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Howard Announces Joe Biden as 155th Commencement Speaker

President Biden’s presidential photo. Photo courtesy of The White House.

Howard University announced that President Joe Biden will deliver the 155th Commencement Convocation keynote speech this week.

Biden, 80, will address more than 2,000 graduates and their families at the ceremony on May 13, which will return to its traditional location on The Yard, if weather permits. 

In a press release from the university, President Wayne A. I. Frederick shared his excitement in welcoming the 46th president to Howard, where he will be awarded the honorary Doctor of Letters.

This year’s commencement ceremony will be Frederick’s last as the university president. Earlier this month, Howard’s Board of Trustees selected Dr. Ben Vinson III as the 18th president of the university. Vinson will assume his role as president in September.  

“It is an honor and privilege to welcome President Biden to deliver the 2023 commencement address and celebrate the graduating Class of 2023,” Frederick said. “This honorary Doctor of Letters is much deserved for his years of transformational service as U.S. Senator, Vice President and now as President of the United States. We are excited to receive the President as this year’s distinguished guest and recognize him for his relentless work uplifting our communities that have been historically left behind.”

The commencement ceremony will be the first time the president visits the university since 2016, when he hosted the Cancer Moonshot Initiative Summit as vice president during the Obama-Biden administration. 

Since taking office in 2021, members of the Biden-Harris administration have made multiple visits to Howard, the alma mater of Vice President Kamala Harris. Last month, Harris spoke to Howard students and young voters about the importance of reproductive rights. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg also recently visited the university to celebrate Howard’s $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to lead a Tier-1 Transportation Center

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Biden’s keynote speech will come as Howard’s seventh address by a sitting U.S. president to commencement ceremony graduates. Howard’s convocation will be the first commencement ceremony the president will speak at this year, followed by the U.S. Air Force Academy in June. 

The news of Biden’s upcoming commencement speech was first reported online Saturday afternoon by Watch the Yard, and comes nearly two weeks after Biden declared his run for presidential re-election

Additional information regarding Howard University’s 155th Commencement Convocation is available on the university website.  

Copy edited by N’dia Webb

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