Florida A&M University (FAMU) will award honorary doctorates to broadcasting legend Tom Joyner and the longtime president of the Florida State NAACP Conference Adora Obi Nweze during the Summer 2021 commencement ceremony.
Both will be awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees during the 6 p.m. Friday ceremony at the Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium, 1800 Wahnish Way.
“Florida A&M University takes great pride in honoring Tom Joyner and Adora Obi Nweze in recognition of their transformative work,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “Tom Joyner changed the landscape of broadcasting and set the bar for fundraising in support of HBCUs. Adora Obi Nweze has been a tireless warrior for civil and voting rights. Congratulations to both of them.”
A pioneering radio personality, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Joyner is the former host of the nationally syndicated The Tom Joyner Morning Show. During his long career, he empowered, educated, and entertained nearly 8 million listeners each week in more than 105 cities nationwide.
Known as the “Fly Jock” from the days when he broadcast a morning show in Dallas, Texas, and an afternoon drive show in Chicago, Joyner, founder of Reach Media, created The Tom Joyner Foundation to help students in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). His foundation has raised more than $60 million.
The Tuskegee graduate will not be in attendance. His son, Oscar, a graduate of the FAMU School of Business & Industry, will accept the award on his dad’s behalf.
A champion of voting and civil rights, honoree Nweze has been president of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP since 2000. Over the past two decades, she has spearheaded lawsuits on issues such as The One Florida Initiative, the voting irregularities of 2000 and voter disenfranchisement, the Florida Department of Corrections, school vouchers, felony disenfranchisement, and affirmative action.
She has implemented strategies and activities with the Department of Health/HIV/AIDS Division to bring about an awareness of the impact that HIV/AIDS has on the black and minority communities throughout the State of Florida.
The former Johnnie Raye McMillian received her bachelor’s degree from Fayetteville State University and master’s degree from the University of Miami.
Nweze retired after a 40-year career in Miami-Dade County Public Schools that took her from the classroom to an ESE educational/placement Specialist; acting ESE director to acting principal at Westview Elementary.
The lineup of summer commencement ceremony speakers is headlined by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump and includes alumnae, financial industry executive Marcelia Freeman and Monica Rainge, deputy assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Rainge will address all 2021 summer graduates Friday evening, while Freeman will address both the 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday ceremonies with 2020 graduates; Crump will seek to inspire 2020 graduates during the 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday ceremonies.
According to the University, 498 summer 2021 graduates and 1,060 2020 graduates have registered to participate in the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday ceremonies.
To accommodate commencement, the Al Lawson Center vaccination site will be closed Friday, Saturday and Monday and will reopen on Tuesday, Aug 3, while the Bragg Memorial Stadium COVID-19 testing site will be open Friday but will be closed on Saturday. It will resume normal operation on Monday.
As a result of safety protocols, these are ticketed events. Each graduate is limited to four guests. Those in attendance are encouraged to wear face masks in light of the increased threat posed by the Delta variant of COVID-19.
All five ceremonies will be streamed live on FAMU social media platforms Facebook, FAMUTube1887, and Instagram.