University of Richmond announces 2016 commencement speakers

This year’s speakers will include an award-winning journalist, a business executive, and an FBI director, the school said in a news release.

The University of Richmond announced on Monday the speakers who will address graduates during commencement weekend May 7th through the 8th.

From the University of Richmond:

Emmy and Peabody award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who has worked at a variety of major media outlets, including PBS, NPR, CNN and The New Yorker, will deliver the main commencement speech during the ceremony May 8 at 2 p.m. in the Robins Center, when undergraduates from the School of Arts and Sciences, Robins School of Business and Jepson School of Leadership Studies receive degrees.

John Fernandez, former CEO of Daystar Desserts, will give the commencement address for the MBA ceremony, May 7 at 11:30 a.m. in the Robins School of Business, Queally Hall, Ukrop Auditorium.

James Comey, director of the FBI, will address graduates of the School of Law May 7 at 2 p.m. in the Robins Center.

The School of Professional and Continuing Studies (SPCS) ceremony will be held May 7 at 9 a.m. in the Robins Center. Speakers are announced in mid-April.

Main Commencement, May 8, 2 p.m.

Hunter-Gault has more than 40 years of experience in the media industry. She began her journalism career as a reporter for The New Yorker, worked as a news anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. and became the Harlem bureau chief for The New York Times.

Hunter-Gault joined NPR in 1997 after 20 years with PBS, where she worked as a national correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” She then joined CNN in 1999 where she worked as the network’s chief correspondent in Africa and was awarded a Peabody for her coverage of the continent. Hunter-Gault returned to NPR in 2005 as a special correspondent.

Her numerous honors include two Emmy awards and two additional Peabody awards, including one for her work on “Apartheid’s People,” a “NewsHour” series about South African life during apartheid.

Hunter-Gault is a sought-after public speaker, holds more than three dozen honorary degrees and is on the boards of The Committee to Protect Journalists, the Carter Center, the Peabody Board and Digital Promise Global.

She is the author of four books, most recently “Corrective Rape,” a book about violence against gay women in South Africa.

MBA Commencement, May 7, 11:30 a.m.

Fernandez is the founder and former CEO of Daystar Desserts, a manufacturer of upscale desserts and cheesecakes sold in supermarkets across the nation. He is a renowned business executive and has been involved with The Richmond MBA program for years offering students a chance to apply their knowledge gained in the classroom to contribute to real business issues.

School of Law Commencement, May 7, 2 p.m.

Comey was nominated for the position of director of the FBI by President Barack Obama, and sworn in to office in September 2013. Prior to his service in the FBI, Comey was deputy attorney general and a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He served as managing assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the Richmond Division for the Eastern District of Virginia. He also served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Richmond School of Law.

SPCS Commencement, May 7, 9 a.m.

As part of a long-standing tradition, a graduating student, a faculty member and an alumnus will speak at the SPCS graduation ceremony.

The SPCS student commencement speaker is selected by committee from among the top graduating students. The faculty speaker is the recipient of the Itzkowitz Family Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award, which is selected by the SPCS student body and recognizes the teaching achievements of an adjunct faculty member. The alumni speaker is the recipient of the Gibb Family Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of an SPCS alumni member as well as their support of SPCS. These speakers will be announced April 15.

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Trevor Dickerson

Trevor Dickerson loves all things Richmond and manages RVANews’ West of the Boulevard and West End community sites.

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