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May 8, 2007



Beaming in the crowd of graduates at the 148th Commencement at Lincoln University on May 6 was Lamonte Aidoo.  He had good reason.  Aidoo became the first ever student at the university to receive the prestigious Fulbright award.

Lincoln University President Ivory V. Nelson conferred degrees to Aidoo and 425 other undergraduate and graduate students at the ceremony, an annual tradition at the nation's first historically black college or university that was witnessed by over 5,000 guests that included members of the Board of Trustees, parents, and friends of the venerable institution of higher education.

“I am extremely delighted to be selected for this prestigious award,” said Aidoo, a native of Hartford, Ct.  “I am truly grateful for all of the help and support that I have received during my tenure at Lincoln University.  Many college students aspire to receive awards such as this, and it is truly a great honor to have been selected.”

Renowned surgeon Ben Carson delivered the Commencement address and challenged the graduates to think big.

“As you go forth from here, remember that it is okay to live by the Godly principles of loving your fellow man, caring about your neighbors and developing your God-given talents that are of utmost importance so that they become valuable to the people around you,” said Dr. Carson, who received an honorary doctorate of science.

President Nelson told the graduates, “You are today a new generation of leaders.  You have the talent to build an exciting future for yourself, your loved ones, your communities and for Lincoln University in these very challenging times. 

“You will be called upon to use all of your talents and intelligences and all of your skills to tackle the challenges ahead of us.  You have that special quality of leadership to make it happen.  You go with our prayers, or admirations and best wishes.”

Valedictorian honors went to Yetunde O. Ibrahim of Nigeria who had a 4.1 grade-point average and was followed by Candice Johnson, the salutatorian with a 4.0 grade-point average. Ibrahim majored in chemistry and Johnson in biology with a concentration in environmental science.

In another university tradition at Commencement, President Nelson presented faculty awards. The recipients were Dr. Goro Nagase, professor of mathematics, for excellence in teaching; Dr. Emmanuel Babatunde, professor of sociology and anthropology, for service; and Dr. Jeffrey Hoogeveen, associate professor of English, for research.

Selected by the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board, Aidoo will study in Colombia, South America, where he will research the influence of oral tradition on the formation of Afro-Colombian identity.  Aidoo previously participated in study abroad programs in France and the Dominican Republic.  He also has been accepted into a joint master’s and Ph.D. program at Brown University in Providence, R.I. to study Portuguese and Brazilian Studies.

In addition to Dr. Carson, honorary doctoral degree recipients were Dr. N. Joyce Payne (laws), Rev. Jeremiah Wright (humane letters) and Dr. Arthur Scott (humane letters). Payne is vice president for the Office of for the Advancement of Public Black Colleges, Wright is the pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago and Scott is professor emeritus at Rutgers.

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