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UDC to Confer More than 800 Degrees at Spring Commencement

Former Chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Dr. Mary Frances Berry to Deliver Commencement Address

More than 800 students are expected to cross the stage on May 10th as the University of the District of Columbia holds its 37th Annual Commencement at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  Interim President, Dr. James Lyons has announced that the commencement address will be delivered by distinguished educator and public servant, Dr. Mary Frances Berry.  Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and the former chairwoman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

image"Over the past three decades, the name Mary Frances Berry has been synonymous with scholarship and public service,” says Dr. Lyons.   "The graduation committee identified Professor Berry as someone who spiritually personifies the principles of equal justice and quality education that have characterized this institution since its founding. This was an inspired recommendation, and I thank them for their thoughtful work."

In addition to serving as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1980 to 2004, Dr. Berry was the Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). She has also served as Provost of the University of Maryland and Chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Professor Berry is the author of ten books including Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama's Speeches, from the State House to the White House with Josh Gottheimer (2010), And Justice For All: The United States Commission On Civil Rights And the Struggle For Freedom in America (2009).

"We are very excited that such a scholarly, influential and relevant leader has accepted our offer to speak at Commencement," says Dr. Elgloria Harrison, who chairs the graduation committee.  

imageimageDr. Berry will be joined by Marie Johns, former Deputy Administrator for the Small Business Administration and the Honorable William R. Spaulding, who served on the first DC City Council, as Honorary Degree recipients.

UDC Commencement
Date: Saturday, May 10, 2014
Place: Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place, NW
Time: 10:00 a.m.

*Rehearsal – May 8th at 5:30 p.m. (Gymnasium)

Contact: Michael C. Rogers, Vice President of University Advancement, 202.274.5314 or

The University of the District of Columbia ( supports a broad mission of education, research and community service across its colleges and schools: the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences; the School of Business and Public Administration; School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; the Community College; and the David A. Clarke School of Law. The University has been designated as an 1862 federal land-grant institution and a Historically Black College and University.

The University of the District of Columbia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For a full version of the University's EO Policy Statement, please visit

The University of the District of Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 267.284.5000.