Alcorn State University announces 2013 Commencement Speakers and Celebrities

Alcorn State University announces 2013 Commencement Speakers and Celebrities

Alcorn State, Miss. (March 22, 2013) – Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown II announced today that Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League – the nation’s largest civil rights organization, will serve as a keynote speaker during Alcorn’s 142nd Commencement Convocation May 11 at 8:30 a.m. in the Davey L. Whitney HPER Complex. Additionally, the 2013 Baccalaureate Ceremony scheduled for Friday, May 10 at 3:00 p.m. in the Davey L. Whitney HPER Complex will feature the Reverend Dr. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd, mechanical engineer and civic leader, as the keynote speaker.

“We are pleased with our Commencement line-up this year,” says President Brown of the notable cast of speakers and performers. “Surely, our graduates and all in attendance will be inspired and greatly benefit from their words of encouragement, personal testimonies and talents they share.”

As president of the National Urban League since 2003, Marc Morial has been the primary catalyst for an era of change – a transformation for the nearly 100-year old civil rights organization. His energetic and skilled leadership has expanded the League’s work around and empowerment agenda, which is redefining civil rights in the 21st century with a renewal emphasis on closing the economic gaps between whites and blacks as well as rich and poor Americans.

Gwendolyn Boyd is the first African-American to earn a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Yale University. In December 2009, President Obama nominated her to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation and she received Senate confirmation in March 2010. Boyd is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She earned her Master of Divinity degree with honors from Howard University School of Divinity. Boyd is a member of the Washington, D.C. Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and served as the 22nd national president.

President Brown also announced that recording artist Chrystal Rucker will perform during Commencement activities. Over the years, she has become known for her own spine-tingling renditions of Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow”. In 2012, Rucker released her national CD debut “You Deserve” with 11 hit songs including her now classic concert showstoppers and the soul-stirring praise and worship ballad “You Deserve”.

Choreographer, educator, and performing artist, Michelle Gibson will also entertain graduates and guests during commencement week. Gibson has toured and performed throughout Germany and Japan. Her motion picture credits include having been cast as a featured dancer in the Academy Award nominated film “Interview With a Vampire”, the Academy Award winning film “Ray”, and the movie “Just My Luck” with Lindsay Lohan acquiring Screen Actors Guild status.

Click here to view individual school/department ceremonies.

Families and friends who cannot attend the ceremonies will be able to watch a live stream at and individuals on campus can watch on ASU TV 13.


Alcorn State University is a premier comprehensive land-grant university that develops diverse students into globally-competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships that benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation, and world.