NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – During Tennessee State University’s highest and most dignified academic ceremony, nearly 500 undergraduate and graduate students in various disciplines will take their final walk as they graduate Dec. 12, 9 a.m. in the Howard C. Gentry Complex on the main campus, during the 2015 Fall Commencement.
In what may be the end, and for others, a continuation of their academic journey, the graduates will be celebrated with pomp and circumstance, and extended words of wisdom from Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund, the featured Commencement speaker. Lomax has served in his current role with UNCF, the nation’s largest provider of scholarships and other educational support to African-American students, since 2004. Under his leadership, UNCF has raised $2.3 billion and helped more than 92,000 students earn college degrees and launch careers. Annually, UNCF’s work enables 60,000 students to go to college with UNCF scholarships and attend its 37 member historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Before coming to UNCF, Lomax was president of Dillard University in New Orleans and a literature professor at UNCF-member institutions, Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. He also served as chairman of the Fulton County Commission in Atlanta, the first African-American elected to that post.
“Dr. Lomax has done outstanding work advocating for students of color to receive funding support in pursuit of higher education,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Over the years, his efforts and that of so many UNCF and TSU supporters, has benefitted many Tennessee State students who now call themselves graduates of the university. We expect that he will deliver an energetic and timely message to our graduates.”
At UNCF’s helm, Lomax oversees the organization’s 400 scholarship programs, which awards 10,000 scholarships a year worth more than $100 million. He also launched the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building, which helps UNCF’s 37-member historically black colleges and universities become stronger, more effective and more self-sustaining. Under Lomax’s leadership, UNCF has fought for college readiness and education reform through partnerships with reform-focused leaders and organizations. He serves on the boards of Teach for America and the KIPP Foundation.
“This is our first opportunity to hear Dr. Lomax as Commencement speaker and we are looking forward to the inspiring and encouraging message he has for our students,” said Dr. John Cade, Interim Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Support Services.
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About Tennessee State University
With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.