Update: Due to the likelihood of inclement weather, the Baccalaureate procession has been canceled. All other activities will take place as planned.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Tougaloo College President Beverly Wade Hogan will deliver the 2013 Baccalaureate address at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, 2013, in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America. Hogan has titled her address “The Responsibility of Privilege.”
The University will confer an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) degree on Hogan at the May 26 Commencement ceremony on the College Green.
Because the graduating class will fill the Meeting House to capacity for Hogan’s address on Saturday, the Baccalaureate service will be simulcast to the College Green, where family and friends of the graduates may view the proceedings on a large-format video display.
Hogan has a long and distinguished career as a public administrator, educator, community leader, and humanitarian. She has served as president of Tougaloo College, her alma mater, since May 2002, the first woman and the 13th president to lead the historic institution. Under her leadership, Tougaloo has added new degree programs, a new honors program and three centers, including the Center for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility.
Prior to her presidency, her appointments as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Federal State Programs and as the commissioner for the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission distinguished her as the first woman and African American to serve in such roles. Hogan founded the first psychiatric halfway house in Mississippi and established the first rape crisis center and shelter for battered women.
She has received extensive recognition, including being named Public Administrator of the Year by the American Society of Public Administration, a Toll Fellow by the Council of State Governments, Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women Clubs and the Mississippi Professional Journal. Hogan has served on the board of directors for higher education organizations, including the Council of Independent Colleges, the National Association for Independent Colleges and Universities, and United Negro College Fund. She currently serves on President Obama’s Board of Advisers for Historically Black Colleges Universities.
Brown honors Hogan as the University and Tougaloo College prepare to mark the 50th anniversary of an extraordinary partnership. That partnership has provided for student and faculty exchanges, a joint academic program in public health, collaborative research, an Early Identification Program through the Alpert Medical School at Brown, and a variety of other ongoing programs. The two institutions signed their partnership agreement on May 18, 1964, the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.
The Baccalaureate Service
The Baccalaureate Service, with roots in medieval academic tradition, honors the achievements of the candidates for the bachelor’s (“bacca”) degree by presenting them with the laurels (“lauri”) of oration. Brown’s baccalaureate tradition derives from the wide range of religious, ethnic, geographic, linguistic, and musical traditions present within the campus community. The ceremony includes rituals, readings, and prayers from Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, and animist traditions, as well as choral and instrumental music, the Chinese lion dance, poetry, dance, and Taiko and Senegalese drumming.
The service is conducted in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America, completed in 1775 “for the Publick Worship of Almighty God, and also for holding Commencement in.” Significant portions of the University’s Commencement ceremonies have been held in the church ever since.
Past speakers have included human rights crusader Kenneth Roth; international correspondent David Rohde; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; theologian Gustavo Gutierrez, foreign policy commentator Fareed Zakaria; Tony Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad; and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.