Hampton University

Featured Story

Seniors Elated That Obama Will Address
Them at Commencement


President Obama

On, Thursday, Feb. 11, Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey announced to the Hampton University community that President Barack Obama will serve as this year’s 140th commencement speaker. Harvey made the announcement at 6 p.m. to a crowd of students, faculty and staff at the Student Government Association (SGA) town hall meeting.

“We are honored that President Obama has accepted Hampton's invitation to speak to our 2010 graduates during our commencement exercises," said Harvey. "His commitment to leadership, education and service is parallel to Hampton's mission from our beginning in 1868. He is an inspiration for our students to make the world a better place by becoming the very best leaders, educators, doctors, lawyers, financial analysts and scientists that they can be.”

Joyous Audience

Students respond joyous after
hearing the news.

This news brought much excitement to the senior class, alumni, faculty, staff and the Hampton Roads community. When the announcement was made students cheered, jumped and started texting and tweeting the news around the world.

“The senior class president is on the committee that’s responsible for requesting a list of people to speak at graduation, and of course, on the top of our list, was President Obama. Once I found out that Dr. Harvey was able to secure him, I was as so excited for the Quintessence class. I was excited to be class president, and I was extremely excited to be a Hamptonian,” said Senior Class President Christian Cheairs, a broadcast journalism major from Chicago. “I feel like it’s an honor, to have the first African-American president to speak to at historically black college. This is something I’m going to tell my kids. It’s an extreme honor.”

Joyous Audience

Students applaud in excitement after
hearing the announcement.

SGA President Matthew Washington shares in the excitement. “I’m overwhelmed with excitement that President Barack Obama is coming to Hampton University. It is a privilege that he chose this university to be the first HBCU where he delivers a commencement address,” said the senior economics major from Los Angeles. “I feel very lucky that my graduating class will be receiving such an honor.”

Alumni are just as excited as the Class of 2010.

“I am overjoyed that President Obama is speaking at my alma mater for the 2010 commencement. This is a dream come true for the thousands of Hampton University students who sacrificed sleep, organized, and voted for Obama in the 2008 elections,” said Moses Wilson ’09, and former State Coordinator for Students for Barack Obama (SFBO) in Virginia. “ “Hampton University is making history by being the first HBCU to host President Obama as a commencement speaker. I am proud to have served President Obama as his top student leader in Virginia and proud to be an alumnus of Hampton University. I LOVE I LOVE I LOVE I LOVE MY HIU.”

After the news spread about Obama speaking at HU’s commencement, students, alumni, and others expressed their feelings through social media channels. On Hampton University – Official Facebook page, there were more that 1,000 people who “liked” the announcement and almost 200 people made comments. Some of the words used were “I am so proud,” “Amazing,” “Loving it” and most frequent “the real HU.”

Twitter was also a buzz with the news.

Here are some comments Tweeted by HU students:

  • “So I attend and will be GRADUATING FROM THE REAL HU! You know the one President OBAMA will be Speaking at HAMPTON UNIVERSITY”
  • “So Howard got Oprah and now Hampton has Obama - Check and mate for Hampton the better HU”
  • “I told my mom a/b Obama speakin at graduation...and she sends out a mass email telling my fam like I'm graduating this yr.”
  • “The real HU has President Obama comin to speak at graduation..glad i go to #HamptonU but can i graduate a year early?!?! lol”

-Nicquita Reed