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Bakari Sellars and graduate

One Man, One Woman, One Choice: Bakari Sellers Addresses Graduates

CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers emphasized during the May 12, 2018, Commencement, Shaw University’s prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement and the opportunity today’s graduates have to make the same impact.

“You stand today on the shoulders of all those who came before,” said Sellers, whose father, Cleveland Sellers, graduated from Shaw. “You can fulfill their promise.”

Sellers, who spent many of his formative years on the campus, tied in the university’s history and his activist father’s own story to encourage students to use their education to perfect themselves and stand with audacious hope.

“As you leave here today, go with that knowledge and this tradition that dares you to be more than you ever dared imagine,” said Sellers. “Stand proud… and we will stand with you.”

Two hundred and six graduates from the Shaw University class of 2018 walked across the stage at the Raleigh Convention Center to receive their degrees. Shaw interim president Dr. Paulette Dillard told the graduates their degrees have, “prepared you to do what is needed to make a difference in your life and the world as you become its future global leaders.” These graduates are from different backgrounds and from all over the world, but from now on, they will share the distinct privilege of being Shaw University alumni.

Saturday’s graduates reflected fondly on their time at Shaw as they took a moment to celebrate before starting the next chapter in their lives.

Shanita Jefferson, outgoing Senior Vice President of the Student Government Association, plans on attending medical school and says she developed into a different person during her time at Shaw.

“My Shaw experience has been one of the best experiences of my life and I know for a fact I won’t be able to find anywhere else like it,” said Jefferson. “It’s something so unique that nothing else can touch it. If it weren’t for Shaw University, I wouldn’t have studied abroad in Cuba, learned to network so effortlessly, or formed bonds with the wonderful people I met. I found a different Shanita once I came to Shaw and I love her. That’s how my Shaw experience has been.”

Reggie Goosby was recruited to play basketball from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and used the opportunity to earn a degree in public administration. He plans to return home to enter the fire academy and one day plans on becoming a fire chief. He says the personal touch he received from the faculty helped guide him to success.

“Shaw was just different. Everybody cared more,” said Goosby. “I found that one that really cared and made sure I was doing the right things and going down the right path.”

Dr. Dillard expressed a similar affection and gratitude for the graduating class of 2018 during her closing remarks

“Shaw University has been made better because you were here, and please know that the board of trustees, administration, faculty, and staff understand the fierce urgency of now for this university and for all of those who will come after you,” said Dillard. “Today, you will leave Shaw University as a trustee of the legacy of all those who have gone before you. Go boldly with the fierce urgency of now and commit to excellence in all that you do. In gratitude give back, and be inspired with a new dedication to our motto ‘Pro Christo Et Humanitate’ (For Christ and Humanity).”