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Chief Justice Beasley, Rev. Dr. Barber Address Graduates

N.C. Chief Justice Cheri Beasley
Rev. Dr. William Barber II

Beasley will receive an honorary degree during the Graduate and Professional Ceremony

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) will welcome N.C. Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, ’85, for the 133rd Commencement exercises on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, 2019.

The Graduate and Professional Commencement Ceremony will feature a keynote from Beasley on May 10, at 3 p.m., in the McDougald-McLendon Arena. During the ceremony, Beasley will be awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters for her community contributions and achievements in the political field.

Barber will address the NCCU undergraduates on May 11, at 8 a.m., in O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.

Beasley is the first African American woman to be elected in any statewide race without first being appointed to the office. She also is the first African American woman to serve as chief justice of the state’s highest court, after being appointed by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in March 2019. Additionally, Beasley is the fourth African American woman to serve as chief justice in the U.S.

Beasley began her career as a district court judge in Cumberland County, N.C., and after 10 years, she went on to serve as an associate judge on the N.C. Court of Appeals. She is the eighth woman and the second African American woman to serve on the court.

She graduated from the Douglass College of Rutgers University and attended The University of Tennessee College of Law. She then went on to earn her Master of Laws in Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law.

Barber serves the community in many capacities, as the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., a social justice advocate and founder of Repairers of the Breach, a leadership development organization.

In 2017, Barber and colleagues launched a revival of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign that was spearheaded by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others. In 2018, the Poor People’s Campaign launched 40 days of moral, nonviolent civil disobedience in 40 states and Washington, D.C. The campaign resulted in over 5,000 acts of simultaneous civil disobedience in 36 state capitols and the U.S. Capitol.

Additionally, Barber is an author, contributing op-ed writer for national publications, and a distinguished visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary. He also serves in leadership roles at many institutions of higher education. He formerly served as president of the N.C. chapter of the NAACP and currently serves as a member of the organization’s national board.

The NCCU alumnus received a bachelor of arts degree from the university in 1985. He holds a master of divinity degree from Duke University and a doctor of ministry degree from Drew University. He has received seven honorary doctoral degrees from NCCU and other universities.

For more information on NCCU’s 133rd Commencement exercises, please visit: http://web.nccu.edu/commencement/.

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