Lincoln University Presents 143rd Commencement, Sunday,
University also will
Award Honorary Degrees to Four Distinguished Leaders:
· Dr. Na'im Akbar, an Internationally Renowned Psychologist,
Author and Orator
· Roderick L. Ireland, a 1966 Lincoln Graduate, and Associate
Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
· Manuel Rivero (Posthumously), Lincoln University Professor
Emeritus, Founder of Lincoln's Department of Health, Recreation
and Physical Education
· Herb J. Wesson Jr., a 1999 Lincoln Graduate, and Speaker
of the California State Assembly, who will deliver the
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, which has earned a national
reputation for its distinguished role in higher education
as America's first Historically Black University, will
present its 143rd Commencement on Sunday, May 5, 2002,
at 2:00 p.m., on the campus lawn in southern Chester County.
Two hundred and seventy-five seniors will receive baccalaureate
degrees and 163 students will be awarded master's degrees.
In addition, Lincoln will award honorary degrees (two
each in Laws and Humane Letters) to four leaders who have
distinguished themselves in their chosen professions.
They are: the Honorable Herb J. Wesson Jr. (Honorary Doctor
of Laws), Speaker of the California State Assembly, who
has achieved remarkable success with his unprecedented
and meteoric rise in the political arena. Speaker Wesson
earned his bachelor's degree from Lincoln in 1999 -- nearly
30 years after family illness and misfortune prevented
him from finishing his senior year. Speaker Wesson will
also deliver the Commencement Addresses to the graduates.
The other three honorary degree recipients are: Dr.
Na'im Akbar (Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters), an internationally
renowned psychologist, author and orator; Roderick L.
Ireland (Honorary Doctor of Laws), a 1966 Lincoln graduate,
and Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial
Court; and Manuel Rivero (Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters,
posthumously), Lincoln University Professor Emeritus,
and founder of Lincoln's Department of Health, Recreation
and Physical Education.
Doctor of Laws Honorary Degrees
The Honorable Herb J. Wesson Jr. '99
2002 Commencement Speaker
The Honorable Herb J. Wesson Jr. was chosen unanimously
in February 2002 as the 65th Speaker of the California
State Assembly after three years in office. He has carved
out a successful public service career based on a desire
to foster human rights and create opportunities for California's
children. His unprecedented and meteoric rise in a mere
four years in the California State Assembly is a manifestation
of the American Dream. In addition, he overcame hard times
in his early childhood and youth, including dropping out
of college and returning again, to achieve his success.
Elected to represent the 47th Assembly District in November
1998, Speaker Wesson represents the cities of Los Angeles
and Culver City, as well as the communities of Ladera
Heights, Baldwin Hills, View Park, Cheviot Hills, Westwood-UCLA,
and Windsor Hills. Prior to being elected Speaker, Wesson
served as Chair of the Governmental Organization Committee.
He was responsible for reviewing legislation dealing with
the Public Records Act, the State Open Meetings Act, Veteran's
Affairs, gaming, alcohol and tobacco. He also served on
the Assembly Appropriations, Health, Utilities and Commerce,
and Business and Professions committees.
His own legislation has often dealt with human rights
and opportunities for California's children. He has authored
measures to examine pay inequities between women and men
in state jobs; ensure that children receive a good start
in school through mandatory kindergarten attendance; improve
literacy of middle school children; and prohibit employers
from requiring employees to speak only English during
work hours, unless it is justified by a business necessity.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Speaker Wesson has been
involved in California politics for years. Before winning
elective office in his own right, he served as chief of
staff to Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite
Burke and as the chief deputy to Los Angeles City Council
member Nate Holden. Prior to his turn to politics, Speaker
Wesson, the son of blue-collar parents, worked at a variety
of jobs, from machinery maintenance to sales. Following
his relocation to California, however, a new career in
politics opened to him through his involvement in Holden's
unsuccessful campaign to become a member of Congress.
In 1999, Wesson fulfilled a promise to his family
and completed his work to earn the bachelor of arts degree
in history from Lincoln University -- nearly 30 years
after an illness in the family prevented him from finishing
his senior year. Speaker Wesson's memberships include
the Mid-City Chamber of Commerce and the Culver City Chamber
of Commerce; Board of Directors for the Martin Luther
King, Jr. General Hospital Foundation; Board of the Second
District Education Foundation; Advisory Board of the African
Community Resource Center; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity,
and various Democratic Clubs.
In recognition of his extensive service to the community,
Speaker Wesson has received numerous awards, including
the Greater Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Public Service
Award; and the California Assessors' Association 2001
Legislator of the Year Award. The Agape Foundation also
honored him for his efforts in combating domestic violence.
Other accolades include "Outstanding Community Service"
award by the Mid-City Chamber of Commerce in 1996; and
"Living Legend" award by Concerned Black Women in 1996.
Justice Roderick L. Ireland '66
Roderick L. Ireland, Associate Justice of the Massachusetts
Supreme Judicial Court, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts
on December 3, 1944. He received a bachelor of arts degree
from Lincoln University in 1966. He is following in his
father's footsteps: George L. Ireland graduated from Lincoln
in 1941. Justice Ireland received his J.D. degree from
Columbia University Law School, LL.M. degree from Harvard
Law School, and Ph.D. from Northeastern University. From
1970 to 1971, Justice Ireland worked at the Harvard Center
for Law and Education.
