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May 16, 2005

“Reach for your goals and don’t be afraid to succeed.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell Receives an Honorary Degree and Delivers The 146th Commencement Address for Lincoln University.


Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell delivered the Commencement Address and also received an honorary degree at Lincoln University’s 146th Commencement on Sunday, May 1, 2005.

Governor Rendell praised the work of President Ivory Nelson and told the 375 graduates and 6,000 guests that he was honored to speak at Lincoln University with its rich history and wonderful legacy. He advised the graduates that their journey is just beginning and that they should define what is success for them. “If you love what you do you will be successful each and every day.” He also urged the graduates to “Shoot for the moon” and to try to help the less fortunate.

“Lincoln University is honored to have Governor Rendell as our Commencement Speaker,” said University President Ivory V. Nelson, Ph.D., who presided over the program. “Lincoln is equally pleased to present the Governor with an honorary degree in recognition of his exemplary achievements in public office and outstanding leadership of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

In addition to Gov. Rendell, three other distinguished leaders received honorary degrees. Gwendolyn E. Boyd, the former National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., an international service organization composed of over 250,000 professional and educated women in over 950 chapters throughout the world; Dr. Henry H. Mitchell, a 19 41 Lincoln alumnus, noted theologian, college professor and author of numerous books on religion; and Wilbert A Tatum, a 1958 Lincoln alumnus, noted journalist and successful businessman, who owns the NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS, and a partner in the Inner City Broadcasting Corp., which operates consortium of radio stations in California, Michigan, Texas, Indiana and New York.

2005 Commencement Speaker
The Honorable Edward G. Rendell: Doctor of Laws Honorary Degree

Edward G. Rendell was inaugurated as Pennsylvania's 45th Governor on January 21, 2003. As Governor, Rendell serves as Chief Executive of the nation's 5th most populous state, and oversees a $21 billion budget. From 1992 through1999, he served as Mayor of the City of Philadelphia. Before serving as Mayor, Rendell was elected District Attorney of Philadelphia for two terms, from 1978 through 1985. As Mayor, his accomplishments included eliminating a $250 million deficit, balancing the City's budget and generating five consecutive budget surpluses.

The Governor, who served as General Chair of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 Presidential election, has been active in the community through a variety of memberships on boards. He also teaches two government and politics courses at the University of Pennsylvania. An Army veteran, he is also a graduate of Penn (B.A. 1965) and Villanova Law School (J.D. 1968). He and his wife, Marjorie O. Rendell, a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals, have a son, Jesse.

Gwendolyn E. Boyd: Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degree

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd, an accomplished engineer, is the former National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., an international service organization composed of over 250,000 professional women in over 950 chapters throughout the world. She is currently the Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). She graduated summa cum laude from Alabama State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a double minor in physics and music. Awarded a fellowship to pursue graduate work at Yale University, she became in May 1979 the first African American female to earn a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from this Ivy League institution.

Boyd has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2005 Maynard Jackson Leadership Award from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; induction into the Black AIDS Institute Hall of Fame 2004 for advocacy to promote education and awareness about HIV/AIDS in the Black community in America and Africa; and 2003 listed as one of the Most Distinguished Black College and University Graduates by the editors of US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine.

Dr. Henry H. Mitchell ’41: Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degree

Henry H. Mitchell, D.D., a 19 41 Lincoln alumnus, is a noted theologian, college professor and author of numerous books on religion. He is author of three textbooks, Black Preaching (Harper & Row, 1979; Abingdon, 1990), The Recovery of Preaching (Harper, 1977; based on his 1974 Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale University); and Celebration and Experience in Preaching (Abingdon, 1990), which was designated by the American Academy of Parish Clergy as one of the top 10 clergy books of 1991. His book, Black Church Beginnings (1650-1900) - a radical rewrite and correction of early Black Church history - was released by Eerdmans Publishing Co. in October 2004.

Besides Lincoln University, Dr. Mitchell, also holds a Bachelor of Divinity and Master’s degree in Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, New York; Master’s degree in linguistics from California State University at Fresno; theology degree from Claremont School of Theology, California; and honorary doctorate degree in divinity from The American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley. He has been married for 60 years to his schoolmate of Union Seminary and Claremont days, Dr. Ella P. Pearson Mitchell. They have three living children and six grandchildren.
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Wilbert A. Tatum ’58: Doctor of Letters Honorary Degree

Noted journalist and businessman, Wilbert “Bill” Tatum graduated from Lincoln University in 1958 before going on to attend Yale University as a National Urban Fellow sponsored by the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors and the Ford Foundation. He received his Masters Degree in Urban Studies at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. In order to continue his passion for journalism, Tatum had to leave America to follow his dream due to the lack of substantive career opportunities for African Americans at the time. He spent an extended period of time in Europe where he worked as a reporter and columnist for Stockholm’s TIDNIGEN in Sweden, and AKUELT in Copenhagen, Denmark. He returned to America and in 1971, Mr. Tatum purchased the NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS with his partners. In 1972 they went on to purchase New York City radio stations WLIB and WBLS: the flagship stations of the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation’s consortium of stations in California, Michigan, Texas, Indiana and New York. Mr. Tatum and his partners also own corporate stock for the famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem. He and his wife, Susan Kohn, have a daughter, Elinor, who serves as publisher and editor-in-chief of the NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS.

Founded in 1854, Lincoln University is a premier, Historically Black University that combines the best elements of a liberal arts and sciences-based undergraduate core curriculum and selected graduate programs to meet the needs of those living in a highly technological and global society. The University is nationally recognized as a major producer of African Americans with undergraduate degrees in the physical sciences (biology, chemistry and physics); computer and informational sciences; biological and life sciences. Lincoln enrolls 2,012 undergraduate and graduate students.


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