TUSKEGEE, Ala. — U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., will be the keynote speaker for Tuskegee University's 123rd commencement exercises, 9:30 a.m. May 11 in the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education on campus.
“We are honored to have Congressman Clyburn as our speaker for this important occasion,” Tuskegee president Benjamin Payton said. “He is one of the most powerful men in the U.S. Congress and exemplifies success and integrity, which we strive to instill in all of our students.”
Clyburn, who was the guest speaker for 21st Annual Black History Observance breakfast in Columbus on Feb. 18, is the majority whip and third ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves the 16th District of South Carolina, which he has represented since 1993 in the House. He was unanimously elected Majority Whip for the 110th Congress in 2006.
He is the first South Carolinian and the second African American to be chosen for the position, where he also serves as leader of the House Democrats’ Faith Working Group. His previous political posts include South Carolina Human Affairs Commissioner, which he served 18 years; Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus; and Chair of the Caucus.
Clyburn, a vocal civil rights supporter, graduated from Mather Academy in Camden, S.C., and became a student leader at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg. He and his wife, Emily, have raised over $1.5 million for an archives and history endowment they have established at the school, of which both are alumni. Sixteen other colleges and universities have awarded him honorary degrees.
Clyburn will address over 500 graduates receiving bachelors, masters, and graduate degrees. The commencement exercises are traditionally held on Mother’s Day.