Adelphi University will confirm more than 2,400 graduates at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels at its 111th Commencement on Monday, May 21, 2007, at 10:00 AM in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale, NY. Congressman John Lewis will deliver the Commencement Address and will be recognized with an honorary degree.
Since 1987, Congressman Lewis has represented the 5th Congressional District of Georgia. Prior to being elected, he was director of the Voter Education Project, director of ACTION, community affairs director of the National Consumer Co-op Bank in Georgia, and an Atlanta City Council member.
A leader in the civil rights movement, Congressman Lewis demonstrated extraordinary courage and commitment at an early age. While enrolled at Fisk University, he organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee, and was beaten by angry mobs for his participation in the Freedom Rides that challenged segregation at bus terminals across the South. During the height of the civil rights movement, he served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. On March 7, 1965, Congressman Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams led more than 600 protesters from Selma to Montgomery to illustrate the need for voting rights in the state. After they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, the marchers were brutally attacked by heavily armed Alabama state troopers. Known as “Bloody Sunday,” that march and subsequent marches, led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 signed by President Lyndon Johnson.
Congressman Lewis continues to dedicate his life to protecting human rights and securing civil liberties. He is the author of the award-winning book, Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, a deeply moving account about his involvement in the civil rights movement. He is a recipient of many awards, including the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage Award” for lifetime achievement, the Academy of Excellence Golden Plate Award, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize, the National Education Association Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Award, and the NAACP Spingarn Medal, among many others.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy from Fisk University, and is a graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary.
Also receiving honorary degrees are William Borten ’57, former Adelphi University Trustee and CEO of Atlantic Research Corporation, and his wife Judith Borten ’57; Donna Orender, president of the Women’s National Basketball Association; and Cecil Watkins ’75, M.A. ’86, governor and boys basketball chairman of New York Metropolitan Amateur Athletic Union, and president and CEO of National Pro-Am City Leagues. Dr. Robert Moldwin ’80 will be presented with the Ruth S. Harley Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award during Commencement.
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