President Barack Obama speaks to the overflow room of students, Thursday, April 7, 2016, at the University of Chicago Law School in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack H. Obama will act as keynote speaker at this year’s Howard University commencement ceremony, the White House announced April 14.
The event will be held May 7 on the Upper Quadrangle of Howard’s main campus. The nation’s 44th president will address the closing class of 2016 and affiliated staff and alumni, and the HBCU will bestow upon the president its highest honor, the “Doctor of Laws” honorary degree.
“It is an extraordinary honor and privilege for the Howard University community to welcome President Barack H. Obama to our campus to deliver the 2016 commencement address,” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement.
“As we look into the not so distant future, Howard will commemorate its 150th anniversary in March 2017, emboldened by a legacy of addressing disparities that are inextricably intertwined with this nation’s legacy of equality and inclusivity,” Frederick added. “President Obama’s own legacy gives the Howard Community great expectations for the leadership footprint it will leave on America and the globe.”
The address will be the third time in Obama’s presidency that he has delivered a commencement address at a historically Black university and will be the sixth time a sitting U.S. president delivers the keynote address at Howard.
In line with much of Obama’s education agenda, which focuses to a significant degree on increasing academic achievement among students of color, Howard University will award more than 1,300 bachelor’s degrees, more than 300 master’s Degrees, and more than 100 doctorates during the graduation.
In addition to Howard, Obama also will offer his final commencement speeches as president at Rutgers University and the Air Force Academy.