Home Local News Don Lemon Guest Speaker for TSU Fall Commencement

Don Lemon Guest Speaker for TSU Fall Commencement

by Cass Teague
Don Lemon at the 2018 Pulitzer Prizes, May 30, 2018. (PHOTO from Wikipedia)

Tennessee State University will hold its fall commencement on Saturday, December 9, 2023, at 9 a.m. in the Gentry Center Complex. Nearly 700 students will walk the stage to receive their degrees during the ceremony. This year’s speaker is award-winning journalist and former CNN anchor Don Lemon.

Lemon anchored the long-running CNN primetime program, Tonight, as well as CNN This Morning.

“I was honored to get the invitation from President Glenda Glover to be the guest speaker for this important milestone in a student’s life,” said Lemon.

“I look forward to sharing parts of my journey and what I’ve experienced as a journalist, in hopes of inspiring the class of 2023 to leave their mark on the world. Make it a better place for human beings, as they embody the TSU motto of Think, Work, Serve.”

Lemon has won a variety of distinguished awards for his work which has spanned nearly three decades, including an Edward R. Murrow award, multiple Emmys and a Peabody award, among others. In addition to CNN, Lemon has served as an anchor and correspondent at the NBC and MSNBC television networks, as well as at local stations in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and St. Louis.

His work as a journalist includes countless global breaking news stories from the anchor desk, as well as on location. He has covered the war in Ukraine, for which he received a Peabody award in 2022. Also, the death of Osama Bin Laden, the inaugurations of the 44th and 45th Presidents of the United States, the school shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Newtown, Connecticut, and the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, George Floyd and Tyre Nichols.

Lemon was born March 1, 1966, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the son of Katherine Marie (Bouligney) and Wilmon Lee Richardson. His father was a prominent attorney, who was part of a lawsuit successfully challenging segregation of public transportation in Baton Rouge. He is of mostly African-American ancestry, along with Creole; his maternal grandmother was the daughter of a black mother and a white father, who had French and Scots-Irish ancestry. He attended Baker High School, a public high school in the town of Baker in East Baton Rouge Parish, and was voted class president during his senior year.

Lemon attended Louisiana State University and later graduated from Brooklyn College with a major in broadcast journalism. While at Brooklyn College, he interned at WNYW. He worked for Fox affiliates in St. Louis and Chicago for several years, and was a correspondent for NBC affiliates in Philadelphia and Chicago before joining CNN as a correspondent in 2006.

TSU Commencement will include 328 undergraduate students and 324 graduate students. University officials encourage graduates and guests to arrive one hour before the ceremony due to parking. While masks are not required, this is flu season and everyone is asked to exercise caution. Commencement will be live streamed from the University’s YouTube channel at www.tnstate.edu/livestream

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