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Opening Convocation Address Reaches Back to Propel Howard Forward

The Honorable Isiah Legget Speaks of Predecessors and Successor of Legacy

Opening Convocation was held in Cramton Auditorium on Sept. 20. Here attendees join hands to sing the alma mater.

By Mosiah Asad Williams

Howard University held its 152nd Opening Convocation on Friday, Sept. 20, with the Honorable Isiah “Ike” Legget, former Montgomery County executive and County Council member in Maryland for three decades delivering the Convocation address.

Convocation began with the Academic Procession, where faculty, distinguished professors and alumni were led to the right mezzanine and onstage. 

After the Academic Procession the Dean of the Chapel, Rev. Dr. Bernard L. Richardson, gave the Invocation, which was followed by the Welcome, delivered by President Wayne A. I. Frederick. 

President Frederick welcomed the Class of 2023 and gave praise to the students, faculty and alumni of Howard University. He urged the class of 2023 to “honor our past and look towards our future,” with a message characterized by work to be done on campus and abroad. 

“Some of us will not be here for the 300th convocation,” he said before continuing to urge students to participate in the Climate Strike and alluded to the attitudes towards immigration and recent disasters that are affecting people of color. 

Legget mirrored the President’s message with a tribute to Howard alumna Toni Morrison, the power of language, and a personal narrative in which he described his upbringing and the injustices he faced. When referring to Morrison, Legget attributed her legacy-worthy admiration to her willingness to write black stories that basked in rawness.

 “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it,” he quoted from Morrison, urging the incoming class to be trailblazers in their respective fields as their predecessors have before them.

“The essence of Howard has been manifested through the Civil Rights Era, the Vietnam War protest, and many other important moments along the way,” Legget said.

He called the incoming class to follow in the University’s history of offering solution to the problems affecting our community. 

Members of the Howard Community were energized by the ceremony.

“It [Convocation] definitely fueled me to want to be more active and be more aware; and not only being aware, but utilizing the knowledge I receive from these talks and conferences and actually implementing work that I can do, like with gardening and rebuilding communities,” Keimi Keari, sophomore transfer student, said of her first Convocation.

Classes were suspended the morning of Convocation to allow students and faculty the availability to attend.

September 21, 2019