Morgan alumna April D. Ryan will deliver keynote at 2021 Fall Commencement. Pictured here, Ms. Ryan photographed with MSU Board of Regent Chair Congressman Kweisi Mfume (left) and MSU President David K. Wilson as she receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Morgan Commencement Ceremony in 2017. (Photos Courtesy of Office of Morgan State University)

More Than 500 Anticipated to Graduate at University’s Eighth Annual Fall Conferring of Degrees

By Morgan State U

BALTIMORE — Morgan State University (MSU) President David K. Wilson announced today that April D. Ryan, White House correspondent, CNN political analyst and Washington, D.C. bureau chief for TheGrio, will serve as the keynote speaker for the 8th Fall Commencement Exercises at the National Treasure. Ryan, a celebrated and widely respected journalist, and proud Morgan alumna, returns to alma mater to deliver a message of inspiration before more than 500 anticipated graduates, members of the faculty, University officials and guests on Friday, December 17, at Talmadge L. Hill Field House. Ryan last participated in a Morgan Commencement in 2017, during the University’s sesquicentennial year, where she received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

The occasion marks a welcomed return to an in-person Fall Commencement ceremony at Morgan following the previous year’s pandemic-deferred exercises. Graduates being honored—those receiving undergraduate as well as master’s and doctoral degrees—will receive four tickets for guests and all those in attendance will be required to wear masks and adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols during events.

April Ryan (Photo Courtesy of April D. Ryan)

“April Ryan is uniquely positioned to deliver an inspiring and uplifting message to our graduates in a way that very few others in this era can do and in a manner that is both highly relatable and equally captivating,” said President Wilson. “She has had a front-row seat in observing the challenges to our democracy and the social awakening this country tumultuously navigated to crescendo effect with the murder of George Floyd. Ms. Ryan has been a conscientious purveyor of this land’s most cherished freedoms—holding true to the tenets of ‘a free media’ and serving the people with a virtuous pen.”

One of the nation’s prominent and most distinguished veteran journalists, April Ryan has cemented her brand as a political commentator amid a teeming landscape of traditional, print, broadcast and digital media. She is a 1989 graduate of Morgan State University and Baltimore native who began her career as News Director at Baltimore’s beloved WXYV-FM, “V-103.” Transitioning from the airwaves of her hometown radio station, Ryan broadened her reach to nationwide audiences at American Urban Radio Networks (AURN). At AURN, Ryan was retained to be the Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for the national syndicate—a role she has preserved through today serving as the current Washington, D.C. bureau chief for TheGrio.

As a White House Correspondent under five U.S. presidents, Ryan has a unique vantage point as the only Black woman reporter covering urban issues affording her unusual insight into the racial sensitivities, issues and attendant political struggles of the nation’s Executive Office. These insights and experiences have formed building blocks for Ryan’s advocacy and engagement. She gives back to the community by serving as a mentor to aspiring journalists and assisting with developing “up and coming” broadcasters.

April Ryan (Photo Courtesy of April D. Ryan)

“Ms. Ryan has lived the Morgan experience and is the embodiment of Morgan Made. Our graduates will be well-served hearing from this celebrated Morgan alumna at this poignant time,” added Wilson.

Ryan has covered, traveled extensively with and interviewed presidents and first ladies, amassing a credentialed career as a political analyst who has frequented CNN and MSNBC as a recurring guest, in addition to appearances on NBC’s Meet the PressABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and CBS’s Face the Nation. In 2011, April Ryan became the third African American elected to the prestigious White House Correspondents Association in its 107-year history, and she has received many other awards for her news coverage and political commentary, including the 2014 Capital Press Club’s North Star, Voice of Black America Award. In 2015, Ryan was nominated for an NAACP Image Award (Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author) for her first book and was named the Mary McCloud Bethune Trailblazer by the National Council of Negro Women in the subsequent year.

In 2017, Ryan was named “Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists and, in 2019, was recognized as the Freedom of the Press Award Winner by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. In 2021, she was nominated to receive an NAACP Image Award for Social Justice Impact.

Previously featured in EssenceVogueCosmopolitan and Elle magazines, Ryan is an award-winning author, as well, having penned The Presidency in Black and White, and At Mama’s Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White, where she examined race relations through the lessons and wisdom that mothers have given their children. Her latest book is Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House.


About Morgan

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution offering nearly 140 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, and the only university to have its entire campus designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit www.morgan.edu.

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