In a press release that surfaced Thursday, Howard University President, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick announced the inclusion of Obama in the annual event, which is set to take place on May 7. The commander-in-chief will not only speak to the Class of 2016, their families, University trustees, officers, faculty, staff, and alumni, he will also receive Howard’s highest honor, an honorary degree known as the Doctor of Laws.
“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,” Frederick said in the release, while noting the school’s 150th anniversary next year and Obama’s lasting impact on Howard through his legacy.
“The President’s commitment to education, especially for those who can least afford it, dovetails with Howard’s commitment to provide these same students with a rigorous, intellectually-stimulating, and academically-challenging educational experience,” he added. “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. President Obama’s own legacy gives the Howard Community great expectations for the leadership footprint it will leave on America and the globe.”
Obama won’t be the only person receiving an honorary degree this year. The president will be in esteemed company will fellow degree recipients L.D. Britt, M.D., MPH; Ambassador Horace Greeley Dawson Jr.; and actress Cicely Tyson.
“The Howard University community offers its congratulations to all of the honorary degree recipients, who honor us with their acceptance of the awards. We are extremely pleased that President Obama has accepted our invitation to receive the honorary Doctor of Laws degree and address the class of 2016. His will be compelling words of encouragement for our students as they move forward with their commitment to truth and service,” said Stacey J. Mobley, Esq., Chairman of the Howard University Board of Trustees. “President Obama’s world leader insights and his commitment to justice, equality, and inclusivity will make this year’s commencement ceremony historic and uniquely special for everyone who has contributed to Howard University’s legacy.”
Overall, more than 1,300 bachelor’s degrees, more than 300 master’s degrees, and more than 100 PhDs, will be awarded at Howard’s commencement as top concentrations include Psychology, History, Political Science, Social Work, and Mathematics.
Adding to the special day will be professional degrees in Law, Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry being handed out to more than 400 students will receive professional degrees in Law, Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry.