2018 Commencement Speaker: Dr. Irvin Clark
Vice President of Economic Development and Dean of the Newton Campus at Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) and alumnus Dr. Irvin Clark delievered the keynote address at Cheyney University’s 163rd Commencement convocation. The ceremony was held on Saturday, May 12, at 11 a.m. on the University’s Historic Quadrangle.
“As a proud graduate of Cheyney University, it is truly an honor and blessing to be selected by President Walton as 2018 commencement speaker,” shared Dr. Clark. “Growing up in Philadelphia, PA many of my teachers and mentors were graduates of Cheyney University. Their influence, along with my experiences at the University as an undergraduate, made Cheyney not only my first choice, but the best choice for me. The opportunities and doors that have opened as a result of my education have been unlimited. I look forward to sharing words of wisdom and inspiration to the graduates as they prepare for the next phase in life as graduates and champions for Pennsylvania’s finest institution of higher education, Cheyney University.”
As a first generation college attendee, and graduate of two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Dr. Clark is a true example of the impact that higher education can have on the trajectory of one’s life. The two-time graduate of Cheyney, holding a master’s of science in adult and continuing education (‘01) and a bachelor’s of arts degree in social relations (‘98), has developed an unwavering commitment to higher education access and success for underrepresented students, as demonstrated through his professional and philanthropic endeavors.
In his current role at Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC), Dr. Clark is responsible for working with the business and industry community to ensure their workforce needs are addressed through the various academic and non-credit programs offered at the college. Since his arrival at GPTC in 2017, he has secured over $150,000 in philanthropic gifts from institutional partners to support the advancement of the institution’s academic programs in advanced manufacturing and STEM related disciplines.
Dr. Clark previously served as the Vice President and CEO at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC – Harrisburg Campus). During his tenure, he provided educational experiences to more than 8,000 students in the Harrisburg metropolitan area; established campus-planning strategies resulting in a master plan for building and maintenance; increased the campus scholarship campaign by leading an $11 million campaign; and led efforts to increase enrollment and outreach with the neighboring counties.
Throughout the course of his career, Dr. Clark has also been successful in writing, managing and evaluating various federal, state and local grant programs, many of which are designed to develop, plan and carry-out services to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Additionally, he has worked as an adjunct faculty member for the Community College of Baltimore County and College of Southern Maryland to instruct courses in grant writing and college reading, success and study skills.
Dr. Clark, who earned his Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Administration from Morgan State University (‘05), is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and currently serves on the boards of several national, state and regional organizations including, the American Association of Community Colleges, the Metro Regional Commission of Atlanta and the College and the Career Academy Board for Morgan County (Atlanta).
He is married to Dr. Kudiratu Clark, also a proud HBCU graduate (Clark Atlanta University, ‘01), and practicing physician (anesthesiologist) for a private physician group in Atlanta. They have two beautiful children, Theodore and Madison.
The public is invited to witness candidates receive their bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the nation’s first HBCU. For those that cannot attend the ceremony, the event will be live streamed on the University’s website.
(Cheyney University’s Graduating Class Celebrating Its 50th Anniversary)
Commencement 2018: Cheyney Class of 1968 is Honored on 50th Anniversary of Graduation
As the nation’s oldest Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Cheyney University has cultivated a history of long-standing, respected traditions that celebrate our 181 year legacy and culture. One of the many traditions calls for the class celebrating its 50th Anniversary of graduation to lead the Commencement processional. This year, over 50 members of the vibrant class of 1968 graciously returned to their alma mater to proudly usher in a new class of Cheyney alumni.
As they carried the University banner, that honored the group as the members of the 50th Anniversary Class, they held their heads with pride, some even held back tears of sheer joy and immense gratitude.
“This experience has been one of the highlights of my life,” said Reverend Dr. Barbara Green Moses, who was the senior Class President of ‘68. “I’ve been all over the world, blessed with many wonderful experiences, but my years at Cheyney were truly a monumental period in my life.”
During the Commencement ceremony, Dr. Moses took to the stage to address the packed house, remarking that it had been “18,250 yesterday’s ago” since her class had sat where the class of 2018 were now seated, and later presented the University with a check for $40,000, raised by the class, to benefit student scholarships.
Dr. Moses’ presentation marked the culmination of their yearlong fundraising efforts, which may not be over, as she noted that donations were continuing to roll in.
Following the ceremony, the group gathered in Carnegie Hall’s Great Room for a luncheon that took them back down memory lane. Leola Williams of Chester, PA who received her BA in elementary education recalled how she was the first member of her family to attend Cheyney, and now she leads a legacy of generations that later followed in her footsteps to become graduates of this institution.
“It feels wonderful to be able to come back to my alma mater today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my graduating class. It is also amazing to see all of the changes that the University is making, it is a sign of progress in the right direction,” said Williams.
Dr. Moses also took a moment to reminisce and pay homage to her devoted English professor, Dr. Jane Russell, who instilled in her the skills needed to be great writer, lessons that have stuck with throughout her successful career as a teacher and administrator in Philadelphia.
“During those times, there weren’t many opportunities for young people of color from low-income or poor families, so I am forever grateful for the dedication, love and concern that my professors – and everyone else at Cheyney, showed me.”
Dr. Moses, along with her fellow classmates, have pledged to maintain their on-going connection with their alma mater. They will continue to raise funds with the goal of making a sizeable donation to the University every other year during Homecoming.