Activist, therapist, author, designer and prosecutor among this year’s commencement speakers
5/5/2022, 6 p.m.
Area colleges and universities are returning to in-person commencements this year after two years of relying on virtual ceremonies because of COVID-19.
Here is a roundup of commencement ceremonies and speakers for area colleges and universities:
Virginia Union University:
Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m. at Hovey Stadium, 1500 N. Lombardy St. Individual school celebrations will take place at 1 p.m. on campus.
Speaker for the 123rd commencement is social justice activist Tamika Mallory, co-president of the 2017 Women’s March that took place the day after former President Trump took office. Women gathered on the National Mall in Washington and in cities across the nation and around the world to protest the inauguration of a man who had been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women, an allegation he denied. The march also advocated for women’s rights, racial justice, health care and immigration reform and the rights of people in the LGBTQ community. Drawing more than 500,000 to Washington alone, the march has been called one of the largest, single-day demonstrations in the nation’s history.
Ms. Mallory will also receive an honorary degree from VUU during the ceremony, along with 4th District Congressman A. Donald McEachin of Richmond; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Paul Williams of Richmond, a VUU alumnus; and the Rev. Gina Marcia Stewart, pastor of Christ Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis and the first woman president of the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention. Rev. Stewart also is a visiting professor of practical theology at VUU’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology.
University of Richmond:
Sunday, May 8, at 2 p.m. in the Robins Center Arena, 365 College Road on the campus.
Best-selling author Kelly Corrigan, a 1989 UR graduate whose podcast “Kelly Corrigan Wonders” has more than 4 million downloads, will be the commencement speaker. She became well known in 2009 after a series of public appearances, including on “The Today Show” with her father after they both recovered from chemotherapy.
Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette W. McEachin will deliver the commencement address at the UR Law School ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Robins Center Arena.
In November 2019, Mrs. McEachin became the first woman and the first African-American woman ever elected Richmond commonwealth’s attorney. She served previously as deputy commonweath’s attorney, responsible for supervising prosecutors in Richmond General District Court.
Brightpoint Community College (formally John Tyler Community College):
Friday, May 13, at the Virginia State University Multi-Purpose Center, 20809 2nd Ave., in Petersburg.
The community college is holding two ceremonies that day. The first one is at 1:30 p.m. to celebrate the 2020 and 2021 graduates. Speaker: Alicia Alvarez, Class of 2020, and past president of the Student Government Association.
The second ceremony celebrating 2022 graduates will be held at 4:30 p.m. Speaker: Jada Fernandez, Class of 2022, the communications coordinator for Brightpoint’s Student Government Association.
Virginia State University:
Saturday, May 14, at 9 a.m. in the VSU Multi-Purpose Center.
VSU alumna and motivational speaker Dr. Khaalida Forbes will deliver the commencement address. Dr. Forbes, who earned her bachelor’s degree from VSU and a master’s in divinity from Howard University and a doctor of ministry degree, is a therapist, entrepreneur and mental health advocate. She is the founder and chief executive officer of Khaalida Forbes Enterprises, a company offering opportunities for mental, emotional, relational and spiritual transformation.
Virginia Commonwealth University:
Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. to noon at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
Charlotte Moss, an internationally recognized interior designer and author and VCU alumna, is delivering the commencement address. Ms. Moss has 37 years of experience in the business of design and is the author of 11 books, including her most recent work, “Home: A Celebration: Notable Voices Reflect on the Meaning of Home,” which benefits the nonprofit “No Kid Hungry.”
Reynolds Community College:
Sunday, May 15, at 2 p.m. at the Virginia Commonwealth University Siegel Center, 1200 W. Broad St.
Speakers include former Richmond City Council President Kathy Graziano, chair of the Reynolds Community College board; student Kanika Morris of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Reynolds engineering instructor and program head Sylvia Clay, who is president of the Faculty Senate.