On Friday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m., approximately 800 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) students will start the next chapter of their lives as they receive their degrees in fields ranging from agriculture to architecture.
The university’s annual fall commencement ceremony will be held at the Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium, located at 1800 Wahnish Way.
The event will include a special recognition of former FAMU percussion professor and United Way Lifetime Achievement honoree James Latimer. Latimer, who has performed with legends such as Duke Ellington, Alan Dawson, Max Roach, William Kraft, and Paul Price will receive an honorary doctorate degree. While at FAMU, he served as assistant director of bands under William P. Foster, Ed.D.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn, an appointee of U.S. President Barack Obama, will serve as the commencement speaker.
Clyburn served as acting chair of the FCC, following her appointment by Obama in May 2013.
As commissioner, she is serving a second term for which she took the oath of office in February 2013. She is the longest-serving member of the Commission, beginning her service at the FCC in August 2009 after spending 11 years as a member of the sixth district on the Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Carolina. She served as its chair from July 2002 through June 2004.
Prior to her service on the PSC, Clyburn was the publisher and general manager of The Coastal Times, a Charleston-based weekly newspaper that focused primarily on issues affecting the African-American community. She co-owned and operated the family-founded newspaper for 14 years.
A longtime champion of consumers and a defender of the public interest, Clyburn is a strong advocate for enhanced accessibility in communications for disabled citizens and works closely with representative groups for the deaf and hard of hearing. She has pushed for media ownership rules that reflect the demographics of America, affordable universal telephone and high-speed Internet access, greater broadband deployment and adoption throughout the nation, and transparency in regulation.
In a recent keynote address before the National Urban League, Clyburn underscored the importance of using technology and broadband access as an “equalizer of opportunities.” She addressed the importance of high-tech companies utilizing the talent of graduates from historically Black colleges and universities and state-supported schools, and the role these institutions play in closing the digital gap and connecting today’s youth with careers in technology.
Clyburn is a member of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, Federal-State Joint Board on Separations, and the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services, all of which she chaired for three years during her first term at the FCC.
She is the daughter of civil rights activist and U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina. She holds a bachelor’s degree in banking, finance, and economics.