Kamala D. Harris, the second Black woman ever elected to the United States Senate, will return to Howard University – her alma mater – May 13 to deliver the keynote address at the school’s 149th commencement convocation, according to a statement from the school.
Harris, the Democratic junior senator from California, graduated from Howard in 1986 with a degree in political science/economics. She went on to earn her juris doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
On Twitter, Harris said she can’t wait to give the commencement address to her alma mater.
Harris, 52, is also the first African American and the first woman to serve as attorney general for the state of California. She has spent her career advocating for children and students, creating California’s Bureau of Children’s Justice and working to reduce elementary school truancy. She also successfully sued for-profit colleges that targeted students and veterans.
“Howard shaped, nurtured, and challenged me to soar on my chosen path, and I’m honored to speak to the class of 2017 to encourage them to pursue their own dreams and live up to the promise of Howard,” Harris said in a statement. “Howard University has instilled in generations of students the drive to serve others and to truly believe that anything is possible.”
Howard will award bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and doctorates on commencement day. Officials will also issue degrees in law, medicine, pharmacy and dentistry.
In a statement, Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick said he has no doubt graduates will find Harris “thought provoking and inspiring.”
“Throughout her trailblazing career, Senator Harris has demonstrated her commitment to youth in a variety of ways,” Frederick said in a statement. “She is a leader in mentorship programs, has authored legislation to fight child exploitation and unashamedly shattered both racial and gender barriers.”