Tom Joyner, a syndicated radio host and founder of the Tom Joyner Foundation, will be the commencement speaker at Shaw University, Tennessee State University and Meharry Medical College next month.

Joyner, 67, has hosted the Tom Joyner Morning Show since 1994 and is now heard in more than 100 markets across the country. Since 1999, the Tom Joyner Foundation has raised more than $60 million to help keep students enrolled at historically black colleges and universities.

Joyner was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, and attended Tuskegee University, where he majored in sociology and worked for the college radio station. He began his broadcasting career as soon as he graduated and worked at several radio stations in the South and Midwest before settling in Chicago in the late 1970s.

Joyner will speak at Tennessee State University’s commencement on Saturday, May 6 at 8 a.m. in the William Jasper Hale Stadium on the main campus. Shaw’s commencement on Saturday, May 13 at 10 a.m. at the Raleigh Convention Center. And Meharry Medical commencement on Saturday, May 20 at 9 a.m. in the Curb Event Center on the campus of Belmont University.

In addition, The Tom Joyner Foundation has chosen Meharry as the “School of the Month” for May to create awareness regarding the need for scholarships. Meharry’s goal is to raise $200,000 strictly for student support. To donate online, visit www.tomjoynerfoundation.org/donate/.

For more information about TSU, Shaw and Meharry Medical commencement, visit their website’s at www.tnstate.edu, www.shawu.edu, www.mmc.edu.

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.