Tennessee State University has chosen its commencement speakers for the spring semester. On May 5, 2023, U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson will address the university’s graduate students in Nashville. One day later, Oprah Winfrey will visit the campus and speak to the university’s undergraduate students.
“Commencement is always a special time for our students and their families, as it marks a major milestone in our students’ lives and a sign of success for them,” Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover said.
“To have Ms. Winfrey as our speaker will be a life-changing moment for graduates and the University. She is someone who has walked the TSU campus as a student, sat in some of the same classrooms, and knows first-hand the value of a TSU education. Ms. Winfrey and Congressman Thompson are trailblazers, history makers and HBCU graduates, adding to the excitement and anticipation for both commencement ceremonies.”
Winfrey is an entertainment mogul who graduated from East Nashville High School and Tennessee State University. During her time at the university, she earned her first job in media and ultimately made history as the first Black news anchor to appear on Nashville’s WLAC-TV. Since her days on campus in Nashville, she has gone on to host a nationally syndicated talk show, win an Academy Award and become the richest Black woman in the world.
Thompson is a 75-year-old Mississippi native and Tougaloo College graduate. He has served 30 years in Congress and become the longest-serving Black lawmaker in the state’s history. Along the way, he has served as the 2020 Democratic National Convention and chairman of the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.