Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper, AFRO CEO and Publisher

By Abel Communications

Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper to address this year’s graduates, nearly 50 years to the day after receiving her master’s degree 

The AFRO, the oldest Black-owned business in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, is proud to ring in the 2023 graduation season with news that CEO and Publisher Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper was named graduation speaker for the Johns Hopkins School of Education.

An alumna in her own right, Dr. Draper earned her master’s degree in education from Johns Hopkins University in 1973, enhancing her existing work teaching in Baltimore City Public Schools.

As she told the University recently “Johns Hopkins was instrumental in my career. My master’s degree in education formalized and enriched what I was already doing in the classroom and made me a complete teacher.”

Dr. Draper’s decorated educational career also includes a bachelor’s in Spanish language education from Morgan State University, advanced degrees in business administration from University of Baltimore, pastoral counseling from Loyola College (Loyola University Maryland), and a doctorate in ministry from United Theological Seminary. 

From the pulpit of South Baltimore’s Freedom Temple AME Zion Church, to the podium before the class of 2023, Draper aims to inspire the next generation of leaders to enrich their communities and classrooms.

Draper told JHU “I’m just hoping to be an inspiration to the graduating class the way I hope they will be to their students. Follow your passions. Make the most of your skills and your time. And never forget: Character is important. I can’t teach you something I’m not trying to live [by] myself.”

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