HAMPTON, Va. (Sept. 16, 2021) – Hampton University welcomes home alumnus Atty. Spencer Overton to present the keynote address at the 78th Annual Opening Convocation on Sunday, September 26, 2021. Opening Convocation will be held in the Hampton University Convocation Center and will begin at 10:00 a.m. This event is only for currently enrolled students, faculty, and staff.
“Opening Convocation is a wonderful time-honored tradition at Hampton University. It is at this ceremony that we celebrate the beginning of another exciting academic year,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey. “This year’s ceremony is so very special as we will be welcoming our students back to campus after a year of virtual learning. This ceremony will also officially recognize the beginning of my last academic year as President. We are looking forward to hearing the keynote speech from one of our outstanding alumni, Atty. Spencer Overton. Additionally, we will recognize a member of our world-class faculty that continues to impact young minds in the classroom.”
Dr. Harvey will give his charge to the student body as well as to faculty and staff during the event, which is the ceremonial opening of the new school year.
During this ceremony, Dr. Harvey will also present the 2020-2021 E. L. Hamm, Sr. Award to Dr. Alkesh Punjabi, professor in the Hampton University School of Science. Since the 1960-61 academic year, Hampton University has recognized outstanding faculty members who have distinguished themselves in the endeavor of promoting quality, positivity, hard work, and service through The Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. In 1994, the award was renamed the Edward L. Hamm, Sr. Distinguished Teaching Award. Each year, one or two faculty members receive the award after being nominated by their peers and/or students and selected by the university president. The recipients consistently attain teaching excellence by going above and beyond in the classroom and inspiring their students to have a passion for learning and a commitment to excellence.
The keynote speaker, Atty. Spencer Overton, a 1990 graduate of Hampton University, is the President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which was founded in 1970 and is America’s Black think tank. Today, the Joint Center produces research and solutions on economic policy, workforce policy, tech policy, and diversity in congressional and presidential appointments. Atty. Overton is also a tenured professor at George Washington Law School, and he is the author of a book and several academic articles, think tank reports, and popular commentaries on race and public policy. Atty. Overton held several policy leadership roles on the 2007-2008 Obama presidential campaign, on the Obama transition team, and as a presidential appointee in the Obama Administration. He has also practiced law at the firm Debevoise & Plimpton, clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith. Atty. Overton graduated with honors from both Hampton University and Harvard Law School.
Hampton University is committed to maintaining the health and safety of the campus community and keeping our constituents informed. In light of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 78th Annual Opening Convocation Ceremony will be open for in-person attendance to currently enrolled Hampton University students, faculty, and staff. While we are disappointed that parents, alumni, and the general public cannot join the Hampton University family in person for this time-honored tradition, we strongly encourage everyone to celebrate the official start of the 2021-2022 academic year with us virtually at www.hamptonu.edu.
About Hampton University
For more than 150 years, Hampton University has been THE Standard of Excellence in higher education. Founded in 1868 by Brig. Gen. Samuel Chapman Armstrong, Hampton University has a long and storied history academics focused on educating the “head, heart and hand,” and emphasizing the development of character. From the sound foundation built by General Armstrong, Dr. William R. Harvey has elevated the institution to the now globally recognized powerhouse in higher education it is today. Dr. Harvey became Hampton’s 12th President in 1978 and during his four decades and counting tenure, the university has experienced accelerated growth and achieved notable accomplishments.