Biden, Vanessa Williams to join DSU virtual graduation

DOVER — As commencements go virtual, Delaware State University said Tuesday that 25 cultural influencers, from musicians to former Vice President Joe Biden, will join the class of 2020 during graduation this year.

Earlier this month the university announced that, due to COVID-19, students would have a virtual ceremony where they will be conferred their degrees. Dover native and CBS3 Philadelphia television news anchor Ukee Washington will deliver the keynote remarks. The event will be broadcast on the ESSENCE Studios platform at noon on May 16.

Guests will include Angela Rye, Esq., a CNN and NPR political analyst, attorney, CEO of IMPACT STRATEGIES and former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus); Milton native Bryan Stevenson, Esq., attorney, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and New York Times best-selling author of “Just Mercy,” which was recently turned into a movie; Vanessa Williams, singer, actress and former Miss America; Grammy-award winning R&B artist Erykah Badu; and Vice President Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president in 2020.

“We knew better than to try to copy the traditional ceremony at Alumni Stadium,” Dr. Francine Edwards, who is co-chairing the planning committee, said in a prepared statement. “So we set out to create a memorable and surprising experience that the class of 2020 will treasure forever as their own unique celebration.”

Other state colleges and universities will likewise have virtual celebrations for their senior class. Wesley College will hold its commencement on May 23, with audio, photo and other message submissions from students.

Delaware Tech’s ceremony will be composed of four graduation events, one for each campus, next week.

U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester will serve as the commencement speaker, and her speech will be prerecorded along with the chaplain’s message, the president’s message, student speakers.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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