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Faculty members give parting words to the 2024 graduating class

Howard University professors and other campus leaders share motivational words for the class of 2024 as they prepare to tackle the world.

Students gather at the 2023 commencement ceremony. (Chandler Kinsey/The Hilltop)

As the class of 2024 prepares to graduate, faculty around the university share their parting words with graduating students, applauding their efforts and wishing them well in their future endeavors.

Dr. Dana Williams – Dean of the Graduate School and professor of African American literature 

“Congratulations to the Class of 2024 (with a special shout out to COAS students from Freshman Seminar 2020, the DuBois Education of Black People, COVID-19 edition). Your faculty are as proud of you as we are excited about what the future holds for you and our shared communities. 

Whether we say it or not, we count it a real privilege to have spent these critical years as a part of your learning community. You’re as much a part of us as we are a part of you. Howard has done its part in educating you. Now go and make the world better for all of us. And always, in all ways remember alma mater and all she stands for. Be peace and do justice.”

Dr. Samuel Akinribade – Professor of accounting in the Department of Accounting

“Today is the seed for tomorrow. What you do today will determine the outcomes of tomorrow. Choose Wisely.”

Dr. Tony Medina – Professor of creative writing in the Department of English

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“For the graduates—Congratulations! You have completed your first mission at the preeminent HBCU in the nation. For four years you have been charged for leadership. With that in mind, always move in the world by honoring your parents, your community, your heritage, your ancestors and above all – your precious souls and human imagination. 

Tackle the world as you always have – with dignity, responsibility, excellence and grace.”

Dr. Teletia Taylor – Professor of medicine and public health in the Department of Medicine

“My advice to the graduating class is to be sure to reach back and mentor younger Bison. Your experiences are invaluable. Also, remember, now that you have a Howard University degree, you are equipped to take on anything that you encounter! Congratulations!”

Dr. Gwendolyn Everett – Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and professor of art history in the Department of Art

“Dear Class of 2024: Congratulations!  Your amazing achievements are both a testament to your personal resilience and to your ‘Bison Pride.’ Nothing stood in your way—not COVID or political and social unrest. Not only did you strive for greatness, but your many accomplishments prove that your future shines brighter every day. The faculty and staff in the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts are so proud of you—’Art Stars’—and we wish you nothing but success as you embark on the new journey ahead.”

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Dr Shana O’Connell – Professor of classical art and mythology in the Department of Classics

“My advice to all you amazing 2024 graduates of Howard University:

You are unique and unrepeatable. This means you have many gifts, from the support of all who made your graduation possible to your talents and drive. Share these gifts and use them to cultivate yourself. Keep the words of Howard University—veritas et utilitas–at the front of your mind in all that you do.

For those of you who I’ve been fortunate to get to know during your time at Howard, thank you for teaching me as well. To each and every one of the Class of ’24: congratulations and best wishes on the next stage of your career.”

Dr. Rachel Watson – Professor of English in the Department of English

“Congratulations, seniors! As you leave Howard, I hope you carry with you all of the love, strength and critical thinking skills that you nurtured while in community here and I hope you remember always that the world needs you — so take good care of yourselves! 

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I hope too that you feel proud of yourselves for all of the hard work and determination it took you to get here. Howard graduates change the world and I’m looking forward to seeing how the class of 2024 is going to do it.”

Dr. Ofosuwa Abiola – Associate Dean of Research and Creative Endeavors and professor of Africana dance history in the College of Fine Arts

“Congratulations! You are changemakers and are the epitome of courage and brilliance. You entered Howard during a global pandemic, but you embraced the growth that emerges from challenge and became the hope that the generation behind you will be able to rely on. From your actions during the short time you were here at the Mecca, I know that instead of running away, you will run towards the cultural, economic, and technological problems of the world and make unimaginable contributions for solving them. We are all so proud of you! You’ve got this!”

The Class of 2024 graduation recognition ceremonies will take place on May 9 and 10, with the university-wide commencement occurring at the Capital One Arena in Washington D.C., on May 11. The commencement speaker will be Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America).

Copy edited by D’ara Campbell

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