From 1971-1973, he served with the Roxbury Defenders
Committee. From 1975 to 1977, he served as Assistant Secretary
and Chief Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts Executive
Office of Administration and Finance. In 1977, he chaired
the Board of Appeals on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies
and Bonds for Massachusetts. Since 1978, he has been an
adjunct faculty member at the School of Law and College
of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. In 1993,
Justice Ireland authored Juvenile Law, Volume 44 of the
Massachusetts Practice Series published by West Publishing
Justice Ireland served on the Boston Juvenile Court
from 1977 to 1990; the Massachusetts Appeals Court from
1990-1997; and in 1997, was the first African American
appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court in its 305-year
history. He has been honored by the Boston Bar Association,
Massachusetts Bar Association, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly,
Massachusetts Judge's Conference, and the Massachusetts
Academy of Trial Attorneys for judicial excellence.
Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degrees
Dr. Na'im Akbar
Dr. Na'im Akbar formerly served as Associate Professor
at Norfolk State University and was Chairman of the Morehouse
College Psychology Department for three years. He has
served on the boards of directors of a variety of important
civic and professional organizations, including several
terms on the board of the National Association of Black
Psychologist, to which he was elected president 1987-88.
He also has served on the editorial board of the Journal
of Black Studies and for eight years was the associate
editor of the Journal of Black Psychology.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, with both undergraduate
and doctoral degrees in psychology, Dr. Akbar has received
many honors for his progressive and landmark contributions
to his specialized studies of the psychology of the African
American. Among these are the Annual Member Award and
recognition as a Distinguished Black Psychologist by the
National Association of Black Psychologists for his outstanding
scholarship and research in Africa-psychology.
The Mayors of Atlantic City, New Jersey (1986), Cleveland,
Ohio (1988), Jackson, Mississippi (1990), and Cincinnati,
Ohio (1995), declared Na'im Akbar Days in recognition
of his accomplishments. He was a recipient of the Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Scholar award at
Florida State University in 1987. Additionally, Edinboro
University of Pennsylvania awarded him the honorary Doctorate
of Humane Letters in 1993.
Dr. Akbar has been enthusiastically received at well
over 500 colleges, universities, conferences and symposia
throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and
South America. In 1995 he was installed as a Development
Chief at Abono Lakeside Village near Kumasi, Ghana.
Tens of thousands of people around the world have read
and been inspired by his highly readable and significant
books which include: Breaking the Chains of Psychological
Slavery, The Community of Self, Visions for Black Men,
Light from Ancient Africa and Natural Psychology and Human
Transformation. He has been interviewed on several episodes
of "Tony Brown's Journal," "The Geraldo Show," "The Oprah
Winfrey Show," and BET's "Our Voices." Significant articles
about him have appeared in Essence magazine, The Washington
Post, Ebony Man and a number of local, national and international
newspapers. As a recipient of literally scores of plaques
and awards, Dr. Akbar is recognized as one of the great
thinkers and orators of our time.
Manuel Rivero (1909-2001, posthumously)
Professor Manuel Rivero, a Lincoln University Professor
Emeritus, founded and chaired Lincoln's Health, Recreation
and Physical Education Department 55 years ago. Professor
Rivero used his enduring love of sports to leave his mark
on Lincoln University. Before coming to Lincoln, he played
and starred in varsity football and baseball at Columbia
University in New York where he earned his bachelor of
arts degree in engineering. His athletic exploits are
described in Black College Sports by author Oceania Chalk
(Dodd, Mead and Co., 1976). In 1938 he also earned a master's
degree in health and recreation from Columbia. After joining
Lincoln in 1934, Professor Rivero established Lincoln's
Department of Health, Recreation and Physical Education
during the 1947-48 academic year and served as chair and
athletic director until retiring in 1977. In addition
to his administrative duties, Professor Rivero taught
Health, Recreation and Physical Education as well as coached
Lincoln's football, baseball, track, tennis and basketball
Along with his substantial professional commitments,
Professor Rivero made time to give back to the Lincoln
University-area community where he lived for 67 years.
In the 1940s, he served on the Pennsylvania State Traffic
Control Committee. In the 1950s, he was the chairman of
the Oxford (Pa.) United Way and first president of the
Lincoln University Community Association. In the 1960s,
he was a member of the Board of Supervisors for Lower
Oxford Township, an organizer of the Annual High School
Track Meet in Pennsylvania, chair of the Pennsylvania
College Football League and a participant in the Lincoln
University Student/Community Drama Group.
His track record of steady accomplishment earned him
a number of accolades and honors. In the 1960s, he was
bestowed with the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Award and
was named Teacher of the Year. In 1978, he received the
Lincoln University Alumni Association Award, the National
Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Award
and the Hall of Fame award. In 1980, Lincoln University
named Professor Rivero Emeritus Professor of Physical
Education. In 1986, the University named its gym Manuel
Rivero Hall in his honor, and he received the Lincoln
University Board of Trustees Appreciation Award.
Professor Rivero, who was born in Havana, Cuba, died
August 18, 2001 in Rising Sun, Md. He was 92.
Lincoln University: A Legacy of Excellence
Founded in 1854, Lincoln University provides the best
elements of a liberal arts and sciences-based undergraduate
core curriculum and selected graduate programs to meet
the needs of students living in a highly technological
and global society. Besides its main campus in southern
Chester County, Lincoln also operates the Center for Graduate
and Continuing Education in Philadelphia. The University
enrolls 1,871 undergraduate and graduate students.
Lincoln has achieved several recent national distinctions.
The University is: