Congressman John Lewis speaks to the crowd

On May 10, Hampton University’s Armstrong Stadium was filled with sunny skies overhead and wide smiles inside for the University’s 145th Annual Commencement ceremony.  Keynote speaker U.S. Congressman John Lewis told the 847 Hampton University graduates that it was their moral obligation to do what they can to bring about positive change in the world.


The Class of 2015 celebrates their accomplishments.

“You have to find a way to get in the way. Get in good trouble. Use it to bring about a non-violent revolution,” Lewis said. He has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties and building what he calls the “The Beloved Community in America.”

Lewis urged the HU Class of 2015 to, get out there and help those who are left behind. “You have a mission, a mandate and a moral obligation to do what you can.”

During the ceremony, HU President Dr. William R. Harvey conferred an Honorary Degree Doctor of Laws on Lewis. There were also 4 HU alumni honored during the ceremony. Harvey presented the alumnus-at-large award to University of Maryland Baltimore County President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski and his wife community activist Mrs. Jacqueline Hrabowski. The Outstanding Twenty-Year Alumnus award was presented to Jenifer P. Abubakari and Dr. Sonya J. Snedecor.

The Valedictorian of the HU Class of 2015 is Symone Alexander Gyles. Gyles is a marine environmental science major from Springfield, Va.  The salutatorian is Nehanda Akwasiba Ase Khemet, a psychology major from Sacramento, California.

Harvey charged the graduates to serve themselves and their alma mater well. “Let your education at Hampton University serve as your foundation as you build your careers.”