PINE BLUFF, AR – Johnny C. Taylor, current President and Chief Executive Officer of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and immediate past President and Chief Executive Office of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund will address the graduates at the spring commencement exercises on Saturday, May 12, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. at Pine Bluff Convention Center.

According to a press release from the university, Taylor is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest professional society. He previously served a two-year term as Chair of the SHRM Board of Directors in 2005 and 2006. Taylor is the immediate past President and Chief Executive Officer of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which represents nearly 300,000 students attending public Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In this role, he became a prolific fundraiser, amassing over $100 million in grants and gifts.

As an influencer in his field and community, he was named one of the Ebony Magazine “Power 100” in 2011. Previously, he held positions at IAC/Interactive Corp, first as its Senior Vice President of HR and then as President and Chief Executive Officer of one of IACs operating subsidiaries. Mr. Taylor’s career also spans nearly 15 years in the practice of law and HR,including as Litigation Partner and President of the HR consulting business of the law firm McGuireWoods LLC; Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Compass Group USA; General Counsel and Senior Vice President of HR for Viacom’s Paramount Pictures Live Entertainment Group; and Associate General Counsel and Vice President of HR for Blockbuster Entertainment Group.

In a 2018 White House ceremony, President Trump appointed Mr. Taylor Chairman of the President’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Additionally, he is currently serving on the corporate board of Gallup, the leader in organizational consulting and public opinion research, a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Miami and an Adviser to Safe Streets & Second Chances, an initiative to reduce the high rate of recidivism in America.

Taylor holds both a Doctor of Jurisprudence and a Master of Arts with honors from Drake University. He obtained a Bachelor of Science with honors from the University of Miami. He is licensed to practice law in Florida, Illinois and Washington, DC.

HOUSTON, TX – GRAMMY Award-winning Gospel singer, Yolanda Adams, will address graduates at Texas Southern University’s Winter Commencement on Saturday, December 16, 2017, at 9:30 p.m. in the Health and Physical Education Arena on campus.

According to a press release by the university, Adams has claimed five GRAMMY Awards and a host of Stellar, Dove and NAACP Image Awards during her 29-year career. She has earned other accolades from Billboard, BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), BET (Black Entertainment Television), as well as American Music and Soul Train Music Awards. Adams has recorded numerous Gospel Hits, including Be Blessed, Open My Heart, The Battle is the Lord’s, Hold On, Be Still, Continuous Praise, and many others.

“It is an honor and privilege to encourage our fall graduates on their special day. To graduate from a university is an undertaking that requires skill, discipline and perseverance until the desired outcome is met. I am proud to officially speak hope and positivity into their dreams,” Ms. Adams said.

Adams graduated from Texas Southern in 1984 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She went on to serve as an elementary school teacher in her native Houston before starting an illustrious music career in 1988.

NEW ORLEANS, L.A. – Dillard University (a private, liberal arts historically black college) located in New Orleans has announce that multi-talented superstar Janelle Monáe will deliver this year’s commencement address. The 81st Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 13, at 8 a.m., on the historic Avenue of the Oaks. The University will confer more than 160 undergraduate degrees that day.

According to the University’s press release, Monáe is a multi-Grammy nominated singer-songwriter, performer, actor, producer and CoverGirl spokesperson known for her unique style and groundbreaking sound. She’s also known for her activism speaking out against social justices, police brutality and civic rights. Last fall, Monáe launched Fem the Future, an initiative to create more opportunities to advance the awareness inclusion and opportunities for women and those identify as women through music, arts, mentorship and education.

“Janelle Monáe’s significant accomplishment in music and particularly, film and STEM, both signature programs here at Dillard, along with her activism made her the ideal person to deliver a timely message to our graduates,” President Walter M. Kimbrough, Ph.D., said. So for more than a year, he pursued Monáe for the University’s commencement speaker. Kimbrough tracked her down going through magazine reporters, record companies, and finally the national president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc, to get her to Dillard University. He said: “I believe this is her first commencement speech and we are very excited to see this day come.”

Monáe hasn’t allowed her fame to silence her from being vocal on injustices. Conversely, Monáe has used fame as a platform and her political activism is well-documented. During a 2015 performance on NBC’s “Today,” Monáe performed her protest song “Hell You Talmbout.” Last February, Monáe performed at a concert in Flint, Mich., to raise money for the city’s recent water crisis. In January, after the most recent presidential election, she spoke and performed at the Women’s March on Washington that drew a record-breaking crowd.

As 2016 closed, Monáe took her talent to the silver screen, starring as a lead actor in the dramas Hidden Figures and Moonlight. Both films earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture, with Moonlight winning the award at the 89th Academy Awards. Hidden Figures centers around the true story of three African-American women who work for NASA and help make John Glenn the first person to orbit the Earth in 1962. The film also stars Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, and Kevin Costner. Hidden Figures won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Moonlight, produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment and A24, chronicles the coming-of-age of Chiron (Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes), a young man facing an uphill battle with his sexuality during Miami’s turbulent war-on-drugs era in the 1970s. Moonlight also stars Naomie Harris, André Holland and Mahershala Ali.

Using Hidden Figures as a catalyst, Monae has become an advocate for STEM, and in a interview with Teen Vogue she said: “I hope we see more girls from all backgrounds working in STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] as a result of it being on-screen.”
For more information regarding Commencement, visit Dillard University’s website at www.dillard.edu.