By E. Freeman
TSU Media Relations
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — The President of the National Medical Association, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, and Former U.S. Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., will be the keynote speakers at Tennessee State University’s spring commencement ceremonies.
Mitchell, a retired Air Force brigadier general, will speak at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 6, at the graduate commencement in the Gentry Complex. Ford will address the undergraduate class at 9 a.m. onSaturday, May 7, in Hale Stadium.
More than 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines.
“I congratulate all of our graduates and wish them the very best as they enter a new and exciting chapter of their lives,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Commencement is an exciting time for the university because it highlights the academic achievement of our students and the commitment of faculty and staff in their educational and social development. TSU students are prepared to work and serve in the global marketplace.”
Mitchell, a 1969 TSU graduate with a B.S. degree in Biochemistry, is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology, and Program Leader in Gastrointestinal Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University. She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, Aerospace Medical Association, Association of Military Surgeons, and the Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania.
Last year, she was elected president of the NMA, the nation’s oldest professional society for African-American physicians.
In addition to her medical achievements, the retired brigadier general served as the Air National Guard Assistant to the Command Surgeon for U.S. Transportation Command and Headquarters Air Mobility Command at the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. In this capacity, she served as the senior medical Air National Guard advisor to the command surgeon and was the medical liaison between the active Air Force and the Air National Guard.
Ford, a five-term former member of Congress from Tennessee, was chair of the Democratic Leadership Council. He served on the Financial Services and Budget Committees and worked to balance the budget and promote free enterprise for the House Blue Dog coalition, the organization that gave then Governor Bill Clinton his start in national politics.
As president, Clinton once referred to Ford as “the walking, living embodiment of where America ought to go in the 21st century.” Ford is a longtime supporter of small and mid-size businesses, as well as a staunch advocate for fiscal and economic reform. Since leaving office in 2007, he continues to work diligently to promote healthy non-partisan debate on today’s most pressing issues.
Currently, Ford serves as a political analyst and contributor for CNBC and MSNBC, and a professor of public policy at the New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Matthew Edwards is among the undergraduates who will receive their degrees on May 7. He said he’s glad TSU invited Mitchell and Ford to speak, and he believes they will inspire students to continue to strive for success beyond college.
As for his experience at TSU, Edwards said the university has faculty and administrators who really care about students’ success. He said TSU officials provided him with resources to overcome some hardships when he transferred from another university, and he encourages high school graduates to consider TSU as an option for getting a higher education.
“They transferred all the credits, made sure everything was set, and provided me with a work-study scholarship,” said Edwards, who is getting a degree in Agriculture. “I went from not having a place to go, to having a place to call home and a nice steady job in an area that I liked.“