited address. Dyson’s main message was having an interpretation of who you are.   

“You’ve got to have perspective, and the perspective you ought to have is that you come from a great people,” said Dyson, a political commentator, author and professor. “You come from a stock of people that made American what it is today.”

Dyson commended young people today who are protesting and standing up for what they believe. 

“Your generation has reminded us, that you don’t have to be old to be useful,” Dyson told the 908 graduates. “You don’t have to be old in age to be wise. Your Black Lives Matter movement has been important and it has reminded us that black lives matter.” 

In honor of Mother’s Day, Dyson spoke about the "patriarchy of an oppressive culture."

 “We’ve got to love our women,” he said. “On this Mother’s Day, we must acknowledge that the women in our lives deserve to be respected and deserve to be celebrated and deserve to be embraced.”

HU President Dr. William R. Harvey also challenged the graduates.

“The world will be better because of the Class of 2016, serve it and Hampton well,” he said.

Awards Presented at the Ceremony:

  • Outstanding Twenty-Year Alumnus – Dr. Barbara LeSeur Inman
  • Outstanding Alumnus-at-Large Award – Dr. Dianne Boardley Suber and Dr. William W. Mumby
  • Class of 2016 Valedictorian – Courtney Michelle Edwards 
  • Class of 2016 Salutatorian - Jonelle DeShawn Jones 


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