Congresswoman Nikema Williams to deliver TSU’s fall commencement address Nov. 20

Congresswoman Nikema Williams

U.S. Congresswoman Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) will be the commencement speaker when Tennessee State University holds its fall graduation ceremony on Saturday, November 20. More than 700 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines. The commencement will be held in a hybrid format, with the live ceremony in the Gentry Complex, where U.S. Rep. Williams will address the graduates, and the entire program streamed online for those who cannot attend in person.

Williams, who represents Georgia’s 5th congressional district in the House of Representatives, is in her first term and serves as president of the freshman class of the 117th Congress. A former state senator, union member, and special needs educator, Williams has been a fierce advocate for social justice, women, and families throughout her political and professional career. The lawmaker “always centers” the voices of the marginalized and how “women and people of color continue to fight for racial and social justice in our country.”

In Congress, Williams serves on the House Financial Services, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees, as well as the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. She has membership in several caucuses, including the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic Women’s Caucus, Voting Rights Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, LBGTQ+ Equality Caucus, and the HBCU Caucus.

Congresswoman Williams has been recognized as one of Georgia Trend magazine’s 100 Most Influential Georgians, Forty under Forty, Power 30 Under 30, Outstanding Atlanta, and Who’s Who in Black Atlanta. Born in Columbus, Georgia, Williams attended Talladega College, where she was initiated into the Chi Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

“Given the current challenging condition brought on by the pandemic, we are taking every precaution to ensure that the ceremony is conducted safely,” says Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU associate vice president and chair of the graduation committee. “We are limiting the facility capacity to between 60 – 70 percent and encouraging family members and invited guests to sit together.”

University officials say COVID-19 guidelines will be followed, including the wearing of masks and social distancing, as well as encouraging all adults to be fully vaccinated. Additionally, each student will receive only five invitations for family members and friends, in order to avoid overcrowding. TSU reportedly has one of the lowest virus infection rates and one of the highest vaccination rates when compared to other Tennessee universities.

Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, education specialist, and doctoral degrees. Fall 2021 degrees will be posted to the academic transcript on Friday, December 17, 2021. The actual diplomas will be mailed on Thursday, December 23, 2021.

For more information on the Fall Commencement program, check out the website. The program, which is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. CST on Saturday, November 20, will be live streamed for those who will not be attending in person.

The stream link will be available on the day at the TSU commencement website, at:

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