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April 19, 2007


LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, PA ~ Lincoln University President Ivory V. Nelson has announced that N. Joyce Payne, James A. Scott and Rev. Jeremiah Wright will receive honorary degrees at the 148th Commencement exercise on Sunday, May 6 at 1:30 p.m. on the campus.

President Nelson announced previously that renowned neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson will deliver the Commencement address and receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

Payne, who will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree, is vice president for the Office for the Advancement of Public Black Colleges (OAPBC) and Council of Student Affairs of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) in cooperation with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

Before joining OAPBC, an information and advocacy group that represents 40 of the largest HBCUs, Payne was president of Global Systems, Inc. and a senior staff member under the Carter administration with the President’s Advisory Committee for Women, President’s National Advisory Council on Women’s Education Programs, and the White House Conference on Families.  She taught at the University of the District of Columbia (formerly Federal City College) and at George Washington University.  She also serves as a senior scientist at the Gallup Organization.

The founder of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Payne received a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from the District of Columbia Teachers College and a master’s and doctorate in higher education from Atlanta University.

She has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal from Delaware State University and an honorary doctorate from Lincoln University of Missouri.  She is chair of the Board of Trustees at UDC and is one of the founders of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.

Scott, a native of Philadelphia, is a Lincoln University alumnus who graduated from Yale Divinity School and was hired by the American Baptist Home Mission Society as the first person of color to work with all churches.  He later accepted leadership of the Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, N.J. – a historic downtown church struggling in a changed, decaying metropolis.  He will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters.

During his tenure in Newark, Scott earned a master’s degree in city and regional planning, and in 1971 earned a doctorate in urban planning and policy development at Rutgers University, where he worked before retiring as professor emeritus in 2000.

Scott was a Woodward Wilson Research Fellow and served as visiting lecturer at both Princeton and the University of North Carolina.  His numerous accomplishments include president of two international religious organizations and founder of the Africa Theological Task Force.  He has been a bank director, a citizen member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Ethics Committee, and a chairperson of the mayor’s Education Task Force in Newark, N.J.

During his tenure as pastor in Newark, he led the church in the creation and maintenance of a multi-million dollar endowment fund.

Recognized as a leading theologian, Rev. Wright is a native of Philadelphia and is pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) of Chicago, where the congregation exceeds 8,000 members. He will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters.

Rev. Wright holds a doctor of ministry from the United Theological Seminary and master degrees from Howard University and the University of Chicago Divinity School.  He also holds seven honorary degrees and has lectured at many seminaries and universities in the nation.

The author of four books and numerous articles, Rev. Wright has represented TUCC around the world.  In 1993 Rev. Wright was named among Ebony Magazine’s top 15 black preachers.

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 has an enrollment of 2,423 undergraduate and graduate students.

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