[RICHMOND, VA – April 19, 2022] -- Virginia Union University (VUU) will hold its 123rd Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 7, at 10:00 AM on Hovey Field with individual school celebrations taking place on campus at 1:00 PM. This year, American activist, Tamika Mallory will deliver the commencement address.
“Among our value propositions here at the university, we aim to develop students who are socially responsible and ethically and ethnically conscious,” said Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President and CEO of VUU. “We are excited to have Tamika Mallory speak to our graduating students, as her experience in activism speaks directly to our goals for the future leaders of America.”
Mallory, a groundbreaking, award-winning social justice leader and movement strategist, made history when she helped spearhead the largest, single-day demonstration, the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, where she served as one of its four national co-chairs.
As the most sought after, influential activist of her generation, Mallory served as the youngest ever Executive Director of the National Action Network and was instrumental in the creation of the New York City’s Crisis Management System, an official gun violence prevention program that awards nearly $27 million to violence prevention organizations annually. Most recently, she co-founded Until Freedom, an intersectional social justice organization that serves as a clearing house for organizers, activists, movement attorneys, artists, celebrities, and formerly incarcerated individuals. Mallory, alongside “Raptivist” Mysonne Linen, co-hosts the newly launched “Street Politicians” podcast on iHeart Radio’s Black Effect Network.
Mallory has been honored as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People and was featured on Fortune’s list of the World’s Greatest Leaders. The title of her forthcoming book, STATE OF EMERGENCY, is birthed from the urgent declaration she made in the opening of her speech during the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis. Mallory, who will also receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, is one of four Honorary Degree recipients to be recognized during the commencement exercises.
The university will also award United States Representative A. Donald McEachin with an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree, American journalist Michael Paul Williams with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and Reverend Gina Marcia Stewart with an Honorary Doctor of Divinity.
Representative A. Donald McEachin
Rep. McEachin was first elected to represent the 4th Congressional District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives on November 8, 2016. He serves as co-chair of the House Democratic Environmental Message Team, co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus’ Transportation, Infrastructure, Environment and Energy Policy Council, and vice-chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC). During his first term in Congress, Rep. McEachin co-founded the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Congressional Task Force and continues to lead the task force as a co-chair. Rep. McEachin graduated from American University with a degree in Political Science and from the University of Virginia School of Law. In May of 2008, he received his Master of Divinity from The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.
Michael Paul Williams
Michael Paul Williams is an American journalist and columnist of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He joined the paper in 1982 and in 1992, became the first African American columnist for the Times-Dispatch. In 2021, Williams was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary for “penetrating and historically insightful columns that guided Richmond, a former capital of the Confederacy, through the painful and complicated process of dismantling the city's monuments to white supremacy.”
Reverend Dr. Gina Marcia Stewart
Dr. Stewart is the pastor of Christ Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. She was elected to serve as pastor in 1995, making her the first African American female elected to serve an established African American Baptist congregation in Memphis and Shelby County. Dr. Stewart currently serves as President of the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention, where she became the first female president in the organization’s history. Dr. Stewart is the founder of Greater Works, Inc., a non-profit organization devoted to philanthropy and ministry development. In 2021, she was awarded the prestigious President's Volunteer Service Award and pin, bestowed upon her by President Joseph R. Biden. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and serves as a trustee for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Pastor’s Conference and Visiting Professor of Practical Theology for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at VUU.
For more information about 2022 Spring Commencement and to see locations for individual school celebrations, visit the university’s website.
About Virginia Union University
Virginia Union University is a premier liberal arts institution and publicly serving HBCU with recognition as a private institution through the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Founded in 1865, Virginia Union University was originally established to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. Today, the University is a center for excellence focusing on preparing and developing today’s students to become advanced leaders of tomorrow. Virginia Union University’s programs offer a broad range of both undergraduate and graduate educational opportunities in high-demand fields that advance liberal arts education, teaching, research, science, technology, civic engagement, and international experiences. Visit www.vuu.edu for more information.