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SU students, families celebrate Fall 08 and Spring, Summer 09 commencement - Friday, July 31, 2009

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin was the keynote speaker for Southern University Baton Rouge’s Summer Commencement on July 31. Franklin displays an plaque presented to her from the Southern University, Baton Rouge in appreciation of her service.
Atlanta mayor encourages summer grads


Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin was the keynote speaker for Southern University Baton Rouge’s Summer Commencement on July 31.

Degrees were awarded to 215 students during ceremonies in the Felton G. Clark Activity Center.

Franklin, the first female mayor of Atlanta, encouraged the graduates to “not forget the folks that brought us thus far.”

Franklin said she and the graduates did not plant the trees under which they now have shade.

“Other people planted the tree, so that I might have shade,” she said, encouraging the new graduates to plant trees for others.

The top graduate for the summer commencement was Suhail Vally, who received his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He plans to attend the University of Leicester in England to work on his master’s degree.

Valley, a student-athlete who came to Southern on a golf schlorship, was joined by some members of his family who traveled to the U.S. from Zambia.

“It’s just unbelievable to come all the way from Africa and be the first from my family to graduate,” said Vally.


SU Board chair delivers fall 2008 commencement address


Southern University, Baton Rouge held its fall commencement exercises last December in the Felton G. Clark Activity Center where 519 undergraduate and graduate students received degree diplomas.

Then newly elected chair of the Southern University Board of Supervisors Attorney Antonio ‘Tony’ Clayton delivered the keynote address.

Clayton, an alumnus of the university and its law center, was one of the prosecutors in the Louisiana serial killer, Derrick Todd Lee trial.

SUBR degrees were presented by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Mwalimu J. Shujaa and conferred by Chancellor Kofi Lomotey.

Julian Herbert of Port Allen was the chief student marshal. Herbert graduated with a 3.8 grade point average and received a degree in business management.


SU graduates urged to 'be the answer' to society problem


Nearly 600 Southern University, Baton Rouge graduates were told during the Spring 2009 commencement to see themselves “as the answer” whenever they see societal problems that need to be solved.

Speaking to the graduates and another 5,000 people in attendance, commencement speaker the Rev. Frederick Haynes III said to beware of racism and sexism which have “high-jacked the dreams” of many young people. “Hold fast to your dreams,” said the pastor of the 12,000-member Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas.

The author and radio talk show host told the students that they are graduating at troubled time in the country’s history and that it is generally during bad times that people rise up to “give birth to a brand new generation” that will bring change.

The spring 2009 graduating class of 583 students was lead by chief student marshal Almarie Soto-Ortiz. The Secondary Education Mathematics’ major from Hope Hill, N.C., had a 3.94 g.p.a. Soto-Ortiz, who strongly professes her Puerto Rican heritage, was also captain of Southern’s women’s soccer team.

“I am so excited about what I have been able to achieve at Southern University,” she said. “This is a great moment for me and my family. I will always remember my time here.”

In a solemn moment during the ceremony, SU Baton Rouge Chancellor Dr. Kofi Lomotey awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management posthumously to the family of the late Delonda Jean Batiste, who would have graduated this spring.

Haynes is senior pastor of the more than 12,000-member Friendship-West Baptist Church. He is founder and CEO of FDH Ministries, Inc., and chairman of the board of FW Empowerment, a community development corporation of the church.


Sorority national president address SUNO graduates


Southern University, New Orleans awarded a 391 master’s, bachelor’s and associate’s degrees during spring commencement exercises on May 9 at the New Orleans Lakefront Arena.

Top graduates were Angela Saragusa Bernard, Aaron Michael DeGruy, Carmen JoAnn Maldonado, who each earned summa cum laude honors. DeGruy was SUNO Student Government Association President, 2008-2009.

The commencement address was delivered by Cynthia Butler-McIntyre, the 24th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated who also is an administrator with Jefferson Parish Public Schools.

Butler-McIntyre has served as the national leader of Delta Sigma Theta since August of 2008. As an educator, the New Orleans native has served the Jefferson Parish school system on various levels. Butler-McIntyre has served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. Her professional experience also includes serving as executive director of Tech-Prep Summer Program at Delgado Community College as well as the assistant coordinator of field experiences and College of Education supervisor for early childhood student teaching experiences for the University of New Orleans.


SUSLA holds spring commenent.


Two hundred seventy-nine graduates were awarded associate degrees and certifications during Southern University, Shreveport’s 42nd commencement ceremony at the Shreveport Convention Center in early May..

Attorney Antonio “Tony” M. Clayton, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Southern University and A & M College System delivered the 2009 commencement address.

The student marshal Carlissa Myles, who had a 3.581 grade point average, received an associate of science in chemistry.


Law Center graduates 120


Judge Reggie B. Walton of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia delivered the 2009 Commencement address for Southern University Law Center, May 16, in the F.G. Clark Activity Center on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus.

More than 120 graduates received the Juris Doctor Degree this year. Houston lawyer Isaac Henderson was honored as Golden Alumnus. He graduated from the law center 50 years ago.

Walton, who assumed his position as a United States District Judge on October 29, 2001, is also serving a seven-year appointment as a judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. He was appointed by President Bush in June of 2004 to serve as the chairperson of the National Prison Rape Reduction Commission, a two-year commission created by the United States Congress that is tasked with the mission of identifying methods to curb the incidents of prison rape. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist appointed him to the federal judiciary’s Criminal Law Committee in 2005.
Walton previously served as an associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, where he was the court’s presiding judge of the Family Division, presiding judge of the Domestic Violence Unit and deputy presiding judge of the Criminal Division.
Judge Walton served as President George H. W. Bush’s Associate Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and as President Bush’s Senior White House Advisor for Crime.

Judge Walton is a former executive assistant United States Attorney and assistant U.S. Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney in Washington, D.C. He was also the chief of the Career Criminal Unit in the United States Attorney’s Office and a former staff attorney in the Defender Association of Philadelphia.